As we have indicated earlier, Helen was not in the business of explaining. She had no evidence why some students with lower entry qualifications sometimes did better than others who had higher qualifications though, as she knew the students, she could certainly hazard guesses. All she knew for certain was that many of them did. Description limited the outcomes of the study but no false claims were made, the limitations were fully acknowledged and were accepted by the examiners.
There was never any possibility of generalizing her findings, nor did she ever contemplate generalization because she did not anticipate that her findings were likely to have broader applicability beyond the focus of her study.
Much educational research does seek to generalize and to contribute to the development of educational theory, but it's unlikely that research of the size we are talking about here will achieve such aims. That is certainly not to say that small-scale studies are worthless. Far from it. They may well be relatable to other situations and in other contexts and so, as Bassey (1981: 85) points out, are 'valid forms of educational research'. Helen's research was carried out for a specific purpose and achieved its aims to the extent that it raised the issue of the ever-increasing entry qualifications for the OT degree in her university.