USING MIXED METHODS RESEARCH IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION Workshop Proposal Frontiers in Education 2010 Conference CONTACT INFORMATION Dr. Elizabeth G. Creamer Professor, Educational Research and Evaluation School of Education Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Email: [email protected] Phone: (540) 230-8441 Erin Crede Doctoral Student Department of Engineering Education College of Engineering Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Email: [email protected] GOALS OF THE WORKSHOP The over-riding purpose of the workshop is to advance the understanding of mixed methods research among engineering educators. 1. To acquaint audience members with some of the major distinguishing characteristics of mixed methods research and mixed methods purpose statements. 2. To illustrate ways that mixed and multi-methods research have been used in engineering education. 3. To provide examples of different strategies that have been used to integrate qualitative and quantitative data in mixed methods research. 4. To share experiences in conducting mixed methods research and identify some of the challenges. DESCRIPTION OF TOPICS/SUBJECTS Researchers and practitioners have long combined qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques to address complex social and educational issues, but not until the last decade has there been concerted dialogue to elevate state of knowledge about the topic from a method to a methodology that is complete with a stated philosophy, language, and systematic approach to procedures for data collection and analysis. Some authors have gone so far as to label the emerging consensus about mixed methods as a third methological movement. Central to the claim that mixed methods enhances validity, is the challenge about how to mix, integrate, or triangulate the qualitative and quantitative data collected during the course of a single study or series of studies. This workshop will introduce practitioners and scholars in engineering education to mixed methods as a research methodology. It will provide examples of the way mixed methods research has been conducted in engineering education and ways that qualitative and quantitave data have been “mixed.” Participants will have the opportunity to develop ideas for mixed methods research projects and to consider ways to mix the data. WORKSHOP AGENDA (3 hours) (10 minutes) Introduce workshop facilitators and provide an overview of the workshop. (10 minutes) Assess knowledge, experience of members of the audience with mixed methods research. (10 minutes) Review the definition, “value added” by the use of mixed methods research, and what distinguishes it from multi-methods research. (30 minutes) Provide examples of the ways mixed methods research has been used in engineering education, including both the topics and most common designs. Other examples will be collected from members of the audience. (40 minutes) Identify key components of a purpose statement for a mixed methods research, using a model. Activity 1 for participants: Organize into three groups, each lead by one of the workshop facilitators. Each group prepares a draft of purpose statement for a mixed methods research project on the same topic and identifies how the qualitative and quantitative data might be collected. (20 minutes) Review examples of how qualitative and quantitative data have been integrated or “mixed” in previous research, including by using data transformation, and discuss the type of conclusions that might emerge from the examples. (30 minutes) Activity 2 for participants: As a group, discuss ways that the qualitative and quantitative data in the study proposed in the first activity might be integrated. (30 minutes) Identify key challenges in conducting and publishing mixed methods research. Invite audience members to contribute the challenges they encountered in their own research. ANTICIPATED AUDIENCE This workshop is targeted to an audience of graduate students and faculty who have experience with or an interest in conducting mixed methods research.