Page 138 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
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                                Chapter 6
 6 Limitations and suggestions for future research
To foster an accurate interpretation of the presented findings, we acknowledge some limitations of our studies. A first limitation is the generalisability of the results. We focused mainly on teacher education for primary schools in universities of applied sciences in the Dutch context and two samples from Melbourne in Chapter 4. The Dutch universities of applied sciences do not have a long research tradition, which is reflected in the limited research experience of the teacher educators and students. In addition, the Dutch universities of applied sciences focus on practice. Therefore, this study is not meant to be representative for all teacher education institutes, teacher educators or pre-service teachers in general. The generalisability could be enhanced by a comparison of the programme and its learning outcomes of pre-service teacher research and inquiry in secondary teacher education and teacher education in research universities. A curriculum study on the development of an inquiry stance in teacher education at research universities might shed light on the value of pre-service teacher research in academic settings and the learning outcomes. Thus far, studies addressing learning outcomes of pre-service teacher research in Dutch research universities are scarce and are mainly small-scale (e.g., Vrijnsen-de Korte et al., 2012). Although pre-service teachers in Dutch research universities are assumed to have more experience with research in a specific domain, their attitude toward pre-service teacher research appears not to be as positive as our findings (cf. Westbroek & Kaal, 2016). Reasons for this might simply be the time pressure to become a teacher. The teacher education curriculum at research universities is limited to a single year, which can lead to a perceived urgency to focus on teaching skills instead of research.
A second limitation of the studies reported in this thesis is a bias in participation. All pre-service teachers who participated had (almost) completed their capstone inquiry project, and some of those students were delayed due to their inquiry project. Perceptions of students who decided to quit before graduation were, however, not available and therefore could not be included in this study. Although this group is relatively small (<5%) and the reasons to quit vary widely, some members of this group might have quit because of the high demands of the pre-service teacher inquiry project. Their perceptions of pre-service teacher inquiry would not have influenced our main findings, but they could have contributed insights into the implementation of pre-service teacher inquiry and curriculum improvement. Therefore, we suggest involving exit evaluations of students who did not graduate in future research.
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