Research

This is a powerpoint presentation I was asked to create with a partner during Education 601, in order to summarize Chapter 16 of the course text, John Creswell’s Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (2015). This artifact demonstrates my understanding of the benefits and limitations of both quantitative and qualitative types of research and suggests why and when combining both types of data through a Mixed Method (MM) research design may be preferable for new researchers than limiting ourselves to one or the other. 

 

I chose to explore MM designs for this assignment because I appreciate how popular and persuasive the integration of both quantitative and qualitative data can be for educational researchers who wish to influence decision-makers (Creswell, 2015). My experience with granting agencies and policy-makers reinforces Creswell’s assertation that certain audiences favour this type of research because it both provides both the ‘numbers’ and the ‘story’ about a particular educational research problem.

 

MM appeals to me as a new researcher who is looking to develop expertise in a design that is initially accessible but that can also grow with me. In this artifact I sought to hearten my peers through clearly explaining both the basic forms of MM such as convergent, explanatory sequential and exploratory sequential research designs as well as energizing them with the possibility of eventually mastering more sophisticated and advanced designs such as social justice, experimental and multistage evaluation designs (Creswell, 2015). In this artifact, I also highlighted another advantage of MM designs, in that they offer rigorous procedures and clearly articulated processes to choose from and then follow, based on one’s philosophical framework and research problem.  This structured flexibility is preferable for new researchers than designs characterized by conflicting approaches advocated by their very founders. Creswell’s chapter on Grounded Theory, for example, leaves one to wonder which of the three main approaches would be best to generate a well-developed theory – systematic, emerging or constructivist (2015).

 

While this presentation may be long, it met the assignment requirement to responsibly convey the detailed content in the chapter to my classmates, including key theorists, practitioners and philosophers responsible for the historical development of Mixed Method research designs. I successfully enlivened the content with jeopardy-style quizzes to make the presentation a more interactive and effective learning experience.  This might also make it a useful tool in explaining and gaining buy-in to use this research method with potential PAR co-researchers.

 

In detailing the key characteristics, ethical issues and pros and cons of the different types of MM research designs, this presentation set the stage for why I chose various MM designs when drafting my survey in Educ 601, my final project in Educ 610 and my thesis proposal in Educ 799. However, I don’t think we conveyed how difficult MM can be. New researchers should know that while mixed methods research may double the persuasive impact of a qualitative or quantitative study, it often also requires double the time, resources and expertise as well. Care needs to be taken when choosing mixed methods as a research design, as I learned to my cost during my attempt to undertake an MM thesis. While I still appreciate the nuance and integrity of combining different research designs and phases, it certainly made completing a master’s degree more challenging.

References

Creswell, J. C. (2015). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. (5th ed.). Boston,

MA: Pearson.