ABS350 - A case for mixed method research of (horizontal) expertise development

3.2 Multi-method approaches: Issues, challenges and promising directions
3:00 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
CHAT research tends to be predominantly qualitative. In this presentation, I argue that there is merit in using a mixed method research design (quantitative and qualitative methods) in CHAT research.  First, I show that there are no strong conceptual reasons for the tendency to adhere to mono-methodology in CHAT. I explore, what I see as, the proto mixed-method arguments of some of the foundational figures in CHAT (e.g. Vygotsky and Luria), as well as some contemporary arguments (e.g. Ercikan and Roth).  Second, I illustrate this argument by presenting a mixed-method study of graduate expertise development in internships. I discuss the way in which drawing on CHAT enabled me to (i) extract new insights from existing datasets about expertise development in an internship, (ii) develop and deepen these insights in a focus group discussion with students and graduates, and (iii) integrate the insights from surveys and focus groups study on expertise development in internships. I show that both quantitative and qualitative evidence supports my explanatory model of ‘horizontal expertise’. By horizontal expertise of graduates, I mean the ability of students after an internship to reason from the perspective of the employer about themselves, their expertise and the world of work, to understand the importance of using their skills and knowledge in occupationally specific ways, and to anticipate whether a particular occupational pathway is for them and make the decision about the direction in which they wish to go next.

University College London (UCL), Institute of Education