Virtual School Meanderings

May 5, 2016

News from the NEPC: Reading Qualitative Educational Policy Research

From yesterday’s inbox…

Look for key indicators to determine a research report’s quality and usefulness.
Is this email not displaying correctly?
View in your browser

Reading Qualitative Educational Policy Research

Key Takeaway: Look for key indicators to determine a research report’s quality and usefulness.
Facebook Twitter Email


William J. Mathis: (802) 383-0058,

BOULDER, CO (May 4, 2016) – Qualitative research, which is primarily based on a variety of observational and interview techniques, seeks to add a deeper understanding of the program, policy or intervention being studied. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods have strengths and weaknesses, and each answers different yet important questions.

In a new brief released today, Reading Qualitative Educational Policy Research, William Mathis concisely identifies key elements in evaluating a qualitative study. Paired with last week’s brief by Holly Yettick,Five Simple Steps to Reading Policy Research, this brief is designed to provide straightforward guidance for policymakers and other readers about how to determine a research report’s quality and usefulness.

Readers should ask the following questions, Mathis concludes:

  • Was the study conducted with rigor? That is, is it defined by truth value (credibility), applicability (transferability), consistency (dependability), and neutrality (confirmability)?
  • Are the data sources appropriate for its conclusions?
  • Was the study placed within the larger body of research?
  • Does the study show signs of quality such as independent peer-review, source integrity, and absence of obvious bias?
  • Are the methods clearly explained?

Dr. Mathis is Managing Director of the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. This brief is one in a series of concise publications, Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, that take up a number of important policy issues and identify policies supported by research. Each focuses on a different issue, and its recommendations to policymakers are based on the latest scholarship.

Find William Mathis’s brief on the NEPC website at:

This policy brief was made possible in part by the support of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice (

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at:

Copyright © 2016 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: