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Qualitative Methods in Science Education
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 5641-20-08-30 
Enrollment deadline: 14/08/2020
PlaceInstitut for Naturfagenes Didaktik
Rådmandsgade 64, 2200 København N
Date and time16.11.2020, at: 09:00 - 20.11.2020, at: 16:00
Regular seats24
ECTS credits3.00
Contact personNadja Nordmaj    E-mail address: nnordmaj@ind.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserLene Møller Madsen    E-mail address: lmmadsen@ind.ku.dk

Science education research has previously been dominated by a quantitative regime applied by science researchers. However, the use of qualitative methods has gained momentum and belongs to a growing area within the field. The area is growing both because the field of science education are moving towards asking explorative questions as why and how (as for example why do young people struggle to see themselves in science) but also because the cross-disciplinary field of science education draws on both natural science knowledge and theories and methodologies from social science and the humanities. Hence, doctoral students within science education research are working in a cross-disciplinary field with no clear traditions or guidelines of how to design qualitative studies. This course addresses these challenges by offering an in-depth exploration of qualitative methods within the field of science education. It will provide tools, knowledge and guidelines to the doctoral students in general and more particular support the doctoral students in developing their own methodologies. The course focuses specifically on the use of qualitative methods in science education, why doctoral students within science education research will have first priority. However, it will also include issues related to educational research in general, why students from related research areas as educational research in general are encouraged to apply as well.

The course will take place at the Department of Science Education, and it will last one full week (3 ECTS). Prior to the course, the doctoral students have three tasks: firstly to write a short piece on their doctoral research project and their (intended) use of qualitative methods, secondly to undertake a timeline interview according to a set of guidelines provided to them, and finally to orient themselves within the course literature. The course itself consist of practical individual activities and group-work, teacher presentations as well as workshops and classroom discussions. In the final part of the course, the doctoral students are given individual feedback on their ideas of using qualitative methods within their research projects based on a revision of the short piece they wrote prior to the course adding insights gained during the course.

Formel requirements
You must have started on your empirical part of your thesis

BEFORE 14.08.2020
Please write to: lmmadsen@ind.ku.dk to get admitted.
About you own experience with qualitative methods and how far you are in your PhD

Final acceptance will be given Tuesday 18th of August 2018

Learning outcome
The learning objectives of the course are:
• The doctoral students will be able to identify the pros and cons of applying different qualitative methods.
• They will be capable of selecting and reflecting on their choice of methods and its suitability to different research aims.
• They will acquire the competences to carry out qualitative research in practice and to reflect on the challenges they encounter.
• They will be able to pick out relevant ethical considerations and to meet qualitative research criteria.

Teaching and learning methods
Scientific content
The course work intensively with different qualitative methodologies and the reflections qualitative researchers go through when engaging in these methods. The methods are qualitative interviews, observations, ethnographic methods and longitudinal studies. In addition, the course also includes important topics such as qualitative research criteria, ethics, and the challenges of studying subtle mechanism as gender, power relations and positionality.

Qualitative interviews
Qualitative interviews is the most common method within science education and educational research in general. In the course, the doctoral students will reflect on how different ways of interviewing produces different knowledge outcomes and is suitable to explore various research aims. As such, they will work on combining research aim and theory with suitable interview methods. The doctoral students will during the course work with classic interviews as well as more alternative approaches and based on this plan, carry out and reflect on different interview methods. One of the themes will be reflections of individual versus focus group interviews, another theme will be how to operationalize and study subtle mechanism (e.g. gender). The doctoral students will discuss and develop a guideline for what kind of reflections is required for a qualitative researcher before, during and after the interview.

Observation methods are a central part of doing qualitative research within science education. The doctoral students will be presented for classroom observations to more anthropological oriented observations, and discuss how to collect data (designing observation guides and taking field notes) and how producing different data can explore various research aims. They will reflect on the various roles of the observer and the ethical dimension related to the methods. The doctoral students will engage in observations and discuss the challenges embedded in the method during the course.

Ethnographic methods
Ethnographic methods are a growing field within science education. Here the researcher follows the participants often in different cultural contexts often in long periods. This require the researcher to constantly consider and re-negotiate research focus, reflect on own positionality and hence explore different ways to collect valuable data. During the course, the doctoral students are presented for the method and the knowledge potentials embedded within it. They will discuss what counts as data, how to construct a guideline for data-collection and how to report and present ethnographic data. They will work on producing data themselves and engage in discussions of the challenges embedded in the method. Finally, they will discuss when ethnographical methods are suitable as a method.

Making data in Multicultural settings
As increasing number of studies investigates how different students from various backgrounds related themselves to science. Therefore the course will deal with how to study multicultural settings with a particular focus on race, gender and social background.

Qualitative research criteria, ethic and positionality
When conducting qualitative research it is crucial to be familiar with the ethical guidelines that set the scene for the entire research process from contacting the participants, conducting the research to analysing the data. Ethical guidelines vary within different cultural contexts however; qualitative researchers’ have formulated general criteria that applies for such research. The doctoral students will work on their own research projects and discuss how to ensure keeping the ethical guidelines. As part of that, qualitative researchers must reflect on their own position in the data-collection as well as in the analysis. The doctoral students will work with their own position as a researcher in relation to their research field and reflect on the challenges they encounter. Finally, the course will provide the doctoral students with knowledge and reflections of how to negotiate the criteria of validity, generalizability, and representativeness. These criteria’s are different from that of quantitative research traditions, and the doctoral students will discuss how they ensure that their research meet the standards for good qualitative research.

Professor Justin Dillon, University of Exeter
Assistant Professor Kathrine Wade-Jaimes, university of Memphis
Professor Anna Danielsson, Uppsala University
Associate Professor Henriette Holmegaard, University of Copenhagen
Associate Professor Lene Møller Madsen, University of Copenhagen
Professor Lars Ulriksen, University of Copenhagen

Preparation/self study 40
Course hours 30
Evaluation/reporting 8

Participation fee

Registration is free of charge; participants are required to cover any and all costs pertaining to travel, room and board during the course

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