Mixed-Methods Research in Education: Exploring Students' Response to a Focused Feedback Initiative


Researchers who are interested in asking a number of questions about a particular phenomenon are increasingly looking to mixed methods as a useful research approach. In this case study, we discuss how mixed-methods research is situated in current debates about quantitative and qualitative methods. Then, we provide some reasons as to why we, and other researchers, see mixed-methods research as an appropriate research method to address problems in complex environments, in particular, in education. Next, our study is used to showcase how a mixed-methods approach is helpful to explore the effectiveness of an initiative designed to improve Higher Education student feedback processes called focused feedback. The study design will be presented along with an exploration of the decisions, rationale and thought processes behind why we chose to use both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore a number of research questions. Using some of our findings as examples, we highlight the strengths of mixing data sets. Limitations in using a mixed-methods approach are discussed, before concluding with our learning outcomes as researchers, and further questions for discussion and recommended reading.

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