SIG Initiatives
SIG Initiatives
Outstanding Dissertation Award


The Mixed Methods Research Special Interest Group Outstanding Dissertation Award is an AERA-sanctioned award intended to recognize an individual whose dissertation makes an outstanding contribution to the field of mixed methods research.  The winning application receives recognition by the SIG in the form of an honorarium presented to the recipient at the AERA Mixed Methods SIG Business Meeting held at the annual AERA Meeting.

Empirical studies and methodological topics pertinent to conducting mixed methods research are considered appropriate submissions.  To be eligible for consideration, the dissertation must be completed and defended successfully during a two-year time period before nominations are due.  Currently the award is given out every other year (e.g., 2019, 2021).

Information about how to apply is distributed to SIG members during the Fall before the applications are due.

Call for Nominations

For the 2019 Outstanding Dissertation Award

The Mixed Methods Research Special Interest Group (SIG) of AERA invites nominations for the 2019 Outstanding Dissertation Award.  This is an AERA-sanctioned award that recognizes an AERA member whose dissertation makes an outstanding contribution to the field of mixed methods research.  Empirical studies and methodological topics pertinent to conducting mixed methods research are both considered appropriate submissions.  A successful nominee will receive recognition by the SIG in the form of a certificate and $1,000 honorarium to support travel to AERA.  To receive the honorarium, the recipient must attend and present at the special award session sponsored by the Mixed Methods Research SIG at the 2019 AERA Annual Meeting.  The chair/advisor of the student’s committee will be invited to attend the awardees’ presentation and be recognized.

Download this file for more details about eligibility considerations and award application packet requirements: Call for MMR SIG 2019 Dissertation Award.pdf

Past Recipients

AERA Mixed Methods Research SIG Dissertation Award Past Recipients

The past recipients of the AERA Mixed Methods Research SIG Dissertation Award are as follows.

2019 Dissertation Award Winner

To be announced at the 2019 AERA Annual Meeting held in Toronto!

2017 Dissertation Award Winner: Dr. Marcia Gail Headley, University of Cincinnati

Dr. Headley’s dissertation entitled “What is Symbolic Mathematics Language Literacy? A Concurrent Mixed Methods Study of Adolescents in a Middle School” was conducted to understand symbolic mathematics language literacy (SMaLL) among middle school students learning under the Common Core State Standards with implication for instructional practice. Using the theory of developmental bio-cultural co-constructivism, Dr. Headley adapted data collection tools and implemented a multilevel concurrent mixed methods research design by which she contributed to the field of mixed methods research providing an exemplar and introducing multilevel variants of mixed methods research designs with theoretically defined levels and within-person investigations.

2015 Dissertation Award Winner: Dr. Elise M. St. John, University of Washington

Dr. St. John’s dissertation entitled “Understanding the Factors that Influence the Grouping and Assignment of Students to Elementary Classrooms” was supported in part by the US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (#R305B090012). The study employed a four phase sequential mixed methods design to examine the grouping and assignment of students to elementary school classrooms.She specifically explored the grouping of students by ability across grade-level classrooms by linking classroom assignment outcomes to assignment practices to investigate the factors that contribute to varying outcomes, which had important implications for the accuracy of value-added measurement techniques. Dr. St. John’s dissertation also provides an example of how to be explicit in your descriptions of the purposes and goals of each data source, analysis strategy, and study phase.

2013 Dissertation Award Winner: Dr. Michelle C. Howell Smith, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Howell Smith’s dissertation entitled “Factors That Facilitate or Inhibit Interest of Domestic Students in the Engineering PhD: A Mixed Methods Study” was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (award EEC-0935108). This dissertation was conducted as mixed methods sequential exploratory instrument design in four phases to identify factors that facilitate interest in engineering PhD programs among domestic engineering undergraduate students in the United States. This study contributed to the literature with a testable theory for how domestic students become interested in engineering PhD programs and a measure of that process.It is a good example of mixed methods research with a multi-phase approach that includes grounded theory, instrument development, and testing the instrument.

2011 Dissertation Award Winner: Dr. Pamela M. Wesely, University of Minnesota

Dr. Weseley’s dissertation entitled “The Language Learning Motivation of Early Adolescent French and Spanish Elementary Immersion Program Graduates” used explanatory “sequential mixed design.”She investigated the L2 learning motivation of elementary immersion school graduates.This study contributed to the mixed methods literature by incorporating qualitative research into a quantitative work with expanding a theoretical framework beyond the components of a socio-educational model.