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      Methodological challenges for the qualitative researcher: The use of a conceptual framework within a qualitative case study

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          Abstract

          This article presents the MERITS Plus model, a conceptual framework developed during qualitative research into the process of academic transition and the impact of educational choices upon learner identity. The article considers some of the methodological challenges faced by qualitative researchers, and how effective the use of a conceptual framework might be in addressing these issues. The MERITS Plus model was developed and modified through two pilot studies and a piece of major fieldwork, the Learner, Identity and Transition Project (LITP), a qualitative case study conducted in a college of further education in England. Empirical data were collected through semi-structured narrative interviews with 24 learners studying either an A level or a BTEC programme, and from a focus group with teaching staff. The MERITS Plus model is a multilayered approach, comprising, first, a six-element framework (Motivations, Expectations, Reality, Identity, Transition, and Stories and Synthesis) used to analyse the data, and, second, the use of Bourdieu's thinking tools to examine the complexities raised by the data. By combining these approaches, the study was able to present narratives directly by using the MERITS Plus model to create eight composite learner profiles drawn from the data to illustrate the range of different learner types found within one educational setting. Thus, the model is presented as a method of preserving the integrity of participant voice collected via qualitative methods, while allowing a systematic analysis of narratives both as individual stories and as products of particular social contexts.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          10430
          London Review of Education
          UCL IOE Press
          1474-8460
          01 March 2020
          : 18
          : 1
          : 126-141
          Article
          1474-8460(20200301)18:1L.126;1- s9.phd /ioep/clre/2020/00000018/00000001/art00009
          10.18546/LRE.18.1.09
          Product
          Categories
          Articles: General

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          London Review of Education
          Volume 18, Issue 1

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