Welcome to Mixed Methods Research Design in Engineering Education


The most important assignment at the start of a PhD project is setting up the research design. As a point of departure a research paradigm or a worldview must be chosen. In a post positivist perspective the research question must be stated and broken down into sub-questions. Also, a tentative model must be constructed, identifying the key variables of the research. The research design specifies how these variables are to be operationalized (measured and/or manipulated).

The participants of this course learn to identify the key variables of their research, how to operationalize them and how to formulate effective research questions. Based on the mixed methods research design attributes of quantitative and qualitative measurements will be discussed, aiming to motivate a balanced choice of research methods for your own project. The course will use examples from engineering education research as a cross-disciplinary field of research

The deliverable of this course is a presentation on the research design or a pilot study that can be part of the PhD student’s research project.

The workshop focuses on the following themes:

  • Research paradigm and identification of different types of research (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research)
  • Formulation of research objectives, research questions and hypothesis
  • Identifying key variables of your research
  • Exploration of design based research


John W. Creswell: Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (4th Edition). This book will be the basic book for the course, and we would encourage you to buy it. You can also find it on google books.

Organizer: Professor dr. Erik de Graaff, e-mail: degraaff@plan.aau.dk
Lecturers: Professor dr. Erik de Graaff, AAU, Planning and Design & Professor dr. Anette Kolmos, AAU, Planning and Design

ECTS: 1.5

Time: October 5-6 and 26, 2016

Place: Aalborg Universitet, Nybrogade 6, room Nbg6 1.133, 9000 Aalborg

Number of seats: 15

Deadline:   September 5, 2016

Important information concerning PhD courses: We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 5,000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately three months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year. We look forward to your registrations.