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Innovative research methods: where qualitative meets quantitative?

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Presentation for the PGR conference.

"At an early stage in our research careers we get taught about paradigms and methodologies. Sometimes we might get the impression that we need to ‘take a side’ or decide on a study approach we like best. In this presentation I will reiterate that what’s important is that “The question drives the methods, not the other way around.” (Feuer, Towne & Shavelson, 2002, p.8). In that light, we should not work from a preference for a certain methodology but start with the question. As a result, one could argue, that the distinction between quantitative and qualitative methodologies is unhelpful. This is even more so the case in recent years, where innovative research methods seem to combine different views. I will give some examples of research projects I have been involved in, where I think the distinction between what is deemed ‘qualitative’ or ‘quantitative’ has become less meaningful. These examples will include a project where classroom interactions are modelled by using Social Network Analysis, projects where large volumes of texts are analysed with computer science approaches, and how you can even can let computers help you with your audio transcription tasks. By combining disciplines and approaches, we aim to best fulfil the aims of a study: the questions leads, the methodology follows.

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Innovative research methods: where qualitative meets quantitative?

  1. 1. Innovative research methods: where qualitative meets quantitative? Dr Christian Bokhove PGR conference 19 June 2018
  2. 2. “I want to do something with interviews and focus groups” “So what do you want to find out?” “Something with teachers, I want to ask them some questions about their classroom practice” Is this the best method for the question?
  3. 3. Research question with ‘perceptions’ “Yes my study will be about perceptions of teachers” “So how do you want to find them out, a questionnaire?” “No, I don’t like statistics, so I’ll do a qualitative study” Is this the best method for the question?
  4. 4. “In psychology we only do experimental settings” “So what do you want to find out?” “I don’t know but I need an experimental group and a control group with random assignment” Is this the best method for the question?
  5. 5. Challenge • Questions must lead “The question drives the methods, not the other way around.” (Feuer, Towne & Shavelson, 2002, p.8)
  6. 6. Research questions? (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011)
  7. 7. (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011)
  8. 8. (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011)
  9. 9. • Some feel they can’t choose • Mixed methods • ‘Best of both worlds’ • Triangulation is a challenge Question again: Is this the best method for the question?
  10. 10. (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011)
  11. 11. (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011)
  12. 12. Challenge • Questions must lead “The question drives the methods, not the other way around.” (Feuer, Towne & Shavelson, 2002, p.8) • Quantitative and qualitative • Mixed seems ideal but…
  13. 13. Let move away from the preference….. • Really focus on the question • This actually liberates! • My background:computer science • I’ve been letting go, and thought creatively about my research methods in relation to the question. • Now I want to give three examples of how I think I did that…..
  14. 14. Example 1 Classroom interaction and Social Network Analysis • 70s Brophy & Good classroom observation • From 80s qualitative methods • Howe & Abedin (2014) Start with the question: “What interaction patterns in the classroom?”
  15. 15. Classroom observation • Review classroom dialogue Howe and Abedin (2014) • Quantitative vs Qualitative • TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) video study (Hiebert et al., 1999) • Video observations • National patterns of teaching (Givvin, Hiebert, Jacobs, Hollingsworth, & Gallimore, 2005) • Lesson signatures 15
  16. 16. (Bokhove, 2016)
  17. 17. SNA for classroom interaction • Case to use SNA for classroom interaction • Making it dynamic • Classroom interaction (Moody, McFarland, & Bender-deMoll, 2005) • Technological and methodological advances • Observation apps • Video recording easier • Statistical techniques and packages to capture temporal aspects like Gephi, ERGMs, Rsiena, Statnet, Relevent
  18. 18. This project • Use dynamic social network analysis to describe classroom interaction • Data analysis and visualization software • Gephi 0.8.2 beta • R and Rstudio with the packages statnet (Handcock, Hunter, Butts, Goodreau, & Morris, 2008) and ndtv (Bender-deMoll, 2014)
  19. 19. Observation apps There also is a video available
  20. 20. What traditionally seemed quantitative or qualitative turned could be innovatively combined.
  21. 21. Example 2 Textmining inspection reports • Ofsted publishes inspection reports for schools • Hundreds per year, each many pages • Document analysis Start with the question: “What is the inspection writing about” • Hard at scale (random choice?) • Used R with Rstudio
  22. 22. (Bokhove, 2015)
  23. 23. New work with UCL
  24. 24. What traditionally seemed quantitative or qualitative turned could be innovatively combined.
  25. 25. Example 3 Transcription with youtube • Sometimes you have audio data to transcribe • Very time-consuming Start with the question: “How could I process more audio in less time” • Use Automated transcription
  26. 26. https://bokhove.net/2018/01/17/transcribing-audio-with-less-pain/ (Bokhove & Downey, pre-print)
  27. 27. • Two interviews, one classroom recording, one hearing from the Iraq Inquiry • After ethics approval uploaded YouTube • Automated captioning • Download captions e.g. www.diycaptions.com • 65-90% ok, make amends
  28. 28. What traditionally seemed quantitative or qualitative turned could be innovatively combined.
  29. 29. Conclusion Quantitative methods Qualitative methods Research Question/aim Has its + and – e.g. interpretation Has its + and – e.g. scale The most appropriate Methods for your aim You can think innovatively
  30. 30. Thank you • Contact: • C.Bokhove@soton.ac.uk • Twitter: @cbokhove • www.bokhove.net •Most papers available somewhere; if can’t get access just ask. •I’ll add the references and post on Slideshare
  31. 31. Selected references Bokhove, C. (2015). Text mining school inspection reports in England with R. Paper I released on my blog. Bokhove, C. (2016). Exploring classroom interaction with dynamic social network analysis. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, doi:10.1080/1743727X.2016.1192116 Bokhove, C., & Downey, C. (2018). Automated generation of “good enough” transcripts as a first step to transcription of audio-recorded data. Pre-print at OSF https://osf.io/sn7w9/ Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research Methods in Education. Routledge: Abingdon.

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