A semi-structured interview can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used after a formal survey of subjects in an attempt to explain results in more detail. Or, it can be administered first to explore a topic before committing to a formal study.
One of the advantages of a mixed-methods approach is that it can address a question, in different ways, at varying points in an investigation. Using a semi-structured interview is only one option.
For this Assignment, you will apply what you have learned in prior modules to demonstrate that you have mastered both quantitative and qualitative research methods. You have an opportunity to select those approaches that interest you as a leader in the field of special education.
You are a special education leader in a district with a large population of students identified with learning disabilities (LDs). A new maths program has been implemented at the middle school level. Students categorised with a specific LD are failing maths at higher rates.
As a special education leader, how might you respond to the scenario in a meeting that will examine this problem? What is the role of explanatory and exploratory research? What mixed-method approach might you recommend to investigate the problem posed by the scenario?
In preparation for a hypothetical meeting that will examine the scenario, prepare a 3–5-page response to the following:
What role does explanatory and exploratory research play in understanding the special education students in the scenario?
What mixed-methods design would you recommend to investigate the reason(s) for the failure in maths by students with learning disabilities?
Consult the following readings for work on your course project assignment during this module:
O’Neill, R. E., McDonnell, J. J., Billingsley, F. F., & Jenson, W. R. (2011). Single case research designs in educational and community settings. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Chapter 10, “Alternating Treatment Designs” (pp. 151–170)
Focus on the characteristics of alternating treatment designs. Pay particular attention to design variations. Note the adapted alternating design and specific examples.
Note: The resources were selected for the quality of the information and examples that they contain and not the date of publication.
Bishop, A. G., Brownell, M. T., Klingner, J. K., Leko, M. M., & Galman, S. A. C. (2010). Differences in beginning special education teachers: The influence of personal attributes, preparation, and school environment on classroom reading practices. Learning Disability Quarterly, 33(2), 75–92.
Focus on this approach to mixed-methods design. Recognize the factors that are studied. Consider how teachers were classified.
Igo, L. B., Bruning, R. A., & Riccomini, P. J. (2009). Should middle school students with learning problems copy and paste notes from the internet? Mixed-methods evidence of study barriers. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 33(2), 1–10.
Focus on the experimental phase of this mixed-methods study. Pay particular attention to the explanatory theme. Study the multiple measures and approaches.
Koury, K., Hollingsead, C., Fitzgerald, G., Miller, K., Mitchem, K., Tsai, H-H., & Zha, S. (2009). Case-based instruction in different delivery contexts: The impact of time in cases. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 20(4), 445–467.
Focus on the mixed-methods naturalistic research design. Review the process for reaching across multiple delivery contexts. Reflect on the selection of participants.
Patton, D. C. (2011). Evaluating the culturally relevant and responsive education professional development program at the elementary school level in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 9(1), 71–107.
Focus on the measurement of this professional development program. Note the design of the program evaluation. Pay particular attention to assessing the goals.
Rugg, N., & Donne, V. (2011). Parent and teacher perceptions of transitioning students from a listening and spoken language school to the general education setting. The Volta Review, 111(3), 325–351.
Focus on the methods for examining the perceptions of parents and teachers. Study the mixed-methods design. Read about the criterion-based sample.
Shaunessy, E., & McHatton, P. A. (2009). Urban students’ perceptions of teachers: Views of students in general, special, and honors education. The Urban Review, 41(5), 486–503.
Focus on the assessment of students’ perceptions. Recognise the mixed-methods design. Consider the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches.