Research

I created this Mixed Method (MM) survey as a part of the requirements for Educ 601, when we were asked to design a questionnaire with both open-ended and closed questions that could be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics.  This artifact is a good example of my understanding of what is required for designing a relatively inexpensive, quick and easy tool to collect both qualitative and quantitative data, which is not always the case for mixed method research projects. This choice reflects the pragmatist philosophy of some MM researchers, who choose to use strategies that best “work” for a particular research problem (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998).

 

I chose to use an electronic survey as the data collection tool so that I could gather both types of data at the same time, and chose a research design that would allow me to get answers to the research questions I wanted to ask. By adding the open-ended directive of “please explain” to each of the closed ended, quantitative questions, I sought qualitative data in a manner that demonstrates my understanding that convergent mixed methods research design can take researchers less time to collect, organize, analyze, interpret and merge data than sequential mixed method designs (Creswell, 2015). An advantage of this convergent design, also known as the parallel or concurrent design because researchers collect quantitative and qualitative data simultaneously and then merge the data to compare results (Creswell, 2015), is that it would enable me to use the strengths of one form of data to explain or offset the weaknesses of the other type of data (Creswell, 2015). By choosing this design, I demonstrated my understanding of another advantage of MM, which is that similarities and discrepancies in the data can be identified through triangulation (Jick, 1979).

 

Another strength of this artifact is that it also demonstrates my ability to create an appropriate consent form and offer reimbursement to incentivize survey collection in an ethical manner. However, a weakness is that in order to preserve anonymity by separating respondent identifiers from the data, I could only offer the incentive for submitting the consent form, not for responding to the questionnaire itself. This is a problem because surveys notoriously have a low return rate (Creswell, 2015). Nevertheless, the consent form reflects my growing understanding of how to word a mixed method purpose statement, while the survey itself reflects my understanding of how to write both closed and open questions. By using the words “determine” and “compare” instead of, for example, “explore” in the purpose statement, I have signaled that the focus of this survey is the quantitative data gathered in the likert-type scale, while qualitative data is sought in a secondary capacity to explain and check the validity of the former (Creswell, 2015). 

 

This artifact reveals my history of creating place-based programs with and for young people and is related to part of my current research interest, but shows growth in my concern for inclusion of youth with exceptionalities in such programming. My questions in this survey reflect Ralph W. Tyler’s objective-oriented approach to education program evaluation (1942), by specifying and seeking to determine the extent to which the Sierra Youth Coalition succeeded in achieving their long-term goals to build awareness, community and leadership skills for environmental and social justice through the Youth Action Gatherings I organized from 2005 – 2009.

 

While these programs were evaluated immediately after their implementation in terms of the participants’ perspectives of their success through informal feedback questionnaires, the outcomes or impact of these programs on participant behaviour either in the short or long term was never evaluated. By specifying long term objectives in behavioural terms and then articulating situations in which achievement of these objectives can be measured, this survey embodies the Tylerian approach (1942) to comparing performance data with education program objectives to determine whether a program should be modified, terminated, or in this case, re-established through my current practice as a teacher.

 

References

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

MA: Pearson.

Jick, T. (1979) Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Triangulation in action. Administrative Science Quarterly, 24 (4), 602-611.

 

Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. (1998). Mixed Methodology: Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

 

Tyler, R. (1942). General statement on evaluation. Journal of Educational Research, 35, 492-501.

© 2019 by Emily Menzies.