Data Collection in Educational Mixed-Method Study

Introduction

The use of mixed method research makes it possible to resort to the help of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies in the process of conducting a particular study. In order to perform the analysis of a specific problem, it is required to develop an appropriate data collection plan that will be relevant for the type of certain research and will be able to convey the features of a set problem. As an example, one qualitative and one quantitative source of information will be considered for analyzing the issue according to the stated research questions. It is supposed that a qualitative method will be dominant, and a quantitative one will complement the existing research for the fullest possible description of the problem.

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Research Questions

As research questions, those will be used that imply two different types of data collection. Thus, the first research question is related to a qualitative method and sounds as follows: what are the teachers’ perceptions that teachers have towards the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in the general education classrooms? The second question involves research in accordance with a quantitative method: what is the relationship between teachers’ perceptions and their experience with the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in the general education classrooms? These both questions are the basis of the mixed method study conducted.

Mixed Method Research Design

In order for the data collection process to be carried out as efficiently as possible, it is necessary to carefully consider the design of the study. It is essential to do it so that the study could correspond to the declared format and at the same time reflect the problems touched upon in the research questions. Thus, for this purpose, it is essential to take into account such parameters as the design type, timing, weight, mixing, and the dominant type of research. Based on these criteria, a proper plan will be made.

To begin with, it should be noted that the type of design will be embedded. According to Creswell and Clark (2007), this type of research involves the incorporation of quantitative data primarily into intervention with less preference for qualitative information. In other words, the quantitative method will dominate.

The timing will be concurrent, that is, both ways of evaluating the results (qualitative and quantitative) will take place at the same time interval. Nevertheless, the priority will be given to the quantitative method, while the qualitative one will only support the main arguments and conclusions (Patton, 2005). Accordingly, mixing will be provided taking into account the prevalence of statistical data over the oral questionnaires of respondents.

Data Collection Strategy

Since the type of the proposed study will be mixed, it is proposed to carry out two types of analysis, including quantitative and qualitative ways of collecting information. Thus, the qualitative method will be dominant. The survey will be used as a source for the collection of information based on which relevant statistical results will be summed up and analyzed.

Survey

The survey will include ten questions and will be based on two areas. The first will take into account background/demographic information. Vaz et al. (2015) use a similar type of data retrieval to work on the article with a similar topic and; they claim that a series of data will be useful for drawing up a full and unbiased picture of the study. Among the information that should be recorded, the following can be noted: the years of teaching experience, duration at the current school, duration of involvement with inclusive practices, and the level of expertise or training in a particular educational establishment.

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The second area required for a statistical report through a survey is a questionnaire based on the scoring in a special teachers’ perception scale. Thus, teachers will be asked to put appropriate grades in the graphs, using numbers from one to five; one will mean “strongly disagree,” and five will mean “strongly agree.” With this data, it is possible to compile a statistical report based on the total number of teachers who participated in the survey and the grades that they submitted.

Interviews

The essence of data collection based on a quantitative research method will consist of participants’ interviews and the assessment of their perceptions regarding the stated problem. As Monsen, Ewing, and Kwoka (2015) note, this work can be of use to researchers since relevant statistics will be backed up by personal responses from stakeholders. In particular, it is significant to clarify the attitude of teachers towards the inclusion of children with disabilities in the general educational process. On the whole, it will be enough to have five questions in order to receive a full picture and draw appropriate conclusions. All the data will be voluntarily collected with the consent of the study participants themselves.

Rationale for Selecting the Design

The primary objective of the study is to learn teachers’ perception concerning the issue of including children with disabilities in the general educational process. For this purpose, it is essential to not only verbally interview the teaching staff selected as the target group but also to compile a statistical report that will visually demonstrate teachers’ opinions and those data that can be useful as an additional rationale. Thus, for example, having information about the experience of teacher’s work, it is possible to talk about their competence and, consequently, take into account a specific opinion, regardless of what it will be. A mixed method research method provides for a number of visual data in the form of tables and diagrams will play an auxiliary role in the compilation of the overall picture (“Mixed methods research,” 2016). Therefore, the rationale for selecting of this design should not leave any doubt.

Strengths and Limitations of the Plan

The used type of research undoubtedly has a number of advantages. Thus, for example, “two types of data are collected simultaneously, reducing time and resources (e.g., number of participants)” (“Mixed methods research,” 2016, para. 27). Also, the inclusion of both these methods of research helps to uncover the analyzed topic to the limit and support some arguments with statistical data. Nevertheless, this method of data evaluation has some weaknesses. Thus, for instance, “the data needs to be transformed in some way so that both types of data can be integrated during the analysis, which can be difficult” (“Mixed methods research,” 2016, para. 28). Also, the dominance of one method on the other can lead to an unequal distribution of evidence and, as a consequence, violate the logic of interpreting the results. Therefore, it is required to carry out such work when having sufficient skills and opportunities.

Conclusion

Thus, in the proposed data collection method, a mixed method design will be used where a qualitative analysis will be dominant, and a quantitative one will complement the existing research for the fullest possible description of the problem. Surveys will be offered to the participants as the tool of qualitative evaluation, and oral interviews will be conducted to support statistics with additional arguments. The plan has both advantages and disadvantages and requires professional skills for implementing it as the basis of a specific study.

References

Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Mixed methods research. (2016). Web.

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Monsen, J. J., Ewing, D. L., & Kwoka, M. (2014). Teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion, perceived adequacy of support and classroom learning environment. Learning Environments Research, 17(1), 113-126.

Patton, M. Q. (2005). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Vaz, S., Wilson, N., Falkmer, M., Sim, A., Scott, M., Cordier, R., & Falkmer, T. (2015). Factors associated with primary school teachers’ attitudes towards the inclusion of students with disabilities. PloS One, 10(8), 1-12.

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