PPIG 2005 - 17th Annual Workshop
A Framework for Evaluating Qualitative Research Methods in Computer Programming Education
Enda Dunican
Abstract: This work-in-progress paper examines in detail the issue of qualitative research method evaluation. In particular, it focuses on method evaluation from the perspective of Computer Science education research. To this end, it presents the reader with an evaluative framework. The key issue underlying the development of this framework is pragmatism, i.e. one that provides the researcher with a simplistic and context-specific evaluation technique. In terms of simplicity, it proposes a broadbrush approach to evaluation where approximation is used and based on a number of evaluative criteria. In addition, the framework is based on a set of properties that may be construed as pragmatic, in terms of them reflecting issues of real importance to a researcher, who is attempting to decide on which qualitative method to use in a given context. An example of framework utilisation is then presented with respect to the Grounded Theory research method in the context of computer science education research. This entails a multiple-litmus type test on the Grounded Theory research method where measurements are presented for each of the framework properties. Finally, the paper will draw attention to the reusability of the framework by presenting its structure from a meta-perspective and indicates that it can be used to evaluate any qualitative research method in any context.