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Theory of relatability as a possible alternative to the issue of generalising of research findings: The case of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) at Universiti Utara Malaysia


Dzakiria, Hisham (2012) Theory of relatability as a possible alternative to the issue of generalising of research findings: The case of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) at Universiti Utara Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Distance Education, 14 (1). pp. 41-58. ISSN 1511-6433

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Abstract

Generalisation is widely-acknowledged as a ‘quality standard’ in quantitative research but it is more controversial in qualitative research. The goal of qualitative studies is not to generalise but rather to provide a rich and meaningful contextualised understanding of human experience through the intensive study of a particular phenomenon.Despite many positive aspects of case studies in qualitative research, qualitative case studies continued to be criticised for its lack of objectivity and generalisability.It is common for a qualitative research to be criticised and regarded with suspicion and hostility particularly on the value of its dependence on small samples which is believed to render it incapable of generalising conclusions.This article suggests that although qualitative studies are not intended to be generalisable in the way that most quantitative studies do, qualitative research and its output can have other worthy features which make the research and its findings appreciated. This can be achieved by extending the power to generalise to readers or other researchers through the concept of relatability in responding to the issue of generalisability in qualitative research.In doing so, this article discussed and response to Michael Bassey’s argument that case study research and educational social research generally ought to aimed at producing generalisation and prediction.An alternative to Bassey is to focus on the power play that readers can have in generating generalisation particularly in qualitative research.The concept of “relatability” has its own merits, one that is justifiable and has its own potential to be developed.This article is based on a qualitative case study on the experiences and perspectives of a small group of distance learners as they progress through their courses at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: relatability, quantitative research, generalisation
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: College of Arts and Sciences
Depositing User: Prof. Madya Dr. Hisham Dzakiria
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2015 00:43
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2015 00:43
URI: http://repo.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/15159

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