Hanna de Jong-Markus

General Conclusion and Discussion 8 151 8.4 Methodological Reflections and Future Research84 In concluding this study, I add some methodological reflections together with some directions for future research. The exploratory purpose of my research proved valuable. It provided the space to broaden the scope and not just focus on religious tolerance, but to be more attentive to a finer conception of religious diversity—as it plays out in the reality of the participants. Although tolerance was an important topic within the theoretical exploration (see Chapter 3) and within the interview guide (see Appendix IV), participants hardly elaborated on that concept or on potential tensions related to it. Other themes in the interviews appeared to provide more adequate insights into what the question was about, so these were highlighted in the different sub-studies (see Section 2.4). I paid great attention to the drawing of the sample, which for the individual interviews was guided by themaximum variation strategy (see Section 2.2). It was not aimed to generalise the results of this study. There are remarks to be made about the representativeness of the results as in any event those interviewed in this study belong to that part of the population that wants to think and talk about this topic (cf. ‘t Hart et al., 2005). The individually interviewed teachers found it difficult to give an indication of whether their colleagues would say similar things (see Appendix IV, question II.5a). Nevertheless, the results of the focus groups with alumni were fairly consistent with findings based on the individual interviews with teachers, which can be an indication of wider recognition of the discussed topics by the population of teachers in OPPSs. For the participating teacher educators in the focus groups, we actually found that they have an affinity for the topic (see Section 7.3). Based on the results of the current study it is possible to conduct a larger-scale and more quantitatively oriented study that will provide more insight into the representativeness of the findings. Such a study could include background variables like school characteristics, age, work experience, church denomination and previous experiences with religious diversity. In Section 5.7, for example, it is suggested that the educational attainment of teachers might influence how they perceive their professional role in terms of religious diversity, and in Section 7.6 it is stated that the differences between trainee teachers are substantial and that their family backgrounds have a significant influence. Knowing more about the influence of such background variables is especially relevant for teacher education programmes, as knowing the starting point of prospective teachers can inform the strategies used by teacher educators. 84 Note that for each empirical sub-study separately, some methodological reflections and some directions for future research are included in the various chapters (see Sections 4.8, 5.7, 6.5, and 7.7).