School of Education faculty members Dani Lane and Katie Baker present at virtual conference

The 12th Annual Qualitative Report Virtual Conference was held virtually January 12-14, 2021.

School of Education Assistant Professors Dani Lane and Katie Baker recently presented virtually at The Qualitative Report’s annual conference.

Their presentation, “Complex Roles in Qualitative Inquiry: Researcher, Professor, and/or Mentor?” was facilitated synchronously to members of an interdisciplinary qualitative research community. The presentation explored the complexities and reflections of the two researchers completing research on and with their senior undergraduate teacher candidates.

The study in which they contextualized the grapplings explored five teacher candidates’ experiences completing the edTPA, a performance-based teaching assessment during the senior student teaching year. The inquiry employed the use of individual interviews, informal conversations, focus groups, and open-ended survey data.

The project transitioned from a case study to a more responsive and dynamic research design as participants asked for voice in the shape, outcomes, and presentation of the research. Part of the participants’ desire for involvement resulted from their trust in the researchers due to overlapping roles embodied by each researcher. Both researchers taught the participants in required program courses, served as co-teachers in the participants’ senior seminar, and acted as supervisors during participants’ internships. Thus, Lane and Baker constantly reflected on the lines between researcher, mentor, and professor admitting that perhaps at times there were no lines.

Throughout the course of the study, the researchers recognized the complexities of the roles they served in relation to  participants and found themselves pausing before responding to participant insights or questions, asking themselves, “Under which role should I respond?” At the conference, Lane and Baker shared about their experiences navigating blurred boundaries between researchers and their professional obligations to mentor and support participants, and aimed to reflect with the greater qualitative research community about how best to unpack these overlapping roles in the dissemination of future work.

This research project was funded through a grant from Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL).