Chapter 4.1 Expanding Multi-Dimensional analysis with qualitative research techniques
This research describes a case study from engineering education that explores the potential for integrating Multi-Dimensional (MD) analysis into mixed methods research so that MD analyses can address more specific educational problems. The study investigates a specific problem in civil engineering: the mismatch between students’ writing skills and the demands of writing in the workplace. An MD analysis compares a small number of registers of student and practitioner writing, applying the dimensions of variation in English from Biber (1988). Data from interviews with students, faculty, and practitioners are used to interpret the MD findings more fully, assess the importance of the findings, and refine the teaching applications. The two methods together result in a stronger study than either would alone.