Ideas, Debates, and More: Meeting of European and Asian Higher Education Researchers Series

Mixed Methods for Cross-country Comparative Higher Education and Science Research: Large-n in Small-n Integrated and Double Sequential Research Design

Speaker: Dr Christian Schneijderberg, Nicolai Götze  University of Kassel, Germany

Chair: Dr Hugo HORTA  The University of Hong Kong

Date: June 22, 2022 (Wednesday)

Time: 16:00-17:15 (HK Time) By zoom

Registration: Click here


Large-n in small-n is an integrated and sequential mixed methods research design, which Schneijderberg and Götze (2021) constructed for cross-country comparative research. The large-n in small-n research design combines the advantages of a large-n, quantitative study (representativeness on the country level) with the advantage of small-n, in-depth understanding of case contexts provided by comparative case studies. We consider the mixed methods design to be applicable also for research beyond the social contexts of higher education and science.

The presentation will provide insights in the ongoing research pragmatic methodology development, which is supported by the “Academic Profession in Knowledge Society (APIKS)” research project. Schematically, the first step consists of the qualitative analysis in form of a thick description and interpretation of quantitative results (e.g., from a survey or data provided by statistical offices) from one country. The results provide the basis for the cross-comparative analysis (mixed methods sequence one). In step two, a purposive sampling based on a methodic and theoretical justification of country case selection (e.g., two, three or more cases for most similar or most different case studies) addresses the integration of large-n and small-n (mixed methods integration part one). This includes establishing a common understanding of country cases based on thick description and multi-variate analysis, the definition of data analysis strategy and, possibly, a systematic re-formulation of research question(s) and/or hypotheses. In step three (mixed methods sequence two), the integration (mixed methods part two) of large-n in small-n is done, ideally, by multi-national teams. The small-n understanding of cross-country similarities and differences should systematically analyze large-n descriptive and multi-variate results in light of theoretical approach and thick description of country cases, provide a translation of small-n understandings of cross-country similarities and differences for international audiences, and critically reflect the particular contribution to cosmopolitan knowledge.

Schneijderberg, C., & Götze, N. (2021). Academics’ Societal Engagement in Cross-country Perspective: Large n in Small n Comparative Case Studies. Higher Education Policy 34(1),