Emergent Analysis: Strategies for Making Sense of an Evolving Longitudinal Study

When researchers are investigating multifaceted phenomena, such as instructional processes and systemic change, the inquiry process is likely to be complex. In such situations, researchers typically need to refine their research questions as their understanding of the phenomena under investigation evolves. Consequently, initial codes that represented preliminary working theories are no longer sufficient and require re-conceptualization.

These issues can be compounded when the number of data sources makes it infeasible to recode the entire data set. In our webinar, we will present the analytical decisions and memoing strategies that our projected enacted as we analyzed 150 interviews from educators within a school turnaround system to produce analytic memos that served as the foundation for future research manuscripts. We will also present processes for how research teams can code complex data sets and use each other’s expertise to make the inquiry more rigorous.

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About the Presenters

Adrian Larbi-Cherif is a Researcher at the National Charter School Resource Center and an Associate at Manhattan Strategy Group. His research has used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to understand how school systems organize to improve the quality of instruction and increase equitable learning opportunities for all students. Additionally, Dr. Larbi-Cherif has helped design and implement several several research projects that have used different forms of research-practice partnerships. He is currently examining how district and school leaders can can use improvement science methods to improve the quality of instruction in contexts with an external intermediary and in contexts without an external intermediary.

Cori Egan just completed two three-year projects as a research associate at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development: one focused on the Tennessee Achievement School District and a mixed methods study of Shelby County School’s turnaround district, the iZone, in Memphis. Prior to joining the George Washington University, she worked as a researcher for the Tennessee Department of Education, a project manager for the Michigan Council of Educator Effectiveness, and as a Teach For America Corps Member teaching high school English in North Carolina. She currently works as a consultant for Frist 8 Memphis, an early childhood advocacy organization in Memphis.

Joshua L. Glazer is an associate professor of education policy at George Washington University. Dr. Glazer’s research examines multiple approaches to improving under-performing schools in high-poverty environments. He recently directed two multi-year studies into school turnaround in Memphis, including the state-run Achievement School District, and the locally operated iZone in which the district devised and directed its own improvement effort. His research into the ASD examined both the political and educational dynamics of designing systems with the technical capacity and community support needed to improve schools operating in complex and demanding environments. In addition to his work in Memphis, Dr. Glazer was also principal investigator for a multi-year study of research-practice partnerships in two mid-Atlantic cities.

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