Integrating quantitative and qualitative information in science and mathematics classroom environment research

Year: 1997

Author: Rickards, Tony, Fisher, Darrell

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In recent years in classroom environment research, qualitative methods have been used in refining questionnaires and in seeking explanations to patterns identified through statistical analysis of quantitative information (e.g. why boys' or girls' perceptions differ, why students' and teachers' perceptions differ; how teacher-student interpersonal behaviour affects student outcomes). This paper will describe how this approach was used in a study involving a large-scale use of the Questionnaire of Teacher Interaction in Australia. Following statistical analyses of the responses of about 4,000 science and mathematics students, in-depth interviews were conducted with students in order to explain why male and female students differed in their perceptions, why students from different cultural backgrounds perceived the same classrooms differently, and how interpersonal teacher behaviour affected student attitudes.