Methodology - Data analysis
The phone interviews were transcribed by the first author as she conducted them. Next, she read through the responses question-by-question several times to identify themes. Simultaneously, the second author was given the transcripts and also analyzed them for themes question-by-question. For example, on the question about how students felt about the 15-hour requirement, results were tallied for those who felt it was a reasonable expectation and those who felt it was unreasonable. After determining the two perspectives, we looked to see why they felt that way and how many were in each category (i.e. favorable and unfavorable expectation). If a response fell into a neutral category, that was also considered. The first two authors compared results. We discovered inter-rater reliability was greater than 90%.
In sum, a mixed-methods design (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004) was used to study the variables gleaned from the quantitative (survey) and qualitative (interview) measures to construct a deeper understanding of adults who participate in online GED adult education. The quantitative survey of a sample of adult learners and instructors was matched to interviews of a smaller sample of learners to triangulate with and elaborate upon survey responses.
The first author received the completed hard-copy surveys and entered each one into the online survey engine with the already completed online surveys. The survey engine tallied results and provided descriptive statistics for each question.