Acquiring and mastering research skills is essential for doctoral students preparing for a future in academia or research-focused positions. However, they are among the most difficult to teach, and significant practice and enculturation is necessary to attain proficiency. The subjective nature of qualitative analysis often leads students to doubt their own abilities. This paper describes how cognitive apprenticeship was paired with Lincoln and Guba’s Constant Comparative Method for Naturalistic Inquiry, using a hands-on, physical card sort approach to mentor a novice qualitative researcher. Steps followed are discussed in detail, and voices of both the mentor and mentee are shared.


Cognitive Apprenticeship, Doctoral Preparation, Mentorship, Naturalistic Inquiry, Card Sort

Author Bio(s)

Marisa Exter is an Assistant Professor of Learning Design and Technology in the department of Curriculum & Instruction at Purdue University. Her multidisciplinary background includes degrees and professional experience in Computer Science and Instructional Systems Technology. Dr. Exter’s research aims to provide recommendations to improve or enhance university-level design and technology programs, based on experiences of in-practice professionals. Dr. Exter also studies interdisciplinary, and studio-based course- and program-design experiences. She utilizes qualitative and mixed-methods approaches in her work, as well as engaging in non-traditional forms of scholarly writing, such as design cases. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: mexter@purdue.edu.

Iryna Ashby is a doctoral student in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Learning Design and Technology program at Purdue University. Iryna’s educational background in translation studies, psychology, and learning design and technology inform her current research foci in interdisciplinarity and competency-based education. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: iashby@purdue.edu.


We would like to acknowledge the Purdue Research Foundation for funding our work on this project.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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