Today I’m writing bits and pieces into my methodology chapter, and I thought that I should reflect here on four key questions that Creswell (2003) states must be addressed by the researcher during the planning stage.

1.  In what sequence will the qual and quant data collection be implemented?

This is an easy one as for quite some time now I’ve been clear about the order. In order to look at the self-directed learning of occupational therapists – especially why people do what they do as self-directed learners , I firstly need to find a range of learners across the self-directed learning spectrum.  After all, one would suggest based on the research that highly self-directed learners would talk about a range of ways of self-assessing, have clear objectives linked to the outcome of the self-assessment, use a range of activities that fit with their learning styles, and have detailed self-reflections. And that those who rate themselves as less highly self-directed (I can’t find a way of describing those at the other end – except to say not self-directed) would find those various steps harder to do and therefore produce less detailed self-assessments, have objectives that perhaps don’t easily relate to the self-assessment, be limited in the choice of activities (and perhaps feel they aren’t great learning activities but that’s all they can choose from) and perhaps have more superficial critical reflections.

Now this is probably very simplistic, but when the research on occupational therapists and self-directed learning is sparse, what do we have to guide us.  There is huge amounts on student self-directed learning, but after that it seems that we all assume we are competent self-directed learners, therefore research has not been required – hmm???

It follows then that I should use a self-directed learning readiness scale that is quantitative – that I can complete a quantitative analysis which will allow me to describe a large group of people. From this group I can then invite those who are ranged across from not self-directed to highly self-directed to gain more insight into the nature of self-directed learning in New Zealand occupational therapists – which is the analysis of the online portfolios people complete for the OTBoard recertification process, and the semi-structured interviews?

Make sense – I hope so.. I need to work on building this argument for sure in my methodology!

2.  What relative priority will be given to the qual and quant data collection and analysis?

Now this seems a ‘too-hard’ question to answer at the moment – but perhaps not. Because I’m really more interested in the nature of self-directed learning of occupational therapists -then the relative priority should be given to the qualitative data collected through analysis of online portfolios and the interview.  The quantitative data exists to give a snapshot of a group of occupatioanl therapists and their rating of their self-directed learning.  On it’s own the outcomes of this scale will not say a lot? Hmm can I say that?

3. At what stage will the qual and quant data be integrated?

I think the integration of the data occurs when I take peoples’ rating on their scale, take the information I gain from analysing their online portfolios and use this to frame up the questions for the semi-structured interview.  You rate yourself this way, but your portfolio suggests this and what do you think???

4. Will an overall theoretical perspective be used to guide the study?

At this stage the overall theoretical perspective is from Garrison and his model of a self-directed learner – but before I get into the analysis of the online portfolios and the interviews I better be sure that’s the way I will go as I think this will shape up the way I frame my questions too.  The SDLRS that I’ve selected uses similiar subheadings to Garrison’s model although I don’t yet know whether a theoretical framework was used in the design of the scale. I know the process used to decide what questions to ask in the scale – but what informed the design of the questions is not clear I think.

Would be interested in any comments on above – and I will post up on my blog the research questions. One of the other outputs in the EdD programme is a portfolio and part of this is to talk about how my community informed my research  – so here’s your chance OT community!