Qualitative inquiry is instrumental in building an understanding of how students approach and process information, develop essential skills, and gain learning independence. Namely, the inclusion of qualitative research into the study of teaching strategies and issues allows locating major obstacles and developing approaches to be implemented to overcome the said impediments. In their articles, Creswell and Miller (2012) ponder over the problem of qualitative research bias and obstacles, whereas Flennaugh, Stein, and Andrews (2017) address these issues in the context of an academic environment.
A particular issue of interest that may entice one as a researcher is the problem of validity in qualitative methodology. Discussed in Creswell and Miller’s (2012) paper, research validity is a rather contentious subject to discuss since it appears to have no clear definition. Therefore, dissecting it as a construct and exploring its role in qualitative research is critical to the further increase in the trustworthiness and applicability of research results.
Another concept worth considering is the one of student success and the factors that may have an impact on it. Although there is a myriad of factors that may define a learner’s academic curve, the choice of the methodological approach used by an educator is one of the contributory factors in shaping a learner’s identity. While Flennaugh et al. (2017) frame the discussion using the construct of critical hope a previously considered study by Roulston and Shelton (2015) suggests reconsidering bias in the teaching approach, which represents two different viewpoints on the same issue. However, one could argue that the opinion in question offers two sides of the same idea, namely, the promotion of intellectual and academic curiosity in students.
The concerns raised in the domain of qualitative research by the authors mentioned above can be related to the problem of research accuracy. The issue of bias in qualitative research, specifically, the question of determining its validity, harkens back to the concern about qualitative research robustness as a whole (Leung, 2015). Likewise, the question that Cre4swell and Miller (2012) pose appear to be rooted in the study by Ortlipp (2008), who suggests using reflective journals as a method of collecting qualitative data. Thus, the concerns regarding the avoidance of bias in qualitative research can be linked instantly to the lack of coordination in qualitative research management, in general, observed currently in academic circles.
Likewise, the issue of student engagement and the methods of teaching them the basics of research has been addressed multiple times. Linking the specified topic to previous themes, one may identify a theme of maintaining learner’s engagement and enthusiasm. Students’ motivation is rather difficult to keep consistently high, which is why introducing another perspective on the subject matter is paramount to their success.
The importance of acknowledging validity in qualitative research as an active component of scientific inquiry has been a significant part of my personal experience with academic studies. Namely, when selecting the data for qualitative analysis in the designated field for a report, I encountered the need to evaluate the validity of the research results. However, due to the constraints associated with the very definition of the subject matter, as well as the vague criteria for assessing research validity for qualitative studies, I faced several challenges. Although the specified issues were overcome by introducing a more useful measurement instrument and adjusting the analysis technique, the validity issue remained a tangible concern.
By discussing the issues of validity and the promotion of qualitative research skills in learners, the authors of the four articles under analysis provide essential guidelines for educators. Moreover, the researchers point out critical problems with the existing concepts related to qualitative research, such as the lack of definition for validity. Thus, the studies under analysis provide an important insight into the challenges of teaching and the approaches that can be used for both theoretical and practical aspects of education.
Creswell, J. W., & Miller, D. L. (2000). Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory into Practice, 39(3), 124-130. Web.
Leung, L. (2015). Validity, reliability, and generalizability in qualitative research. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 4(3), 324-327. Web.
Flennaugh, T. K., Cooper Stein, K. S., & Carter Andrews, D. J. (2018). Necessary but insufficient: How educators enact hope for formerly disconnected youth. Urban Education, 53(1), 113-138. Web.
Ortlipp, M. (2008). Keeping and using reflective journals in the qualitative research process. The Qualitative Report, 13(4), 695-705.
Roulston, K., & Shelton, S. A. (2015). Reconceptualizing bias in teaching qualitative research methods. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(4), 332-342. Web.