International Conference Mixed-Methods Research in Education

International Conference Mixed-Methods Research in Education

Joint Conference of the German Sociological Association’s (DGS) Section Education ('Bildung und Erziehung'), and DGS Working Groups 'Mixed Methods' and 'Science and Higher Education'

16th - 17th November 2023, Leibniz University Hannover, Königlicher Pferdestall (Royal Horses‘ Stable)

No matter whether studying Kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, special education, higher education and/or further or adult education, social research on education has to consider multi-level structures of educational processes encompassing individual (micro- level), organizational (meso-level) and/or societal (macro-level) settings. Individual practices as well as institutional frameworks vary historically, between societal contexts and across countries. Therefore, considering different perspectives and interrelating them is an integral part of educational research. Mixed method approaches open up avenues to integrate different perspectives and levels of analysis; and relating them is a core challenge in designing mixed methods studies as well as performing integrative analyses. With the establishment of mixed methods research in recent decades, methodological, terminological, and procedural considerations have been reflected on why and how different perspectives on a research object can be combined in order to arrive at a broader or deeper understanding.

Qualitative investigations enable us, for example, to analyse individual perceptions of educational situations, subjective relevance, biographical processes and dense observations of interactions between educational actors. Quantitative studies discover, for example, causal relationships on or between the different levels of educational situations, show social trends and detect differences between groups of actors. Even though most research in the field of education has been and still is mono-methodological, educational research has been open to different combinations of qualitative and quantitative methods. In recent years, we find more and more applications of mixed methods research as well as method development in various areas of educational research, for example, for Kindergarten, special education, higher education , and further/adult education. Qualitative and quantitative analyses are already challenging endeavours on their own. Even more challenging is the integration of a mixed methods research design. Of course, depending on the research question, it must be considered whether mono-method or mixed methods designs are appropriate. Nevertheless, mixing qualitative and quantitative approaches can help, among other things, to discover mechanisms of educational processes and practices at different levels and to connect subjective perceptions with objective conditions. Furthermore, by combining different methods, researchers can use the strengths of each to compensate the constraints of others.

At the conference we would like to reflect on the blind spots inherent in any qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approach as well as on advantages and disadvantages from this integrative perspective and discuss how different qualitative and quantitative approaches can be combined to advance our understanding of educational processes and structures. Moreover, we also want to discuss the practical and institutional disadvantages, challenges, limits as well as the scope of integrative research.

The Call for Papers for this conference is closed. Further information on the conference programme and registration will be published in due course.

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