Shifting pedagogical priorities in facilitating mixed methods research including postgraduate student’s reflections.
Teaching mixed methods research for quality improvement and translating evidence base practice to address meaningful change has become increasingly popular. In times of evidence-based and data-driven calls for improvement, it is important to provide students with knowledge and skills about mixed methods research that will help with the translation of research into practice. The literature identifies diverse pedagogical challenges that students face within mixed methods classrooms. Students are not usually equipped in both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The knowledge gap can result in deep pedagogical challenges compromising student’s ability to fully understand the mixed methods paradigm. Although we are shifting from a teacher centered (pedagogical) to a learner centered, self-directed approach (anagogical) student reluctance to engage with blackboard activities and critical appraisal of mixed methods design and papers persist.
The present study explores the student perception about learning mixed methods research by collecting written reflections at the end of a mixed methods post graduate study day and across a post graduate module on mixed methods research. A reflective teaching-learning methodology was employed aligned to the self-inquiry model. Using a systematic framework for content data analysis, two distinct categories were revealed. These relate to ‘barriers’ and ‘enablers’ that influenced the quality of the learning event. The data analysis yielded four themes including ‘grappling with mixed methods research’, ‘classroom challenges’ moving to ‘creative engagement with mixed methods’ and ‘pedagogic teacher –student interactions’. To tackle the myriad of challengesencountered, innovative teaching strategies and thesustainability of student centered approaches will beconsidered to lever up and empower the learning climatein mixed methods classrooms and build a pedagogicalculture.