Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, Ph.D. • Associate Professor of Educational Psychology
College of Education

Mirka Koro-Ljungberg’s current research seeks to advance the rigor and applicability of qualitative research methodology for the broader purpose of improving the quality of educational research. Koro-Ljungberg is especially interested in facilitating epistemological and methodological awareness among qualitative researchers and highlighting the importance of rigorous research applications. Furthermore, as a part of her research, she develops systematic research approaches that could be utilized by qualitative researchers and uses her own empirical research to illustrate some possible ways in which systematic and theoretically grounded qualitative research could be accomplished and implemented in various research contexts. In particular, Koro-Ljungberg’s research, scholarship, and conceptual contributions bring together three aspects of qualitative methodology: 1) the promotion of epistemology and the role of knowledge production in qualitative research, 2) validity in qualitative research, and 3) the development of participant-driven methodologies.

In Koro-Ljungberg’s current NSF-funded interdisciplinary research project, she qualitatively explores an open-ended problem solving process among engineering students and her methodological interests focus on increasing participant involvement and participants’ ownership of the constructed data. More specifically, insights gained from the participant-driven think-aloud protocols will guide consequential data collection and analysis processes. Additionally, by increasing participant involvement throughout the research process, Koro-Ljungberg can identify the contextual, personal, and social attributes that participants find meaningful and explore specific problem solving strategies that students themselves use and perceive as helpful. This can promote educational change, culturally relevant pedagogical practices, and it can guide the implementation of diverse strategies for developing problem-solving skills among students in STEM fields.

In addition to her funded research, Koro-Ljungberg has research projects with graduate students and colleagues across the U.S. For example, she studies graduate students’ uses of journaling as a reflective learning tool in the context of qualitative data analysis. She also analyzes participants’ and researchers’ resistance during qualitative research interviews and, in collaboration with Harvard medical school, explores and analyzes participants’ interactions in therapy groups and how these interactions shape knowledge and study findings.