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Mixed methods single case study research (MMSCR): Challenges in WP evaluation

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Evaluating widening participation (WP) interventions is complex. Early efforts at WP evaluation were criticised for lacking rigour. These criticisms were accompanied with suggested approaches to research, typically favouring randomised control trials. Yet these recommendations have, in turn, become the focus of much discussion and debate within the WP evaluation sector.
This paper presents the use of a 'mixed methods single case study research' (MMSCR) study design to WP evaluation. It describes the work of a PhD researcher evaluating the school – university partnership science outreach programme between the Wohl Reach Out Lab at Imperial College London and a local secondary school.
The article highlights potential challenges when using MMSCR, namely in ensuring internal validity and trustworthiness of the study. Solutions to these challenges are presented and the case is made for broadening what is seen as meaningful research in the sector.
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Keywords: CAUSALITY; RCT; RESEARCHER OBJECTIVITY; SCIENCE OUTREACH EVALUATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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