Method and analysis
Pages 11

The data are drawn from three case studies of students participating in co-op

education in a mid-sized city in Canada. The first case involved Kathy, a grade 11

student who was placed in a medical laboratory. The data for this case was a set of

separate interviews with Kathy, her school co-op teacher, her father and the work-

place supervisor. The other two case studies focused on the co-op students’

learning throughout the semester. One case involved Denise, a student in her final

year of high school, who was placed in a dental clinic, and the other involved Ruth,

a grade 12 student, who was placed at a veterinary clinic. Both of these studies

involved more than 60 hours of ethnographic observations of the co-op student in

the workplace, supplemented by informal interviews to clarify specific observations

that had just been made. In addition, we formally interviewed the co-op students

and their respective workplace supervisors (i.e. the dentist and the dental assistant,

the vet and the veterinary technician). Interviews focused on the co-op students’

learning, with particular attention to their understanding of the science present in

the workplace and its relationship to the science that they learned in school. All

data were audio taped and transcribed. Data were subjected to techniques of

pattern and thematic analyses typical of qualitative research (McMillan and

Schumacher 2001).