PRACTIONER RESEARCH: QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
a. Qualitative Analysis of information
Many of the most important experiences in life cannot be easily measured, at least not easily quantified. For example, how can we put figures on love, happiness and belonging and feel confident that others will assign the same ratings? In addition, the game-breaking variables in human interactions are often not observable but comprise tacit understandings. In the past, we have avoided making judgements about any information that has not been directly described and observed and have even afforded low status to qualitative information or people’s subjective reports. To a large extent, this has obscured teachers’ view of what really matters in learning and life. School leaders and teachers tend to be familiar with quantitative data as it has formed the basis of much academic assessment. Tools are readily available to support this process. With the increased focus on students’ well-being as a basis for learning, many teachers now wish to find out about ways of accessing and analysing data related to personal, social and cultural experiences.
Qualitative data analysis workshops introduce a variety of approaches and discuss the particular circumstances under which one method may be chosen over another or both quantitative and qualitative analysis are required. Opportunities are offered for participants in workshops to surmount the challenges of defining, articulating, inferring and measuring subjective experiences. The workshops stress the importance of thinking about the analysis of data throughout entire projects from design to review and selecting methods that are doable and meaningful in the everyday work of teachers and school leaders. Where applicable, practical support is available for projects in schools.
b. Situational Analysis: A framework for practitioner inquiry.
Situational Analysis has been designed for practitioner research. It is suitable for teachers who have some knowledge of inquiry and want to develop further skill in creating innovative new ways of teaching and learning. The research method has a strongly interactive (ecological) theoretical base with an appreciative perspective. The positive, appreciative base and the sequential processes of analysis, synthesis and principle identification can produce unforeseen findings to guide the development of innovative practices. Workshops and inquiry support can be negotiated with the facilitator.
Annan, J. (2005). Situational Analysis: A framework for evidence-based practice. School Psychology International, 26(2), 131-146.
Annan, J. & Priestley, A. (2018). Inquiring through the appreciative, interactive perspective of Situational Analysis. Paper presented at the 40th I International School Psychologists Association conference, Tokyo, Japan, July 25-28.
c. Facilitation of research and inquiry
The support of experienced researchers to facilitate inquiries allows them to progress systematically, leaving leaders and other participants free to innovate new practices, form active professional relationships and support the implementation of new developments. Positively Psychology is available to work alongside school leaders and teachers as they conduct practitioner research. Facilitation can take many forms and is negotiated with those participating in the research. Various models of inquiry are selected through discussion with participants to ensure a good fit between the purpose of each project, the cultural context and participants’ preferred ways of inquiring. Tasks for which facilitation support is most often requested are the design of projects at the outset, preparation proposals for funding (e.g. Teacher Led Innovation Funded projects or inquiries within Communities of Learning) and guidance at pivotal points of the process. These tasks include selecting methods for gathering information, accessing or constructing data collection tools, analysing data and reviewing the effectiveness of the project.