Reflection about course on qualitative research methods

This autumn I participated in the TLU’s course about qualitative research methods in educational sciences. It gives 4 ECTS and Krista Loogma was conducting the lecture. We had lecturers and seminars, where we presented our individual assignments and in the end of the course, we have now one collaborative task also.

The course was mainly for those, who have never had any experiences with qualitative research methods. So my main goal was to participate in seminars rather to hear the lectures as I have had several experiences with methods and I also participated last year science methodology course, which gave good overview.

The beginning of the course was quite intensive, during the first week I was planning to quit the course about twice a day, luckily I did not do that.

The first individual task was to prepare an overview (12 pages) of one of the qualitative research method, to illustrate it with an example and to present it to others. I chose grounded theory and it was useful task. Not the written overview part of the task, as I am not sure, why should doctoral student prepare such long written overviews, but the presentation part was useful – both hearing the others and presenting my own overview.

The next task was to conduct an interview, transcript it, write a reflection about interview process and then to categorize the interview text. Reflection part was supposed to be presented to the others. I chose one interview that was conducted actually for some time ago in the IntelLEO context. At the time, we did not had any interview plan and it was not conducted “by the book”. Probably that is the reason why I received some critics from peers and lecturer in seminar. The interview was done with the induction year teachers, to whom we presented our learning and knowledge building model, collected feedback to it, discussed the current learning and knowledge building activities in the induction year context and analyzed the role of technology in it. The main point in the feedback was that we should not have introduced our new model in the beginning of the interview, as it might have influenced the answers from the interviewees (it might have been too difficult to understand in the beginning and also it may have sound like advertisement, that we have this good model and you should use it). Instead in the beginning we should have started mapping the current situation and then move to the expected situation.

Well. The next task was to analyze one of the scientific article, that uses methodologically qualitative research method. I chose Pirkko Hyvönen’s Teachers’ Expectations of Playful Learning Environments (PLEs), because it focused on grounded theory. As theoretically I studied grounded theory in the beginning of the course, I thought it would be good to have deeper insight to some practical article. That was good choice, I received good words from lecturer and from peers and it was useful for myself also. I actually think that I’d like to use the method some day in some of my research.

Last task is to compare the categories of my interview text with one of my peer and vice versa, but as I have not received the interview text of my partner, then it is not done yet, it should be ready next week.

My impression of the course is good. I am really pleased that I did not skip it. I most enjoyed the discussions with others and each day I feel myself more confident, I am able to talk without being too nervous. The tasks were useful and lecturer pleasant.

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