One of the main activities of the CAE-C-Expansion Project is a comprehensive research study that guides key steps of the project and adds to the body of knowledge in Cybersecurity education.
Enhancing Aspiring Cybersecurity Professionals Writing Skills: An Evaluation of Student and Work Force Needs for Program Improvement
Students in rural schools are often missing communication skills when they enter college and the work force. Lack of effective communication skills impacts their potential to thrive and excel in work setting-whether in terms of effectively giving instructions
to others, writing clear memos and e-mail messages, or negotiating everyday conflicts in work settings. Moreover, these students often believe a technical field requires only hard skills like Math and Science, not communication skills like writing
and speaking. As these students graduate, enter the work force, and then seek advancement in their field, their lack of communication skills restricts their opportunities for leadership and collaboration.
The purpose of this study is to conduct a comprehensive mixed-method research study to identify writing and communication challenges faced by (a) current students enrolled in computer science courses, (b) professionals who are engaged in the cybersecurity
The population for this study is undergraduate computer science majors at rural schools in Western Pennsylvania.
The interdisciplinary research team utilized a Congruent Design (Ivankova et al., 2006) which is very similar to Creswell’s (2012) Mixed Method Triangulation Design (QUAL+QUAN). The design is depicted in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Congruent Mixed Methods. Adapted from “A Framework for Mixed Stakeholders and Mixed Methods” by B. Crump and K. Logan, 2008, The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6(1), p. 21-28.
For additional information about this research design, visit:
The researchers employed a three-phase approach to develop and validate both instruments. Table 1 illustrates how data collected though three different sources will be used to answer the five research questions.
Details about the two data collection instruments are presented below.
For additional information and/or access these instruments contact Crystal Machado, principal investigator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Crystal Machado, graduate assistants Krista Sarraf, Amber Stewart, Jennifer Baggett, Zhengqi Hu, and doctoral students enrolled in ALS852 School Evaluation, Fall 2017 and CURR 983 Analysis of Qualitative and Mixed Method Data in Education, Spring
Evans, K., & Reeder, F. (2012). A human crisis in cybersecurity: Technical proficiency matters. Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved from https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/publication/101111_Evans_HumanCapital_Web.pdf
Crump, B., & Logan, K. (2008). A framework for mixed stakeholders and mixed methods. The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6(1), p. 21-28.
Creswell, J.W. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Ivankova, V., Creswell, J. W. & Stick, S. L. (2006). Using mixed-methods sequential explanatory design: From theory to practice. Field Methods, 18(1), p. 3-20.