Mixed Methods in L1-Educational Research exemplified by a Study on Beliefs of L1-Teacher Training Students on Interpreting

Submitted by: Marco Magirius
Abstract: 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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