AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Dec/12

18

Cheryl Poth on Building Capacity for Mixed Methods Evaluation

I’m Cheryl Poth and I am an assistant professor at the Centre for Applied Studies in Measurement and Evaluation in the department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. My area of research is focused on how developmental evaluators build evaluation capacity within their organizations. My use of mixed methods is pragmatically-driven, that is, I use it when the research/evaluation question(s) require the integration of both qualitative themes and quantitative measures to generate a more comprehensive understanding. Most recently, my work within research teams has provided the impetus for research and writing about the role of a mixed methods practitioner within such teams.

Lessons Learned:

  • Develop and teach courses. In 2010, I developed (and offered) a doctoral mixed methods research (MMR) course in response to the demand from graduate students for opportunities to gain skills within MMR. The course was oversubscribed and at the end of the term we formed a mixed methods reading group, which continues to provide support as students are working their way through their research process. I am fortunate to be able to offer this course again this winter and already it is full!
  • Offer workshops. To help build MMR capacity, I have offered workshops in a variety of locations, most recently at the 9th Annual Qualitative Research Summer Intensive held in Chapel Hill, NC in late summer and at the 13th Thinking Qualitatively Workshop Series offered by the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology held in Edmonton, AB in early summer. These workshops remind me of the reality for many researchers that their graduate programs required completion of an advanced research methods course that was either qualitatively- or quantitatively-focused and of the need to build a community of MM researchers and that the community can exist locally or using technology can exist globally! It has been a pleasure to watch as new and experienced researchers begin to learn about MMR designs and integration procedures.
  • Join a community. One of the places where I have begun to find my community MM researchers was through a group currently working on forming the International Association of Mixed Methods, at the International Mixed Methods conference, and the mixed methods researchers on Methodspace.

Hot Tip:

Rad Resource:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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1 comment

  • Kate · December 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Oh how I love mixed methods and qualitative inquiry! We have TONS to offer in our eLibrary from over the years. Check out search results here: http://bit.ly/T9RpIp

    And, there is an upcoming Qual Methods event, The Fourth Annual Planning for Qualitative Research:
    Design, Analysis and Software Integration” happening in January in Philadelphia (my neck of the woods) at Temple University by the same people who put on the Qual Research Summer Intensive. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/XPeTkS

    Thanks Cheryl!

    Reply

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