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Using Qualitative Methods to Make and Support Claims in Physics Education Research

Using Qualitative Methods to Make and Support Claims in Physics Education Research

This document summarizes a session, held at the 2002 Physics Education research conference, that was designed to stimulate conversations about the use of qualitative methods in physics education research. The session began with a general overview of qualitative research. Then, to provide a context for discussion, facilitators conducted a mini research activity; in which they introduded data (interview, video transcripts, and student work) from a university physics course for preservice teachers. Participants were given the task of examining the data and deciding whether a particular claim was sufficiently supported by the data. A rich discussion ensued, in which many research-related issues were raised. These issues, which might serve as topics of discussion for future sessions, are listed and briefly editorialized at the end of this paper.

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