Mixed methods were applied in the project and each country research group collected data according to the following research model:
Case studies were conducted in schools on three levels (preschools, primary and secondary schools) in urban and rural contexts in each of the four Nordic countries. Sampling was purposive in that all the participating schools were judged to be successful in implementing social justice and creating inclusive learning spaces for all students. For school selection indicators such as average grades, test scores and drop out rates were used, as well as evaluations and judgement of school authorities. Focus groups, semi-structured interviews, participant observation and questionnaires were used for data collection in the schools, using a framework created by the research team. Document analysis included conversation and discourse analyses. In order to gain a deep understanding of inclusive practices, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with teachers from each of the schools. All the school principals were interviewed individually. The participating teachers were purposefully selected according to the main criteria that they teach students with immigrant backgrounds. Students’ experiences of success were collected through in-depth interviews with students of immigrant origin in schools in all countries. Participants were purposefully selected by asking school principals and teachers to identify and select students who were considered to be examples of success. The in-depth study included a variety of research methods, such as semi-structured in-depth interviews in a language of the students’ choice, diaries (textual, pictorial or digital), and participant observation (including shadowing), all used in order to gain deep understanding of the different factors involved in the success of each individual. Where relevant, parents of the students and children were selected for semi-structured in-depth interviews in a language of their choice.
National curriculum guides, laws and regulations on education in each of the four countries were analysed, in addition to school policies and curricula developed in each school. Analysis took place concurrently through the research period using qualitative procedures of content analysis, coding and constant comparison.
Finally, an electronic questionnaire was sent to all staff in all participating schools in the project. The survey covered issues of educational policy, support from politicians and educational authorities, the school community, leadership, staff, organization, students/children and parents.