Kathryn Roulston came to UGA from Queensland, Australia, as a one-year post-doctoral fellow in 2000 to study and teach qualitative research methods-she did not expect that the experience would lead her to become a faculty member here for the next eight years.
Roulston began her career in education as an elementary school teacher in Australia.
“I became a teacher because I think education is central to envisioning new ways of doing things and solving problems,” she said. “I chose education because I wanted to make a difference. I believe that teachers can help students and impact their lives. Growing up, I was influenced by my teachers and found myself wanting to help others in the same way.”
But she soon discovered an interest in research and moved into higher education, where she could both teach and pursue research.
I was looking for something different and challenging,” she said. “But, most importantly, I wanted to pursue my research interests, which would have been quite difficult as a K-12 educator.”
Roulston’s career change eventually led to her becoming a post-doctoral fellow at UGA.
“I came to the U.S. because I was interested in learning about qualitative research,” she said. “During my time as a fellow here, I applied for a full-time position and was hired. I love it here because I get to teach and do qualitative research. Specifically, I’m interested in looking at research interviews as a method of research.”
Currently, Roulston is using interviews for a research project with colleagues Judith Preissle, a professor of lifelong education, administration and policy, and Melissa Freeman, an a
ssistant professor of lifelong education, administration and policy. They are examining how doctoral students formulate research questions and design studies for their dissertations. This longitudinal study uses interviews to examine students as they work through their programs of study and develop their research ideas.
Roulston also is working on a book manuscript on teaching and learning to conduct qualitative research interviews. She is using interviews for this project to gather her data.
“I interviewed a number of qualitative researchers who use interviews, and I am currently working with my research assistant, Myungweon Choi, to complete the analysis of the data,” she said.
While Roulston enjoys researching interviews as a method of data generation, she is also interested in ethnomethodology (the study of the rules and rituals underlying ordinary social activities and interactions) and conversation analysis as approaches to research. She has been involved in a number of qualitative evaluation studies, one of which led to contributing to a co-authored book entitled, No Deposit, No Return: Enriching Literacy Teaching and Learning Through Critical Inquiry Pedagogy. She also has authored or co-authored more than 20 scholarly journal articles and nine book chapters.