EDET 636

How will I go about making sense of my data?

I have collected data through interviews, observations and documents (student homework, articles). I have more documents than I do anything else right now. I am still conducting interviews and my students are still working on their budget projects. 

In Sharan Merriam’s book, she lists ten helpful suggestions for analysing data as they are being collected: 

  1. Force yourself to make decisions that narrow the study
  2. Force yourself to make decision concerning the type of study you want to accomplish
  3. Develop analytic questions
  4. Plan data collection sessions according to what you find in previous observations
  5. Write many “observer’s comments” as you go
  6. Write memos to yourself about what you are learning
  7. Try out ideas and themes on participants
  8. Begin exploring the literature while you are in the field 
  9. Play with metaphors, analogies and concepts
  10. Use visual devices. 

I can do some of these, as I am still collecting data. It is a lot of data and I need to keep focused on what my questions were for the action research project. 

In Madelon Eelderink’s article she lists four easy steps to getting to know your data. 

  1. Get familiar with your data
  2. Identify codes and themes
  3. Coding your data
  4. Organize your codes and themes. 

I like this list better. I have several interviews done and going through them. I am going to code all my data and take names off. I don’t want to break confidentiality when writing up my research. I have come up with themes/categories for the data. I am needing to ask more from professionals and parents. That might be a challenge but I am going to try.  “Interview transcripts are among the best qualitative analysis resources available—but you need the right methods to use them successfully.” (Canary, 2019) Canary goes on to list six steps on how to analyse interviews. He is talking about the “REV’ and I am going to sign up for a free trial to see if it will help me with my interview data. 

The observations part of the research I might not be able to use. I have plenty of holes in my observations because I didn’t write down enough information and I have forgotten what certain notes mean. All the articles I have read said this may happen if we don’t start analysing right away. 


Canary, Austin. 2019. How to Analyze Interview Transcripts in Qualitative Research. https://www.rev.com/blog/analyze-interview-transcripts-in-qualitative-research

Eelderink, Madelon. 2015. Qualitative data – analysis: making sense of data in 4 steps. https://www.7sens.es/qualitative-data-analysis-making-sense-of-data-in-4-steps/

Merriam, Sharan. 2009. Qualitative Research; A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco; Jossey-Bass.

EDET 636

week 8 reflection

Everyones post that I read gave me a little more information about data mining and how to get through it all. A few things I had forgotten about was confidentiality of our students. Meaning that with our sample sizes being so small, we need to be sure not to focus on one or two students. Also someone’s post points out that we are data mining already with all the data we are going through during the school year. 

Keri shared a great graphic on different data mining strategies. Tony laid out a great post on 4 steps to help get through all our data. Kurtis’ post was helpful in remembering 2 key points of our research. Overall I learned a great deal from my classmates’ blogs and I hope I shared something that is helpful to them, even if late.

EDET 636

How can data mining assist you in triangulating your research findings?

WOW! First I need to look up data mining and triangulating, as I do not know what those two words mean. Then hopefully I will be able to answer the question. Data mining is “the process of analysing data from different perspectives and summarising it into useful information, including discovery of previously unknown interesting patterns, unusual records or dependencies.” (Data Mining, Youtube) “In simple words, data mining is defined as a process used to extract usable data from a larger set of any raw data. It implies analysing data patterns in large batches of data using one or more software.”  (Economic times) Triangulation “means using more than one method to collect data on the same topic. This is a way of assuring the validity of research through the use of a variety of methods to collect data on the same topic, which involves different types of samples as well as methods of data collection. However, the purpose of triangulation is not necessarily to cross-validate data but rather to capture different dimensions of the same phenomenon.” (Research Gate) So to me this means, I need to use different methods to collect my data, so that I can analyse my data and hopefully cover all aspects of my research. 

So, data mining can assist me in triangulating my research findings because I can use my interview data, my budget project data and also research data from other sources. I have found good articles online and will hopefully find good data. 

In an article written by Patrick Kennedy, he gives “Tips for triangulation” and they are:

  1. Mix it up: combine different techniques that balance each other out
  2. The right tool for the right job: 
  3. Two heads are better than one: having 2 or more people on the project
  4. Layer upon layer: conduct research in successive layers of detail
  5. Setup a feedback loop: 
  6. Be reflexive, grasshopper: look for where preconceptions might exist, in yourself and your colleagues, and work out how you might be able to minimise their impact. 
  7. Re-visit participants: visiting the same people at multiple times throughout the research can give good results. 

Another article I found was about educational data mining and why it is important. “Educational data mining is an emerging discipline, concerned with developing methods for exploring the unique and increasingly large scale data obtained from educational settings and uses those methods to better understand students and the setting in which they learn.” (Tetsuya, 2019 fromIEDM, 2011)


I am using different methods of data. I am trying to cover all aspects of the project with my data and that of others. The students final budget projects and feedback will be important. 


