Michigan Public School Finance

Building Name

Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

Phone: 734.487.1849

[email protected]

Research Design

Mertens’ mixed methods work focuses on mixed methods as viewed through a social justice lens, through the use of the transformative paradigm, which allows the researcher and the community to work together for social transformation (Mertens, 2005).While mixed methods work focuses on the use of pragmatic theories to answer research questions, the transformative paradigm views the work through a social justice lens, using theories centered around the identity of the individuals impacted by the work (e.g., critical race theory, feminist theory, human rights/equity theory) (Mertens, 2005).

In the seminal work, Mertens (2005, 2007) and then in later editorial work (Mertens, 2007; Mertens, 2011; Mertens, 2012; Mertens, 2015) describes the use of the transformative paradigm which aids in the intersection of mixed methods and social justice work. The design of this research seeks to describe and explain the persistence of structural racism[1] (Powell, 2012) associated with Michigan public school funding policy, practice, and educational disparities. In seeking to adapt and use a transformative paradigm, “the role of the researcher… is reframed as one who recognizes inequalities and injustices in society and strives to challenge the status quo, who is a bit of a provocateur with overtones of humility, and who possesses a shared sense of responsibility” (Mertns, 2007, p. 212). The transformative paradigm allows the researcher to understand the realities in communities that are complex culturally through both quantitative and qualitative data. 

Structural racism examines the dynamic processes that produce and reproduce racial disparities over time (Powell, 2012). 

This multiphase integrated mixed methods design (see Figure 1) represents components informed by the following: transformative paradigms (Mertens, 2005, 2007), critical race theory (DeCuir & Dixson, 2004; Harris, 1993; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Ladson-Billings, 2009), school funding farness (Baker, Farrie, & Sciarra, 2018, Baker, Weber, Srikanth, Atzbi, & Kim, 2018), critical race mixed methods (DeCuir-Gunby, 2020) and explanatory sequential mixed methods (Creamer, 2018; Guetterman, Fetters & Creswell, 2015) to frame and design this research design in order to explain systemic racism associated with public school funding policy, practice, and educational disparities in Michigan. This transformative paradigm design illustrates a unique tool to investigate the interplay among the political, economic, and ideological forces (Caldwell, 2016; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995), influencing Michigan public school finance. The design will investigate the inherent educational inequities along racial, ethnic, and class lines that are endemic within the Michigan public education system, which is hypothesized has been sustained through major social, political, and economic shifts (Ladson-Billings, 2006), while maintaining the status quo of "inequality in school funding as a function of institutional and structural racism" (Ladson-Billings, 2009, p. 31). [tg1] 

The analyses for this explanatory sequential design will use joint displays, which defined to “integrate the data by bringing the data together through a visual means to draw out new insights beyond the information gained from the separate quantitative and qualitative results” (Guetterman, Fetter, Creswell, 2015, p. 555). The design includes Critical Race Mixed Methods (CRMM) as a way in which to center racial equity as an embedded core of the design framework[tg2] . Moreover, this will allow “race to be central to all interpretations made from the data” (DeCuir-Gunby, 2020, p.8). 

This explanatory sequential (Creamer, 2018; Guetterman, Fetters & Creswell, 2015) critical race mixed methods (DeCuir-Gunby, 2020) represent a multiphase transformative paradigm, which integrated mixed methods design (see Figure 1) that centers race in our hypothesis, centers race in the data sources and variables, and centers race with the interpretation?

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