Qualitative Research and Evaluation in International Education

Course Description
Our ability to successfully conceptualize and align a methodological framework for a research project with the project’s broader theoretical context and ultimately research objective is essential to the overall quality of our research. The implications of the poorly specified methodological frameworks can be costly both short- and long-term. Therefore, this course will aim at helping advanced students – those interested in either expanding or effectively applying their research capacities – formulate a qualitative methodological framework for a research project of their choice. Students already working on their dissertations or those interested in pursuing research projects within their professional settings will benefit from a broad examination of qualitative approach discussed in the class. Students will ultimately expand their skills in the arena of applied social research. They will build their own critical perspectives by examining, as well as building on, the methodological approaches currently employed in the field of education.

In this course, students will examine a number of challenges and approaches to qualitative research as they explore ways to optimize their own methodological framework. By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Bridge gaps between theoretical conceptualization of a research question and actual implementation of the research plan;
2. Critically examine methodological frameworks of research projects and published writings in the field;
3. Be able to point to key methodological weaknesses, advantages and/or disadvantages of a chosen approach;
4. Learn ways to optimize their own research goals by devising a methodological framework tailored to the goals of their research;
5. Optimize their sample by formulating effective interview guides and select appropriate analytical tools.