methods

Reframing a research study

So for the past month or so, I have been struggling with knowing how to reframe a research study I am currently working on.  Initially I had planned to do a mixed methods study involving a simple survey followed by semi-structured interviews. However, after collecting data, it became apparent that there were some flaws in my survey design and I may not have enough rich data for a decent qualitative research study.  I had been struggling with trying to figure out how to adapt and change this, when I had the opportunity to present my research as part of a doctoral seminar class last week.

The feedback that I received was VERY helpful!  Honestly, I have been in this seminar class for several years now, and this was by far the most targeted and valuable feedback I have received. 

The main take-away, is that I need to really focus on the qualitative side of this research and tell the story of what is going on.  Focus on why people are participating in this project and what are the motivating factors to them participating.  Obviously, being in a school of education, I am very concerned with what participants are learning, but I have been trying to force the issue of learning into what is becoming a motivation and participation research study.  If I want to report and measure learning, I need to change the design of my study, so that I can have methods that match the research questions.  I am again reminded of the importance of matching your research methods to your objectives and research questions.  I think that this is something that graduate students struggle with so much, simply because we aren’t familiar with enough methods.  Personally, I am one that has a hard time learning methods from a class.  It is in the application of the class knowledge where this becomes meaningful, and I think it just takes time.

Again, thanks to all of my classmates and the instructor as they gave me some very good feedback and direction with how to proceed with this study so that I can incorporate the things that I have already done and make this a meaningful and interesting study going forward.