Challenges of Conducting Qualitative Inquiry in the Iranian ELT Higher Education Context: Ph.D. Students’ and Faculty Members’ Voices
This study aims at investigating the challenges of conducting qualitative research (QLR) from Iranian ELT (English Language Teaching) Ph.D. students’ and ELT faculty members’ viewpoints in the Iranian higher education context. The participants of the study consisted of 100 Ph.D. students majoring in ELT and 50 ELT faculty members. The study followed a mixed-methods approach with the exploratory design. The instruments utilized for collecting the data were a semi-structured interview and a researcher-made questionnaire. To analyze the qualitative data, a grounded theory approach was employed (Charmaz, 2006), and to analyze quantitative data, both descriptive and inferential statistics were utilized. The results of the study indicated that from the ELT Ph.D. students' perspectives, the Iranian educational system, professors, and lack of time, respectively, are factors affecting the possible weaknesses in undertaking QLR. While from the ELT faculty members' points of view, lack of time is the only reason for weaknesses in undertaking QLR. The results also demonstrated that from the viewpoint of ELT Ph.D. students, data interpretation, data analysis, data collection, data coding, and determining the validity of research, respectively, are the most challenging parts of conducting QLR. Moreover, from the perspective of ELT faculty members, data analysis, data collection, data interpretation, and data coding, respectively, are the most challenging parts of undertaking QLR. The implications of the present study for the universities in the context under investigation are discussed. At the end of the paper, some suggestions for further research are presented.