ERIC Number: ED329302
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
The Use and Validation of Qualitative Methods Used in Program Evaluation.
Plucker, Frank E.
When conducting a two-year college program review, there are several advantages to supplementing the standard quantitative research approach with qualitative measures. Qualitative research does not depend on a large number of random samples, it uses a flexible design which can be refined as the research is executed, and it generates findings in a manner more accessible to policymakers and practitioners. Previous research comparing qualitative validity measures with quantitative validity suggests that new categories for validity research are needed. Specifically, the terms "local validity" and "general validity" have been proposed for assessing the validity of research results. Local validity addresses the validity for a particular set of conditions of a study, while general validity refers to the extension of the study results beyond the particular set of conditions. A review of the English program at College of Alameda (California) utilized both qualitative and quantitative measures. Guided discussions, interviews, and informal conversations between the evaluator and students, counselors and teachers were recorded in field notes or "contact summaries." In addition, survey instruments were administered to faculty, students, and the program administrator. To validate study results, three methods were used: triangulation (finding at least three sources to corroborate a viewpoint); saturation (developing new understandings from the inquiry process); and member checks (having study participants review conclusions). Program review conclusions generated by the qualitative method, tables illustrating the methods for establishing validity used by educational researchers, and the contact summary forms are included. (GFW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Research Conference of the California Association of Community Colleges (Asilomar, Monterey, CA, April 18-20, 1990).