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Researching Elementary Reading With Small-Scale Mixed Methods: Qualitative Case Study and Single-Case Design

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By: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases
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Abstract

This methods case reports reflections from a small-scale mixed-methods study that involved qualitative case study and a quantitative single-case design (specifically, an alternating treatment design). The study occurred with bilingual elementary students, and it explored how these students responded and performed differently when, as a group, they read and discussed books matched to their reading levels versus when they read and discussed books a year ahead of their reading levels. Most states’ elementary reading standards documents currently push students to read challenging texts even in early grades, and so this study explored how that recommendation works for bilingual students. Teachers and other classroom-based researchers will benefit from learning about this combination of methods, which allows them to explore classroom experiences while also collecting quantitative data or student scores on academic outcomes. Alternating treatment designs are particularly promising for classroom-based researchers who want to make causal claims based on studies with only a small number of participants. The case includes reflections and lessons learned that pertain to the practicalities of doing research in a school, preparing students for participation in a study, interpreting mixed or understated findings, and presenting mixed-methods findings to the broader educational research community.

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