M4-Week 1-Class

Educational Research Design Module (Week 1)

The following is a description of the Tuesday morning class that took place on 4th April 2017 from 10:00 to 13:00.


THIS WEEK:  Role of Research and Role of the Researcher

NOTES:  from today’s class…

Introducing the Module


8 weeks

Research Proposal for Assessment

The Handbook…

Role of Research

What is Research?


– Body of material

– Hypothesis/Thesis

– Noun or Verb

– Literature

– Methodology

– Discovery

– Ethical


…the systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.

Cohen & Mannion (2007)

What does Research Do?

– Asks questions

– Examines Policy/Practice

– Provides Solutions

– Creates Questions

-Tests Hypotheses

What Makes Good Research

– Relevant

– Unbiased

– Clear Objectives

– Ethical

– Theoretical Background

– Verifiable

– Organised

– Concise

– Can be built on

Who Does Research

– Everybody

– In education, undergraduates and postgraduates

– Professional Researchers

What is Educational Research?

…the collection and analysis of information on the world of education so as to understand it and explain it better.

Opine, 2007 p.3

Role of Your Research

What’s my goal?

Ans. To bring about change in my area of teaching.

What can I get from the process?

How can other’s potentially benefit from my research?

Role of Researcher during the Research Process

– Research Proposal

– Introduction

– Literature Review

– Research Design and Methodology

– Data/Findings

– Conclusions

– Interpreter

– Interviewer

– Listener Proofreader

– Creator

– Administrator

– Decision Maker

– Writer

– Authority

– Reviewer

– Ethics Guardian

– Reflector

– Observer


Paper (Say on effects/supports provided by the artefact)

Artefact (say website for teachers)


Ontology and Epistemology

Ontology – knowledge that’s out there to be known (all the stars)

Epistemology – how we are going to come to know about it (use a telescope)

Ontology – Definition…..

Epistemology – 

O’Leary, 2010, p.5

Ontology – What’s out there to know?

Epistemology – How can we know about it

Methodology – How can we go about acquiring that knowledge?

Methods – Which precise procedures can we use to acquire it

Sources – Which data can we collect?

Figure 1:  The interrelationship between the building blocks of research

Source:  Figure adapted from Hay, 2002, p.64

Subjective-Objective Dimension

A scheme for analysing assumptions about the nature of social science

The Subjectivist

– Nominalism

– Interptretivism-Anti-Positivisn

– Voluntarism

– Idiographic

The Objectivist


Cohen & Mannion quoting Burrell

Four “Worldviews”


– Determination

– Reductionism

– Empirical observation and measurement

– theory verification


– Understanding

– Multiple participant meanings




– Consequences of actions

– Problem- centred

– Pluralistic

Creswell 2014, p.6

Framework for Research

Postpostivist => Quantitative

Constructivist => Qualitative

Research Methods


Data Collection

…plus 2 others?

Paradigms and Paradigm Wars

Qualitative v Quantitative

Quantitative Purists: We can observe objectively, measure, analyse and determine reliable and valid outcomes

Qualitative Purists:  It is not possible nor desirable to research objectively, multiple realities constructed by individuals

Theoretical Perspectives

As an educational researcher you need to be aware of your perspective…

– What assumptions might you be making?

– What is your “home” discipline telling you and is it different to what you are investigating here?

What might be the connections with learning theories?

Researching with people?

Your Research in Practice


Focus shifts from design/disciplinary tradition to the research question

What is the best (mix) of methods we can use to answer that question?

The Research and Writing Process

Research is not necessarily a linear process

Step 1 => Step 2 => Step 3 => Step 4

Ideas, Drafting

Your Approach will Depend on your Preference

– Linear

– Mindmap

– Coming up with an idea, writing, showing it to others, rewriting

– Weaving