RESEARCH CAPABILITIES OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
The purpose of the study was to describe the level of research capabilities of students in the senior high school department of a local university. Differences in the capabilities of students when grouped according to gender were also investigated. In addition, in-depth understanding of their perceived research capability levels was explored. A sequential explanatory mixed-method approach was employed, with 46 Grade 12 students being chosen as respondents through convenience sampling. The study started from a quantitative exploration of the students’ conceptual understanding of the four components of research (the nature of inquiry, understanding of literature and studies, research method, and interpreting results). The Research Achievement Test (RAT) developed prior to this study was used to quantitatively describe the students’ research competencies. Observations on their test performances were used to develop the interview component of the test. Results showed that overall, the students’ research capabilities were only at the average level. Male and female students were comparable in the ability to conduct research. Opportunities for quantitative instruction were lacking in the context of the participants. The implications for research instruction are discussed in the paper.