Vice president Bill Hayward and associate Anne Lee Groves led a sold-out pre-conference workshop at this year’s Association for Institutional Research (AIR) annual gathering in New Orleans. This was the first time Slover Linett has offered a workshop for the higher education community, and we were excited to introduce many IR professionals to the world of qualitative research — a set of methods used comparatively rarely by colleges and universities.
Hayward and Lee Groves helped workshop participants understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative (i.e., survey) research and how the two ‘toolkits’ can work together to paint a more complete, detailed picture. They covered the process of qualitative research from end-to-end, including the design, recruitment, moderating (or interviewing), analysis, and reporting phases of a study. Lee Groves led participants through a role-playing ‘practicum’ of focus group moderating techniques that was both fun and enlightening. Hayward offered tips and techniques for conducting rigorous, cost-effective qualitative studies with students, prospects, or alumni.
AIR conference welcomed a record-setting 1,933 participants to New Orleans this year, the largest annual Forum in its history. Our pre-conference workshop was attended by some 40 higher education professionals representing a range of institutions, from community colleges to major public and private universities.
Hayward, who directs Slover Linett’s higher ed research and assessment practice, was pleased to see more conference session devoted to understanding constituents across the student lifecycle. “This year, many of the session topics resonated with our client work,” he says. “Ethnographic research to understand the student experience. Predicting retention and graduation. Occupational projections to guide the development of new degree programs. We came away with new ideas that will help us stay innovative, which is what a professional association should be all about.”
If you’re planning a qualitative research project at your college or university and have questions, please feel free to contact us. You don’t have to wait until the next AIR Forum!
Category: Higher education