Research methodology – The Diamond 9

When thinking about your research methodology, you can choose to collect data through a single research method, or combine a range of research methods. I have used the Diamond 9 research method in many research projects as it provides a really helpful tool to gain helpful data that unpacks your research question.

How does it work?

The Diamond 9 research tool encourages your research participants to order their preferences to a range of images or statements linked to your research question. The statements or images are given to an individual or group and they are asked to rank them using the Diamond 9 format to define which statement or image is the most and least important to them.

For example, consider a teacher researching the question, ‘Do children favour similar play-based interests in home as they do in school?’. She produced a range of 12 images on postcards and asked the children to rank them in a Diamond 9 pattern. The children placed their favourite activities at the top of the Diamond 9 and those with similar preferences were placed in the middle rows with the least preferred form of play at the bottom. Pictures that were not of interest were discarded as were any that remained after the Diamond 9 was complete.

The teacher talks to the child throughout the activity and encourages them to order their preferences. The teacher recorded the final Diamond 9 in a photograph, noting the comments made during the discussion with the child as they grappled and reasoned with their choices. The researcher can record both the final Diamond 9 but can also transcribe the children’s discussion as they consider where each image is placed, providing additional data for analysis.

Using the Diamond 9 with different respondents can also provide an interesting opportunity for analysis of data. With the example above, the researcher could select differing groups of pupils, perhaps selecting gender, disadvantage or ability; to see if there is any correlation between the choices made by the different groups.

The Diamond 9 activity builds a fascinating bank of data that when analysed, helps the researcher to move forward with their curriculum, pedagogy and practice.

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