Five research principles to overcome the dualism quantitative-qualitative

Roberto Trinchero


Th e article intends to suggest some refl ections about the criteria that should
guide the design of empirical research and the evaluation of research plans and reports.
Th e main idea is to demonstrate that educational research is intrinsically multi-method
and mixed-method. Qualitative and quantitative moments are present in all the research
and the two approaches are closely interrelated. To overcome a “paradigmatic”
view that impose the rigid separation between quantitative and qualitative approaches,
fi ve research principles are proposed. Th ese principles are related to: a) planning of the
research; b) declaration of the theoretical “lenses” by which the researcher see (and interprets)
the world; c) designing and documenting of the research plan; d) analysis of the
data gathered; e) defi nition of the logical extension of the research results. Th e adoption
of the illustrated principles is a possible way to promote a new “culture of empirical research”
in education, based on openness to diff erent theoretical contributions (also from
diff erent disciplines), epistemological approaches and operative strategies. A research that
aspires to have a decisive impact on current educational practices must be a research able
to defi ne not only “what works”, but also “how works”, “why works” and “where works”,
and only the synergy between the qualitative and quantitative approaches can aid the
research to pursue successful these objectives.

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