Research approaches and student surveys
a cross-cultural perspective
The nature of education worldwide has been undergoing a rapid change in student populations, from the homogenous classes to the ever-changing classroom populations of students with diverse cultural, educational and linguistic backgrounds (Malczewska-Webb. Australian experience of culturally diverse university classrooms. In Aspects of Culture in Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Learning, eds. Arabski and Wojtaszek, pp. 121–137. Springer, Heidelberg, 2011). Although researchers from other fields have raised issues concerning research in culturally and linguistically diverse groups, little has been done in the field of suitability of different research approaches in diverse populations in education (Obiakor. Multicultural Perspectives 3–4:5–10, 2010). The aim of this paper is to evaluate the usefulness of the quantitative and qualitative research approaches in analyzing the results from surveys in culturally and linguistically diverse student groups. The project examines tertiary education experience of four student cohorts including Australian, American, Chinese and Polish students at two universities, in Australia and Poland. Both, quantitative and qualitative approaches were employed for the data collection and its analysis. The overall results of the quantitative and qualitative data examining students' difficulties experienced during their university studies were compared with the results of individual cohorts. The appropriateness of both approaches was examined from the perspective of diverse student populations. The results suggest limitations of quantitative methods in diverse groups, particularly if these are not supported and enriched by the qualitative results. The paper emphasizes the complexity of data collected in culturally and linguistically diverse student populations.
Malczewska-Webb, B. , Nowacka, M. , Ong, S. (2014)., Research approaches and student surveys: a cross-cultural perspective, in D. Gabry Barker, D. Gabryś-Barker & A. Wojtaszek (eds.), Studying second language acquisition from a qualitative perspective, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 127-143.
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