Most qualitative researchers do not recommend generalization from qualitative studies, as this research is not based on random samples and statistical controls. The objective of this study is to explore the degree to which in-service teachers understand the controversial aspects of generalization in both qualitative and quantitative educational research and as to how this can facilitate problems faced by the teachers in the classroom. The study is based on 83 participants who had registered for a 10-week course on ‘Methodology of Investigation in Education’ as part of their Master’s degree program. The course is based on 11 readings drawing on a philosophy of science perspective (positivism, constructivism, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos). Course activities included written reports, class room discussions based on participants’ presentations, and written exams. Based on the results obtained it is concluded: (1) almost 91% of the teachers agreed that external generalization in a different social context is feasible; (2) almost 63% of the participants used a fairly inconsistent approach, that is in a theoretical context agreed that qualitative research cannot be generalized and still when asked with respect to the experience of two particular teachers, agreed that generalization was possible; (3) almost 28% of the participants used a consistent approach. Some of the reasons provided by the participants as to why generalization was feasible are discussed. An analogy is drawn with respect to Piaget’s methodology, viz., it was not based on random samples or statistical treatments and still his oeuvre has been generalized (criticisms not withstanding) in both the psychology and educational literature.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: May 25, 2006
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