Gaining Confidence

I have completed reading the problem statement and the literature review of the dissertation listed below. I attempted to find an email address of the author, but so far I haven't been able to find any contact information. In my defense, the dissertation was written in 2002, and here we are 7 years later. I can't be sure if she is still in Florida or has moved somewhere else. A search for the author's name and "school psychologist" resulted in quite a few school psychologists with her name. So, at this point I'm going to consider this author as someone I won't be able to contact.

My concerns are again that she only included fifth graders in a study of English and Math while she indicates that math becomes a lower interest subject in later grades. She could have said more about the Flow theory. She does touch on engagement and even lists Csikszentmihalyi as a reference, but I think more could be said, and it might even redirect the focus of my dissertation.

I have researched the Peninsula School District for all elementary and middle school students. What is troublesome is I have population data accurate for February 2009; however, the demographic data is only accurate up to 2005. In 2005, it appears that there were more students enrolled, and obviously ethnicity can change in a span of four years. For now, I can only consider what I guess could be said the average ethnicity percentages of the students I want to study.

I'm also concerned about my sample size. The dissertation I'm reading only sampled 150 students. I'm looking at over 2000 fifth, sixth, and seventh graders in this school district. Based on a sample size calculator, it appears I should sample 241 fifth graders, 252 sixth graders, and 248 seventh graders for a total of 741 students. That's a lot of data and considerably more than this original dissertation upon which I would like to base my study. Of course, these numbers are based on a confidence level of 95% and a confidence interval of +/- 5. I'm not clear on the confidence interval, so I may have selected too low of an interval.

I have requested articles and books on the Flow Theory, and I have saved other articles based on motivation and elementary school students. It is my hope that I will have my MRF completed soon.
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