Page 21 - Empowering pre-service teachers through inquiry - Lidewij van Katwijk
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                                General introduction
  4 Methodological approach 1
In this dissertation (for an overview, see Figure 1.1), we have chosen to conduct mixed-methods research, because the research questions regarding the purpose and value of pre-service teacher inquiry in all three representations of the teacher education curriculum can be answered more in depth than with either a qualitative or quantitative research methodology alone. Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches provides a more complete understanding of the research problem than either approach alone (Creswell, 2014, 2016; Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). In a document analysis to examine the intended curriculum (Chapter 2), we used qualitative research by systematically alternating between content analysis and thematic analysis, focused on finding patterns (Bowen, 2009). In the studies described in Chapters 3 and 4, we enhanced our interpretation of the quantitative results of a survey about perceptions of pre-service teacher inquiry by asking for more detail in a qualitative study using focus groups (e.g., Why did the pre-service teachers not expect to continue practitioner inquiry in a future job?) We combined quantitative data about the quality of inquiry and the quality of teaching with qualitative data on perception of the most important learning outcomes in Chapter 5.
Table 1.1 shows the number and distribution of participants of this thesis. Nineteen Dutch institutes for primary teacher education participated in our study. This number represents more than 75% of the country’s primary teacher education institutes. The data from the focus groups of both pre-service teachers and teacher educators of the eight universities of applied sciences showed saturation. We included an international comparison (the Dutch context versus an Australian context, in Chapter 4) as a response to Darling-Hammond’s (2017) call for educators from various countries, with their different contexts, to learn from one another about what matters and what works to meet the high expectations of learning for pre-service teachers and their students. In total, 375 pre-service teachers and 103 teacher educators completed the survey, 36 and 55 of whom, respectively, participated in the focus groups. Finally, we collected data on teaching and inquiry quality of all graduating pre-service teachers (N = 650) of one university of applied sciences over four years (2014–2018), which gives a reliable picture of the relationship between the quality of pre-service teacher inquiry and teaching in this programme.

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