ETAP 777: Methods of Qualitative Research in Education (Fall, 2004)

Guidelines for Group Presentation















For this assignment, you will work as part of a group (of 3-5 classmates) to facilitate our collective exploration of one of the five book-length qualitative studies assigned in this course. Your group will examine that study and prepare an in-class presentation on it. Your group's presentation should encourage careful examination of the study and provoke in-depth discussion of its methodological and ethical implications. You will have flexibility in deciding how to make your presentation, but you should focus on the critical issues regarding qualitative research raised by your assigned study. In effect, your group will take responsibility for conducting our class on your assigned study.


The basic requirements for this assignment are relatively few and open-ended. Your group is expected to

  1. Read and understand your assigned study and familiarize yourselves with the research methodology described in it, its findings, and its implications.

  2. Lead class discussion and conduct appropriate class activities in order to facilitate our collective understanding of your assigned study.

You should expect to take 60-75 minutes for your presentation. How you use that time is up to you and your group members.


The primary goal of this assignment is to convey to your classmates what your group believes are the key issues and questions associated with your assigned study and to engage your classmates actively in thinking carefully about those issues and questions. As a starting point, you and your group should discuss your study in depth and evaluate it according to the basic questions for evaluating a study listed in the guidelines for the Critical Review Assignment:

  • Does the author adequately establish the significance of the research question(s)?
  • Are the methods of data collection and analysis appropriate to the research question(s)?
  • Are the study's conclusions reasonable, given the methods of data collection and analysis?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses you see in the study? Are there any significant methodological weaknesses in the study?
  • Do you see any ethical concerns with this study?
  • What are the implications of this study for our understanding of the possibilities and limitations of qualitative research?

How you address these questions and engage your classmates in thinking about them is up to you. Here are some general guidelines to help you plan your presentation:

  • Your presentation should provide some kind of overview of your assigned study to highlight what your group sees as the main issues to be addressed.

  • Encourage the active participation of your classmates. A variety of activities (some explanation/lecture, panel discussion, small-group exercises, writing/reading exercises, etc.) can make your presentation more engaging for your classmates.

  • Feel free to be creative in deciding how to make your presentation and how to engage your classmates in thinking carefully about your study.

  • You may wish to incorporate audio-visual elements into your presentation. (Just let me know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for the appropriate equipment.)


The group presentations will be made on the following dates:

Octber 5: Smith & Wilhelm, Reading Don't Fix No Chevys
October 12: Dunbar, Alternative Schooling
October 26: Peshkin, Places of Memory
November 9: Finders, Just Girls
November 23: Taylor, Family Literacy

A sign-up sheet for the presentations will be distributed in class on September 14th.

Once you sign up for this assignment, it will be up to you and your group members to arrange to complete your preparations for your presentations. When and how often you meet is your decision. (I will try to provide some class time for groups to meet.) If you have any problems arranging to complete your work or meet outside of class, let me know as soon as possible.

Let me know at least one week in advance of your presentation if you wish to use any audio-visual equipment or if you need materials copied for your presentation.


This assignment is worth twenty-five points. Points will be assigned to the group as a whole. (In other words, each group member will earn the same point score for this assignment.)

Twenty-five points will be earned for a presentation that

  • reflects careful, critical thought about your study
  • effectively addresses the main questions listed above
  • is engaging
  • provokes careful inquiry into important issues related to qualitative research on the part of your classmates.