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Book Chapter: The Contemporary Importance of Triangulation in a Post-Positivist World: Examples from the Learner’s Perspective Study

TitleThe Contemporary Importance of Triangulation in a Post-Positivist World: Examples from the Learner’s Perspective Study
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherSpringer
Citation
The Contemporary Importance of Triangulation in a Post-Positivist World: Examples from the Learner’s Perspective Study. In Bikner-Ahsbahs, A., Knipping, C & Presmeg, N (Eds.), Approaches to Qualitative Research in Mathematics Education: Examples of Methodology and Methods , p. 403-425. Netherland: Springer, 2015 How to Cite?
AbstractWithin the social sciences, triangulation has become a reference construct when issues of methodological rigour are discussed. We support the importance attached to triangulation, but argue in this chapter that the function and value of triangulation in contemporary research methodology is misunderstood and widely misrepresented. The paradigm within which triangulation originally assumed significance was a positivist one, where the goal of research was the identification of a singular truth and the validity of any conclusion was subject to the required convergence of corroborative data. In this chapter, we argue that triangulation must be reconceptualised to be relevant to a community increasingly committed to interpretivist and critical methodologies. Given such a reconceptualization, the metaphoric entailments of triangulation can usefully inform contemporary research efforts and the development of new methodologies. Our argument is illustrated by examples taken from the Learner’s Perspective Study (LPS). This study examines the patterns of participation in competently-taught eighth grade mathematics classrooms in eighteen countries in an integrated and comprehensive fashion. The research design combined the video records from three cameras with post-lesson video-stimulated interviews with teachers and students, teacher questionnaires, copies of student written material and tests to generate a complex record of sequences of ten lessons for each classroom. Such a research design exemplifies “mixed methods” approaches with its combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses of a diverse, strategically interconnected body of data. The rich documentation of the project data made possible multiple entry points for analysis of classroom practice using different theoretical frameworks to address a variety of significant research questions. The results of the Learner's Perspective Study are reported in a Book Series, journal papers and conferences. The reports (and the underlying analyses) take many different forms including comparison between teachers within the same school system or culture, comparison of lesson structures and lesson event types between different cultural settings, and case study reports of the practices of a single classroom by juxtaposition of complementary accounts of the lessons from the perspectives of multiple classroom participants. These complementary accounts are at the heart of the methodological shift that has required the reinvention of triangulation, where the ultimate goal is not a unique finding (proposition or relationship) warranted by the convergence of multiple data points on a single truth, but rather the multi-faceted portrayal of a complex social situation (e.g. dyadic collaboration or teacher-led discussion) through complementary accounts generated from multiple data sources related to that social situation. The paradigmatic shift in the nature and utility of triangulation is captured precisely in this movement from convergence to complementarity.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/208328
ISBN
Series/Report no.Advances in Mathematics Education

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorMok, IAC-
dc.contributor.authorClarke, D-
dc.date.accessioned2015-02-23T08:24:36Z-
dc.date.available2015-02-23T08:24:36Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationThe Contemporary Importance of Triangulation in a Post-Positivist World: Examples from the Learner’s Perspective Study. In Bikner-Ahsbahs, A., Knipping, C & Presmeg, N (Eds.), Approaches to Qualitative Research in Mathematics Education: Examples of Methodology and Methods , p. 403-425. Netherland: Springer, 2015-
dc.identifier.isbn9789401791809-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/208328-
dc.description.abstractWithin the social sciences, triangulation has become a reference construct when issues of methodological rigour are discussed. We support the importance attached to triangulation, but argue in this chapter that the function and value of triangulation in contemporary research methodology is misunderstood and widely misrepresented. The paradigm within which triangulation originally assumed significance was a positivist one, where the goal of research was the identification of a singular truth and the validity of any conclusion was subject to the required convergence of corroborative data. In this chapter, we argue that triangulation must be reconceptualised to be relevant to a community increasingly committed to interpretivist and critical methodologies. Given such a reconceptualization, the metaphoric entailments of triangulation can usefully inform contemporary research efforts and the development of new methodologies. Our argument is illustrated by examples taken from the Learner’s Perspective Study (LPS). This study examines the patterns of participation in competently-taught eighth grade mathematics classrooms in eighteen countries in an integrated and comprehensive fashion. The research design combined the video records from three cameras with post-lesson video-stimulated interviews with teachers and students, teacher questionnaires, copies of student written material and tests to generate a complex record of sequences of ten lessons for each classroom. Such a research design exemplifies “mixed methods” approaches with its combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses of a diverse, strategically interconnected body of data. The rich documentation of the project data made possible multiple entry points for analysis of classroom practice using different theoretical frameworks to address a variety of significant research questions. The results of the Learner's Perspective Study are reported in a Book Series, journal papers and conferences. The reports (and the underlying analyses) take many different forms including comparison between teachers within the same school system or culture, comparison of lesson structures and lesson event types between different cultural settings, and case study reports of the practices of a single classroom by juxtaposition of complementary accounts of the lessons from the perspectives of multiple classroom participants. These complementary accounts are at the heart of the methodological shift that has required the reinvention of triangulation, where the ultimate goal is not a unique finding (proposition or relationship) warranted by the convergence of multiple data points on a single truth, but rather the multi-faceted portrayal of a complex social situation (e.g. dyadic collaboration or teacher-led discussion) through complementary accounts generated from multiple data sources related to that social situation. The paradigmatic shift in the nature and utility of triangulation is captured precisely in this movement from convergence to complementarity.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherSpringer-
dc.relation.ispartofApproaches to Qualitative Research in Mathematics Education: Examples of Methodology and Methods -
dc.relation.ispartofseriesAdvances in Mathematics Education-
dc.titleThe Contemporary Importance of Triangulation in a Post-Positivist World: Examples from the Learner’s Perspective Study-
dc.typeBook_Chapter-
dc.identifier.emailMok, IAC: iacmok@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityMok, IAC=rp00939en_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1007/978-94-017-9181-6_15-
dc.identifier.hkuros242392-
dc.identifier.spage403-
dc.identifier.epage425-
dc.publisher.placeNetherland-

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