I conducted research qualitatively, using observations, interviews, and documentary research. The nature of qualitative research assumes a "world in which reality is socially constructed, complex, and ever changing" (Glesne, 1999). In order to fully capture and understand the nuances within the Finnish educational context, I decided on a qualitative approach to the research.
I chose to interview education officials and investigate lower secondary schools, purposely covering the same age group as in the PISA surveys. I also chose to interview Finnish education ministers, Finnish PISA test administrators, professors of education in Finland, PISA test creators at the OECD, heads of schools, an teachers in order to gather data and to explore the research questions.