The Third Research Paradigm: Mixed Methods in Educational Research
Purpose: As educational researchers, we are challenged to develop a scholarly agenda grounded in a theoretical framework. Participants at previous ELC and CSM meetings have identified a need for educational sessions to facilitate the development and advancement of educational research. Many educational research questions require multiple forms of data collection to thoroughly explore or answer those questions. Jensen et al highlighted several key questions that should be explored to facilitate reform of physical therapist education. Exploring these “key” questions requires the application of blended research methods to more thoroughly answer questions posed. The purpose of this session is to provide both novice and experienced researchers with the skills needed to design and implement a mixed methods educational research project. Methods and/or Description of Project: This interactive session is designed for two groups of researchers pursuing educational research: 1) early career researchers looking to expand their knowledge of research methodologies 2) experienced qualitative or quantitative researchers who want to learn how to combine approaches to best inform their research inquiry. The education and practice of physical therapists cannot be fully explained by a single research paradigm. Mixed methods research is an intellectual and practical synthesis of qualitative and quantitative research. It is the third methodological or research paradigm. Mixed methods research offers a more comprehensive approach for generating important educational research questions and providing answers to those questions. Results/Outcomes: The course will equip participants with strategies for combining qualitative and quantitative approaches and linking each to educational research questions. Attendees will be encouraged to share their research questions and the presenters will facilitate a discussion to help participants integrate mixed methodology to enhance their research agenda. We will explore resources and strategies to develop partnerships within and across institutions to facilitate achieving mixed methodological research goals. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Participants will apply concepts to design and implement educational research utilizing a mixed methods approach. These skills are vital to advance educational research and facilitate reform of physical therapist education.