This paper describes methodological lessons in multinational research. Content is primarily drawn from the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project, a 3-year study that examined innovative teaching practices that support the development of students’ 21st century skills in 7 countries. We discuss what it takes to engage effectively in research that is both comparative and international, when ‘comparative’ is defined as methodological congruence across settings. ITL Research was unique in its wide assortment of quantitative and qualitative methods, including surveys, interviews, observations, and the analysis of classroom lessons and student work products, and the diversity of its participating countries, including Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Finland, Senegal, England, and Mexico. This paper describes theoretical and methodological issues associated with the goal of consistent application of the same research methods in different countries and locally-sensitive interpretation of results. The experience of the project illustrates the importance of local pilots of instruments and methods, reciprocal partnerships with local research teams, carefully-chosen communication methods, and rich qualitative data collection to inform interpretation (and guard against mis-interpretation) of quantitative results, among other essential design principles. The discussion will highlight the challenges of identifying comparable ways of viewing educational innovation and developing a shared vocabulary for discussing it among an international community of researchers and educators, and offers recommendations to guide future multinational research designs. This session will also introduce the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International in California, USA, whose work has a great deal in common with CITE and may offer opportunities for collaboration.
<p>Linda Shear is the Director of International Studies in SRI International's Center for Technology and Learning, a group that conducts research based in the learning sciences to help educators make the best use of IT to create new opportunities for teaching and learning. Recently Linda directed research and professional development for ITL Research, a multinational research collaboration to investigate and promote innovative teaching and learning, and continues to bring related professional development programs to countries around the world. She has directed numerous other studies of school/system reform, online learning, knowledge management, and educational technology evaluation, both in the US and internationally, and has supported foundations, nonprofits and corporations in strategic planning and theory of change development. Linda was an undergraduate at Princeton University, and did her graduate training at the University of California, Berkeley.<br /><br /></p>