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A Mixed-Methods Approach to Researching Friendships and Social Interactions in Mainstream Schools in England and Cyprus:

By: , & Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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In December 2011, I was thrilled to embark on my first job in academia at the then Faculty of Health, Education and Society, Plymouth University. A few months later, I applied for my first small research grant with Janet Georgeson to undertake a research project on children’s social interactions and friendships in the context of inclusion within four mainstream primary schools in England and Cyprus. This project was a natural progression from my PhD research that concerned how children identified as having special educational needs and disabilities in five mainstream primary schools in Cyprus got along with their peers. Due to my existing links and connections with Cypriot schools and an increased interest in comparative studies, Janet and I decided to compare inclusive and special education across the two countries in the context of friendships and social interactions. Along the way, we needed help analyzing the quantitative part of our questionnaire. It was at that point that Irene joined the team and became a vital member of it due to her mathematics and statistics background. This case study provides a brief account of a relatively small-scale research study conducted within a mixed-methods approach. In particular, we will focus on the challenges and advantages of undertaking a mixed-methods study and the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. The case is useful for students undertaking educational research in schools and equally beneficial to early career researchers.

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