It is frequently argued that international schools are sites of national and cultural diversity among their student bodies and teaching faculties. Comparative research design models that use quantitative methods in a nomothetic or positivist paradigm may seek to assign a numerical value to indicate a measure of such diversity. How might this be done? Is such a procedure valid and reliable?
The quantification of national diversity in international schools is a topic that I have discussed before (Cambridge & Cowlishaw, 1996; Cambridge & Thompson, 2000) and it is a debate that I intend to revisit here. As a practising Biology educator, I was influenced by the ontological and epistemological approaches inscribed in the natural sciences, and I was confident in the belief that realist, nomothetic and positivist methodologies could be applied with validity, reliability and trustworthiness to social research and the human sciences. A jejune belief, as it turned out.