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Investigating educational issues across Europe (ACROSS Base)
Methods
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Method Case study: National case studies/ comparative analysis (INTEQUAL/ DUOQUAL)
Description The schemes of dually oriented qualifications were analysed as national case studies in a comparative perspective. The analysis was guided by a detailed set of research questions worked out jointly by the partnership on the basis of the main objectives of the investigation:

(1) the national framework of economic, social and educational change;

(2) the major features of the scheme;

(3) the educational concepts underlying the scheme;

(4) the organisational implications of the scheme;

(5) the effect of the scheme.

The comparative approach was facilitated by grouping the national schemes according to broadly similar frameworks of qualification and administration in the national education systems concerned. Teams of partners representing these groups carried out comparative studies in order to find out relations, similarities and differences and to point out issues for further investigation.. (Manning, 1996a, pp. 14, 16)

Discussion "This approach has its merits in establishing a joint basis of analytical evidence and conceptual understanding. In various ways, it also draws on the potential of the research partnership. The analytical work for the case studies benefits from the personal involvement of partners in the monitoring and evaluation of pilot projects and reforms, observation of examples of the scheme and direct contact with policy makers and practitioners. Also, the results are enriched by discussion in the group... 

Nevertheless, despite this outcome, a comparative survey is only an initial step and project work based on national case studies only marginally capitalises on the potential of a partnership." (Lasonen et al., 1998, p. 2)

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