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Open Access Using mixed methods to capture complexity in an empirical project about teachers' beliefs and history education in Austria

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In international methodological literature, and in the literature about research in education in general, mixed-methods research (MMR) has been identified as a means to get deeper and broader insights, and to validate findings in research projects. Nevertheless, so far there has not been much reflection upon mixed methods in the history education research community. In this article, some advantages of the concept will be presented, drawing on international methodological literature. It will ask how these advantages may be used in research projects in history education to get richer findings. This paper will present an Austrian mixed methods project, and will reflect upon the experience of using qualitative and quantitative methodology in it. The Competence and Academic Orientation in History Textbooks (CAOHT) and Epistemic Beliefs of Austrian History Teachers after the Paradigm Shift to Historical Thinking (EBAHT) projects researched the beliefs of history teachers and history teaching nearly a decade after the reform that changed the Austrian history curriculum from content orientation to domainspecific competence orientation (historical thinking). Sequential qualitative–quantitative triangulation study has made it possible to capture some of the complexity of such an undertaking, more than would have been possible using a mono-method design. To base a survey on a previous qualitative study can help to interpret the context of the statistical results, put into perspective the answers and see relations that are difficult to detect when relying on a mono-method design. Also, when there is corroborating evidence from qualitative and quantitative data, conclusions may be drawn with more confidence, and generalization of qualitative findings becomes possible.
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Keywords: CURRICULUM; INTERVIEWS; QUESTIONNAIRE; TEACHERS' BELIEFS; TRIANGULATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • The History Education Research Journal (HERJ) is an international, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the global significance and impact of history education. It covers all aspects of history education theory, scholarship, and pure and applied research. Articles illuminate contemporary issues, concerns, policies and practice, drawing upon the eclectic research methodologies of history education. The journal is published in partnership with the Historical Association.

    HERJ is a relaunch of the International Journal of Historical Learning Teaching and Research. All past issues up to and including vol. 15, no. 1 were published under this title. HERJ vol. 15, no. 2 is the first to be published by UCL IOE Press.
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