31st May 2018

Methodological Fit Reflection

by Susana Beltran

While I’d like to say that I feel confident in understanding research methodologies in-depth, I am still processing which methods best fit the type of work I’d like to research for my dissertation. Although I haven’t selected a specific phenomenon to research, I like to explore STEM family engagement in Latino Families. Central to the questions of “how to research?” and “what to research?” is my perspective of why this research? Thus, while reading Creswell & Creswell (2018) and the other assigned articles, I kept thinking about the motivation of my study. Why is my study important? Why research STEM Latino Family Engagement?

Creswell & Creswell (2018) writes that researcher’s personal experiences and insights can influence the type of research methods one chooses. While I do not consider myself committed to a qualitative research approach and thus open to exploring other methods, my background, work experience, and my enjoyment for “personal interviews” and “close-up observations” continue to lead me to the qualitative approach. When I reflect on the qualitative research approach and why I keep going back to choosing this method, I think about the social constructivism epistemology that guides my current work as an education practitioner. According Aram & Salipante Jr. (2003), individuals or groups affected by feelings, beliefs, and thoughts, are also situated in historical and cultural contexts. Thus, knowledge is understood from the individual or group and how they make sense of that experience (Aram & Salipante Jr., 2003). Therefore, when I think about the narratives of science for STEM family engagement, these narratives must include Latino families drawing connections from their historicity and everyday life experiences of what STEM and science mean for them. STEM family engagement programs should recognize science as rooted in cultural practices.

Duffy & Chenail, (2008) further emphasized on epistemology as the relationship between meaning and interpretation as phenomenological inquiry. Explaining that both quantitative and qualitative approaches seek to answer the scientific question using empirical data. This is where I found Edmondson & McManus’s (2007) article on methodology fit helpful in understanding how different research questions and level of knowledge behind the research question can lead to nascent, intermediate, or mature theory. Edmondson & McManus (2007) argue that both qualitative and quantitative paradigms are both equally meritorious depending on the theory we are building as researchers. Both qualitative and quantitative have a question to answer, with each method requiring a survey of literature and research design to collect and analyze data (Creswell & Creswell, 2018; Edmonson & McManus, 2007). However, Edmondson & McManus (2007) propose that the “two methods can be combined successfully in cases where the goal is to increase the validity of new measures through triangulation” (p. 1157).

When thinking about the work I’d like to explore in my research, I see myself using Edmondson & McManus (2007) methodological fit as a structure to as an overarching criterion for my research starting with Four Key Elements of a Field Research Project and moving to the Three Archetypes of Methodological Fit in Field Research to understand the epistemological ramifications of how the methodological fit appropriately can help me answer my research question.


  • Aram, J.D. and Salipante, P. F. (2003), Bridging Scholarship in Management: Epistemological Reflections, Vol. 14, 189-205.

  • Creswell, J. & Creswell, J.D. (2018). Research Design, (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

  • Duffy, M. & Chenail, R. (2008). Values in Qualitative and Quantitative Research. Counseling and Values, Vol 53. Pp. 22-53

  • Edmondson, A. and McManus, S. (2007). Methodological Fit in Management Field Research. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 32, No 4. 1155-1179.

Tags: Graduate School, Research, Research Study

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