Research foci for career and technical education: findings from a national Delphi study



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Identifying a research agenda and critical research activities is crucial for continuous development of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs that meet the needs of students, industry, and society. Previous studies have expressed a need for relevant and focused research for the CTE profession. The primary purpose of this study was to identify consensus among CTE experts using a Delphi technique regarding problems, objectives, and activities that serve as a research agenda for CTE. The study panel was composed of experts from 25 states in the United States and represented 57 affiliations and organizations with direct ties to CTE. The Delphi process for this study was conducted in three rounds. Data were collected using the online survey collector, Survey Monkey?. The qualitative data were analyzed using the Affinity Diagram method of data analysis. At the conclusion of the data analysis from the Delphi rounds, the basic structure for the National CTE Research Agenda was developed. Rounds Four and Five served as validation rounds for the findings from the Delphi process. Data collection methods included online instruments using an internet-based survey tool. Data analysis revealed five research problem areas, 15 research objectives and 53 research activities which were organized into the National CTE Research Agenda structure. Findings from this study also revealed a CTE Research Agenda Logic Model which illustrated a systematic form of the research structure developed from this study. The National CTE Research Agenda is further defined in a color model which included the five research problem areas and 15 CTE research objectives identified in this study. At the conclusion of the validation rounds, the National CTE Research Agenda Logic Model was developed and the National CTE Research Agenda structure was accepted by the expert panel with a 97% acceptance rate. Based on the findings of this study, a sustained effort for research in CTE should be made by scholars in collaboration with national and international associations and organizations. The results of this study suggest a structure in which researchers should engage in focused and meaningful research in CTE. Future research is recommended to examine the issues identified by this expert panel.