July 10, 2016

Rambling load of updates!

Research Design

The components of the research design were decided a few weeks ago and the components are now unlikely to change. The research design is based on a critical realist approach to a convergent paralleled variety of mixed methods, which includes the use of a questionnaire and grounded theory methods based on the Strauss and Corbin version. I did go through a phase of feeling overwhelmed a few weeks ago as I had decided to change the grounded theory method component, which spurred a huge quantity of questions and thoughts about compatibility and research design validity all at once. I think reflecting back I had become so convinced that Charmaz’s Constructivist Grounded Theory would work, till the philosophical stance changed from relativism to critical realism, that the need to change the grounded theory method was impactful on my confidence of the research design and my overall ability to understand it all. But with patience, time, careful thinking and further reading my confidence in the validity and feasibility of the research design is growing.

This is not to say however that I know everything about the research design components and I do not actually know that the research design will take off. However, at the moment I am meticulously and comprehensively studying each of the research design components and threading them together to make a complete, compatible research design that is relevant to the research context and phenomena of interest. This is being achieved through constructing arguments for the need of the research design within the specific context and relevance for the phenomena of interest, and also through building critiques of existing research designs and relevant design components within Educational research, particularly relevant to the phenomena of interest. This is a current, ongoing task with argumentation and critiques continuously being constructed and amended in various ways through reading relevant literature and thinking about this literature.

Upgrade Paper

Coming along nicely though I shall be dealing with a few questions at the next meeting with the supervisor, including questions regarding the methodological section: is it best to focus on describing the process of the research design? E.g., describe critical realism in a way that is relevant to explaining the process of mixed methods then explain the process of mixed methods and so on. Or is it best to focus on argumentation of the research design? Or a mixture of both?

First draft should be completed soon. The sections have been figured out, so now it’s a case of completing the sections and then begin the process of editing. This is an ongoing process.

Trial study

Decided to let an aspect of the trial period run on for a while longer than previously planned, just to find out what would happen further with the trial and I am pleased that I made this choice because I now have more than enough data to build a practical understanding of the qualitative analytical research methods relating to grounded theory. Additionally, I wonder if there is merit in using the data from trial period in the actual research study, given that grounded theory has an “all is data” perspective. It would be interesting if I could use this data, because that would give me a start on theorising from the codes and categories generated from the data, as described by grounded theory.

Questionnaire is yet to be trialled, but this will happen in the future. This shouldn’t take too long, as all that is required is to trial the design, think about possible statistical analysis methods, then trial the analysis methods, and then think about the way in which quantitative and qualitative data can be analysed to complement or converge with each other. Oh, not too much to do then!


So that’s about it, but enough to get on with! In summary, the immediate tasks are: continue to thread the research design together through argumentation, critique of existing research, and experimenting with the design theoretically and practically; continue with the upgrade paper, and continue with the trial study through trialling the grounded theory methods, and the questionnaire.

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