Despite increasing student diversity in
recent decades amongst Irish school populations, similar to the international
context, the teaching population in Ireland has remained rather homogenous,
with the majority being from the dominant ethnic, dis/ability, and social class
groups. In the context of a national policy commitment to diversify our
teaching force and to widening access to the professions, we need solid data
regarding the diversity profiles of those entering the teaching profession.
The Diversity Profiling Initial
Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland research project, funded by the Irish
Research Council, is a mixed-methods, cross-sectional longitudinal study. It seeks to
gather and analyse background and attitudinal data from applicants and entrants
to initial teacher education (ITE) programmes in Ireland, via online
questionnaire, to explore and compare their diversity profiles, experiences and
compare the diversity profiles of applicants to entrants, we need to track all
applicants in terms of the subsequent outcome of their application. For ethical
reasons, this needs to be done in an anonymous fashion, which presents a significant
methodological challenge. Further, a national study of this kind requires the
formal collaboration of the various ITE providers and application management systems.
In this paper, we examine the various methodological challenges encountered and
the sorts of solutions we have implemented.