Exploring Iranian TEFL Ph.D. Candidates and Faculty Members' Attitude towards Various Research Approaches: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of English, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran,

2 English Language and Literature Department, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

3 Department of English Language, Faculty of Humanities, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan

4 Department of English, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran



The current study explored the attitudes of Iranian Ph.D. candidates of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and their instructors taking and teaching a course on Research Methodology (i.e., Quantitative, Qualitative, and MMR) towards various research approaches. In addition, the researchers intended to explore which research approach (qualitative, quantitative, or MMR) the participants preferred for conducting their dissertations. To this end, 14 Ph.D. candidates of TEFL and ten faculty members from different universities across the country were selected based on convenience and purposive sampling. They sat a semi-structured interview designed by the researchers. The results of Strauss and Corbin's (1996) grounded theory approach to qualitative content analysis, which comprises three levels of coding (i.e., open coding, axial coding, and selective coding), indicated that both groups of participants had positive attitudes towards MMR. The findings also revealed that the participants preferred MMR (mixed-methods research) and qualitative approaches over quantitative research for dissertations. Moreover, the participants noted that depending on the purpose of the study and the nature of the issue being investigated, qualitative research and MMR could be as effective as, if not more effective than, quantitative research. The findings also revealed that MMR was the most preferred research approach for both groups of participants. The findings might be useful for novice foreign language researchers, in general, and EFL researchers in particular, in that they need to take an independent course in the Ph.D. program to deal with and master MMR effectively.


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