B2Bwhiteboard. 2019. What is Triangulation in Qualitative Research? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGTA2jgcNI4

Data Mining. 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5ATkQuBTtw

Economic Times. Definition of ‘Data Mining’. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/definition/data-mining

Kennedy, Patrick. 2009. How to combine multiple research methods: Practical Triangulation. http://johnnyholland.org/2009/08/practical-triangulation/

ResearchGate. 2013. What is triangulation of data in qualitative research? Is it a method of validating the information collected through various methods? https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_is_triangulation_of_data_in_qualitative_research_Is_it_a_method_of_validating_the_information_collected_through_various_methods

Tetsuya, Jesse. 2019. Why is Educational Data Mining Important in the research. https://towardsdatascience.com/why-is-educational-data-mining-important-in-the-research-e78ed1a17908

EDET 636

week 7 reflection

Since we all know that observing is extremely important in teaching, it was interesting to see what my peers had come up with for their infographics. Kurtis, Keri, Tony and I all read two of the same articles but our graphics are very different. Kurtis had preparation, focus, distance, behavior, independent and collaborative, conversations, and work and engagement. Keri had Building Relationships, be effective, time usage, collecting evidence, comparison, outside influences and knowing the difference between frustration and boredom. Tony had come in with a plan, focus, schedule multiple observations, observe in many ways and take quality notes. From these 3, I picked up several tips to add to my observing notes. Keri really made me think about outside influences. That plays such a big role in the alternative school and I can’t believe I forgot it. Melissa’s graphic was completely different and eye opening. I like how she laid it out and her checks were spot on. She did bring up ‘physical setting’ and none of us wrote about that but realize how important it is.

EDET 636

What are the most important things to remember when observing your students?



When I was first taught science many moons ago, I was told that science was based on observations. The teacher explained how we use observations in our daily lives and how scientists use it in science. The idea of learning from observation has never left my mind. 

As a teacher, I use my observational skills everyday. When I greet a student in the morning, I can make an observation based on if they answer and/or how they answer. I had one student several years ago, if he came in wearing pajama bottoms it was a bad day or rough day compared to if he came in in regular clothes he was ready for the day. In secondary education, I do a lot of observing of my students. 

In the three articles I read and the video I watched, I was able to come up with the 7 tips listed above. I had to condense some of my information because it was getting away from me. 

Observing is a powerful tool and the more we use it as teachers the better teachers we become. 


Jablon, Judy. Taking It All In: Observation in the Classroom. Teaching Young Children. Vol 4. No. 2. https://www.isbe.net/Documents_KIDSWebsiteResources/Taking%20it%20all%20in.pdf


Linsin, Michael. 2012. Why You Should Observe Your Students More. https://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2012/12/15/why-you-should-observe-your-students-more/


Observing students: informal strategies for effective teaching. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/observing-students/


EDET 636

week 6 reflection

Each of my classmates had something to share that I had not thought about or presented the information is a way that made me think. 

Everyone had awesome infographics but I really liked Melissa. I asked her if I could print it off. 

Tony shared two things that I had not even considered with interviews. One was to start the interview with informational questions. This gives the interviewer a chance to warm up to be interviewed. It is like an ice breaker. WOW! Since I will be interviewing people that I haven’t taught and some that I don’t really have a relationship with this will be helpful. The other one was feedback. I had never thought about giving feedback after conducting an interview. Feedback is powerful and I know I need to do more of it. 

One sentence from Carrie’s really stuck out to me, “Students will be more willing to share their struggles with teachers they trust!”This is true in all aspects of teaching and life. We share more with the people we trust. It was nice to see it in writing in someone’s post. 

Kurtis brought up timing. And timing is everything. We have to have good timing when conducting these interviews. We don’t want to pick the wrong time of the day, we don’t want the interview going too long or too short, and we don’t want to ask our interviewee to do the interview during a time that they have someone going on that they enjoy. 

EDET 636

What are the most important things to remember in conducting interviews?


I have been interviewed for several jobs in my lifetime, but not in the past decade. I have been interviewed by students over the years for various projects and articles. I have done interviews to help find teachers for our building. Currently, I am part of the interview committee for our building, as we look to hire a new principal for the next school year. 

As far as student interviews go, I have interviewed students who want to attend our alternative school. This interview process can be overwhelming. You are trying to gain an understanding from the student on why they want to attend your school. I have been in Barrow for 12 years, I am an active member of the community and I have a great rapport with all my students past and present. 

Interviews need to be done in an ordeal fashion. The interviews I plan to have for this research project will be done during our advisor time or by appointment. I have all my questions written out and I have a room that is nice and quiet, and also has no distractions. My interviewee will have my full attention. I will keep to my list questions and not detour. I want to be as consistent as possible. I will ask my interviewee if they have any questions for me about my research and I will thank them for their time. 

I would say the most important thing to remember is that these are students and for some this may be their first interview. 


Five Tips for Conducting Effective Qualitative Interviews. 2018. https://globalhealth.duke.edu/media/news/five-tips-conducting-effective-qualitative-interviews

Flynn, Pat. 2018. Top 10 Tips for Conducting an Exceptional Interview-Update. https://www.smartpassiveincome.com/how-to-conduct-an-exceptional-interview/

How to Conduct an Interview | Effective Interview Questions



How to Conduct an Interview