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      Methodological challenges for the qualitative researcher: The use of a conceptual framework within a qualitative case study

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            Abstract

            This article presents the MERITS Plus model, a conceptual framework developed during qualitative research into the process of academic transition and the impact of educational choices upon learner identity. The article considers some of the methodological challenges faced by qualitative researchers, and how effective the use of a conceptual framework might be in addressing these issues. The MERITS Plus model was developed and modified through two pilot studies and a piece of major fieldwork, the Learner, Identity and Transition Project (LITP), a qualitative case study conducted in a college of further education in England. Empirical data were collected through semi-structured narrative interviews with 24 learners studying either an A level or a BTEC programme, and from a focus group with teaching staff. The MERITS Plus model is a multilayered approach, comprising, first, a six-element framework (Motivations, Expectations, Reality, Identity, Transition, and Stories and Synthesis) used to analyse the data, and, second, the use of Bourdieu's thinking tools to examine the complexities raised by the data. By combining these approaches, the study was able to present narratives directly by using the MERITS Plus model to create eight composite learner profiles drawn from the data to illustrate the range of different learner types found within one educational setting. Thus, the model is presented as a method of preserving the integrity of participant voice collected via qualitative methods, while allowing a systematic analysis of narratives both as individual stories and as products of particular social contexts.

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            Journal
            10430
            London Review of Education
            UCL IOE Press
            1474-8460
            01 March 2020
            : 18
            : 1
            : 126-141
            Article
            1474-8460(20200301)18:1L.126;1- s9.phd /ioep/clre/2020/00000018/00000001/art00009
            10.18546/LRE.18.1.09
            2f7321ae-8ee1-4e7d-b0d9-33d2a881a8be
            Copyright @ 2020
            History
            Categories
            Articles: General

            Education,Assessment, Evaluation & Research methods,Educational research & Statistics,General education
            ACADEMIC TRANSITION,LEARNER IDENTITY,CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK,DOCTORAL RESEARCH,FURTHER EDUCATION

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