A rationale for employing mixed methods design in doctoral research about female students academic achievement in secondary schools in Papua New Guinea

Article


Dovona-Ope, Dinah R.. 2008. "A rationale for employing mixed methods design in doctoral research about female students academic achievement in secondary schools in Papua New Guinea." International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning. 4 (2), pp. 59-67.
Article Title

A rationale for employing mixed methods design in doctoral research about female students academic achievement in secondary schools in Papua New Guinea

ERA Journal ID39917
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorDovona-Ope, Dinah R.
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Pedagogies and Learning
Journal Citation4 (2), pp. 59-67
Number of Pages9
Year2008
Place of PublicationToowoomba, Australia
ISSN1833-4105
Web Address (URL)http://search.informit.com.au/fullText;dn=326748765597816;res=IELHSS
Abstract

Contextual features and research problems are among some of the important factors that must be considered in making decisions about the most appropriate research design to employ in designing and undertaking doctoral research. In my doctoral research project, I was significantly influenced by a number of such issues in determining an appropriate research design. As the study focused on a problem confronting an under-represented group - female students - in a unique and complex context, mixed methods research design informed by the pragmatic and transformative-emancipatory theoretical positions (Creswell & Plano-Clark, 2007; Mertens, 2005a; Tashakkorri & Teddlie, 2003) was considered as providing the most appropriate design for my doctoral research project. Mixed methods research as a methodology was considered for its direct engagement in the complexity encountered by researchers in culturally diverse communities when work is focused on a social justice agenda (Creswell & Plano-Clark, 2007; Mertens, 2005a). It was also identified as embracing three underlying issues which were important to this study. These were: a focus on research outcomes through emphasis on the importance of the questions asked rather than the methods of data collection; a need to collect different voices from those living the experiences with an intention for advocacy; and a dedication to promoting social change as an outcome of the research. As a research design, mixed methods research was considered for its ability to incorporate both quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques. Thus two highly structured numerical survey questionnaires for data collection and analysis were used with a larger sample (de Vaus, 1995; Johnson & Christensen, 2004). Additionally, two sets of interview schedules and focus group schedules were used for data collection and analysis with smaller samples. These were set up for refinement, extension and explanation of specific quantitative findings such as statistical relationships and differences among groups, or unexpected results in the participants' own words (Creswell, 2002; Krueger, 2000; Silverman, 2006).

Keywordsexperiential learning; education and state; academic achievement; transformative learning; women; mixed methods research; dissertations
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020441006. Sociological methodology and research methods
390203. Sociology of education
390406. Gender, sexuality and education
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Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Education
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