AERA-ICPSR-NSF PEERS Data Hub Will Hold No-Fee Workshop on the ProQual Institute for Research Methods on October 13

September 2021

The AERA-ICPSR-NSF PEERS Data Hub will hold a no-fee workshop, “The ProQual Institute for Research Methods,” on October 13, 2021, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET. The workshop will broadcast live on Zoom. ASL interpretation and captioning will be provided. Attendees can register here.

Taught by Nicola Sochacka (University of Georgia) and Joachim Walther (University of Georgia), this workshop is for STEM practitioners and researchers across formal and informal K-to-gray settings who want to learn qualitative research methods to broaden their educational change and innovation skillset. The workshop is based on the ProQual Institute for Research Methods, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Building Capacity in STEM Education Research (BCSER) program. The workshop aims to build capacity, confidence, and community in STEM education research.

The faculty will introduce a problem-led method to designing qualitative studies (the “Pro” in ProQual), which centers STEM practitioners’ experience and honors their passion and commitment to impact. The approach starts with a pictorial mapping exercise that prompts participants to think deeply about and sketch out the social system surrounding their research interest. The process guides participants to identify the systems’ actors, elements, connections, and structures, with the view to selecting a “Social Reality Under Investigation (SRUI).”

Akin to a “research object” in technical studies, the SRUI delineates the focus of the researcher’s direct empirical efforts and forms the basis for subsequent research design decisions. The resulting map is also a powerful boundary object that can be used to negotiate a shared understanding of the developing project in a research team.

Grounding the research design in the definition of a specific SRUI provides a novel, experience-near way to selecting suitable theoretical frameworks, methods, and methodologies. The workshop faculty will demonstrate this approach through practical examples from real research projects. The workshop will then introduce a research quality framework (the “Qual” in ProQual) as a tool and language to guide the investigation of the SRUI from ideation to propagation.

The ProQual approach will enable STEM practitioners to conceptualize coherent and well-aligned studies that emanate from their specific interests and practice needs. This interactive workshop will allow participants to engage in demonstrations and ask faculty members questions. 

This PEERS Data Hub workshop is the eighth webinar in the 11-part PEERS Research Methods Series, featuring the NSF-supported Institutes in Research Methods. Workshop recordings and related workshop materials are accessible on the PEERS website.

The PEERS Data Hub is a joint effort of AERA and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), which is NSF funded (Awards ECR 1937612 [AERA] and ECR 1937509 [ICPSR]). It aims to broaden access and use of wide-ranging STEM data, foster connections and scholarly communication across diverse scholarly networks, and build capacity for innovative STEM research. PEERS provides collaborative space for STEM education research communities to build and advance knowledge by sharing innovative ideas, methods, and tools. Further information about the PEERS Data Hub is available here.