Mixed Methods in L1-Educational Research exemplified by a Study on Beliefs of L1-Teacher Training Students on Interpreting
key words: mixed methods, beliefs, literature teacher education
Contemporary research on teaching competencies and teacher education is
often empirical. However, in the case of literary education, the
inherent weaknesses of mono-methodic approaches are particularly
hindersome. Qualitative studies with small sample sizes may lack
generalizability. In quantitative studies the operationalizations
can be artificial or ambiguous resulting in issues of validity. In my
presentation I want to claim and develop, why and how
mixed-methods-approaches help to complementarily compensate these
This will be exemplified by my mixed-methods PhD thesis. Here I began
by adapting and constructing questionnaires to ask 467 students of five
German universities about their beliefs on the characteristics of
interpreting literature. I employed various statistical algorithms like
an LCA and ANOVAs, and used the results of these to choose 22 students
for 60 minute guided interviews. The interview transcripts were examined mainly
with interpretative, qualitative content analysis. By doing this I
acquired reasons for their decisions when filling in the questionnaire
items regarding the role of the author’s intention, the reader’s
subjectivity or criteria for appropriateness of interpretations.
The analyzed beliefs exhibit characteristics of 'middle range
structures' (Kelle, 2009). On one hand, the students reproduce
institutional positions underlying the academic and schoolish methods
of interpreting. On the other hand some students contrast their concept
of interpreting with these institutional positions and generate
idiosyncratic innovations. Qualitative methods are needed in order to
assess those innovations. The frequency and the correlations with other
constructs and thus the relevance of the findings needs to be evaluated
quantitatively. I am going to show how my sequential design not only
aims for triangulation to increase validity but yields complementary
elaboration via the integration of both methods to tackle the specific
challenges posed by the research object.
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