Strategies for Quasi-experimental:

Triangulation of methods:
Do several different ways and see if results are the same every time.
E.g. Two instructors in same semester. Each do A in one section and B in the other.
E.g. Pre- and post-test in two different sections this semester, with A in one section and B in the other.

SOURCES OF DATA (University)

Triangulate by using several different types of data:
Different sources (students, teachers, parents); different methods (e.g. observations, grades); and/or different times (before and after)

Existing data
(Easiest to gather)


  • Student grades*
  • Attendance
  • Teaching evaluations
  • Retention rate
  • % of students in school-sponsored organizations
  • Standardized test results
  • Demographics


Archival data

  • Research literature*
  • Local policies, rules, and regulations about education
  • Syllabi and curriculum
  • Accreditation reports

Conventional sources
(Require selection or development of data-collection instruments. Still relatively easy to acquire.)

Behavioral data (best)

  • Teacher journal, or field notes*
  • Number of books read
  • Library use
  • Writing samples
  • Grades on classroom tests*
  • Variety of materials used
  • Teacher observations of student participation, interaction, etc.*
  • Outside observations of classroom$
  • Student journals 
  • Minutes from meetings
  • Staff development (hours, types)
  • Audio or videotapes of classroom$ 


Perceptual data (attitudes, opinions)

  • Surveys
  • Simple interviews


Inventive sources
(Products or performances. May be  difficult to acquire and can be difficult to evaluate)

  • Exhibits$
  • Portfolios$
  • Expositions$
  • Videotapes$


* = excellent source of data
             = may be expensive in time or money to do well
(adapted from Calhoun, 1994)


Materials from a workshop on quasi-experimental design

Good overview of quasi-experimental design

A more detailed explanation

Mettetal, Mack @ FACET, 2014

Defining operationalization of variables