Page 102 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
P. 102

                                Chapter 4
 6.1 Limitations
Because of the small sample size in this mixed methods study, external validity is low, and therefore generalisations should be made with caution (Kirk & Miller, 1986). Only four institutes of teacher education (two Australian and two Dutch) participated. This sample is not meant to be representative of teacher education institutes in these countries, let alone teacher education institutes, teacher educators, or pre-service teachers in general. Although all of the participants in this study were involved in the type of programme in which it was feasible to conduct a research project, this may be difficult in some other types of teacher education programmes, in which academic training is not included. We addressed internal validity concerns through triangulation, such that we used questionnaires and focus groups with people from various contexts and with different perspectives, all focused on the same research questions.
Regarding the teacher educators, all of those involved in supervising pre-service teacher research in the participating institutes were invited and agreed to participate in the study. However, while all pre-service teachers were invited, not all chose to participate, so these participants may represent a biased sample; they might have been more positive or more negative about pre-service teacher research than average. In any case, all participants seemed to feel free to speak openly and truthfully; some of the pre-service teachers indicated that they did not like the pre-service teacher research, and all admitted that they were not looking for a job that required both teaching and conducting research.
Another possible limitation is the language used in the focus groups, especially for defining an inquiry habit of mind. In the participating Dutch institutes, an inquiry habit of mind is described in the learning outcomes of the programme, and pre-service teachers are familiar with this terminology. Although the Australian pre-service teachers had never used this term before, they spontaneously mentioned various characteristics of the inquiry habit of mind (Van der Rijst, 2009) in the focus groups and seemed to understand its meaning after the explanation in the introduction of the focus group.
6.2 Implications and further research
In contrast with previous research (e.g., Joram, 2007; Maaranen, 2009; Puustinen et al., 2018), all educators and pre-service teachers in our study perceived pre-service teacher research as very important. Attitudes toward research expressed in the focus groups also were mostly positive, though some pre-service teachers expressed frustration.

   100   101   102   103   104