M4-Week 4-Class

Educational Research Design Module (Week 4)

The following is a reflection on the Tuesday morning class that took place on 9th May 2017 from 10:00 to 13:00 using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.


THIS WEEK:  Methodology

NOTES:  from today’s class…

Case Study (Pauline Rooney)

Harnessing Serious Games in Higher Education

Insider Research

Note:  She didn’t use a hypothesis.

What is a Case Study

Focuses on one or more instances of a particular phenomenon
The study of an instance in action
Boundaries may be temporal, geographic…
Appropriate when the desire is to…

Research study and questions

“What are the implications of adopting an interdisciplinary in-house approach to the design of serious games in HE?  What processes are involved in, and what issues may arise, with such an approach?”

Features of my methodology

* In-depth
* Phenomenological – aiming to identify the “essence” of human experiences concerning a phenomenon as described by participants (Cresswell, 1998)
* Participant observation case study
* Naturalistic (participants carefully observed in their natural setting without interference by researchers)

Data Collection Methods

Personal emails
Game design specification documents and storyboards
Two semi-structured interviews
Team email correspondences
Participant blog

Data Analysis

* Combined all data sources (excluding spec docs & storyboards)into a primary case document. (Triangulating multiple sources).  Used this to generate a detailed chronological narrative.
* Categorical aggregation (“the aggregation of instances…
* Direct interpretation (drawing meaning from individual instances of events)
* Winnowing (Wolcott, 1990)

Let’s talk about validity…
(…in qualitative)

No such thing as one objective reality to be uncovered by researcher (Cohen et al. 2000)
We create truth or meaning

Valid data = authentic, confirmable, credible
(Denizen and Lincoln, 2000?)

How did I strive for validity?
Triangulation which is…
* Constant comparison method: trace correspondence / contradictions across multiple data sources (Glaser & Strauss)
* Challenge patterns/themes by deliberately searching for negative instances of pattern
* Shared the reduce case narrative with another team member to verify accuracy of narrative (Yin 1981)

My role as an insider researcher/participant observer…
* Gain deeper insight into relationships/processes/events
* Knowledge of context
* Interpreter bias?



What you do to collect and analyse the data


(1) Case study

Depth rather than breadth

* May be difficult to generalise
* Perceives as lacking rigour
* Observer effect – presence of researcher may result in participants behaving differently
* Data can be unwieldy and cases become too long

(2) Action Research

* Coined by social psychologist Kurt Lewin c. 1944
* Describes a form of research that could incorporate an experimental approach of social science


* Practical nature – real world problems (so, responding to a problem)
* Change – integral part of the research
* Cyclical/iterative process – feedback loop
* Participation is active not passive (so, the researcher is involved in the process)
*’Takes place on situ (e.g. classroom)
* Research in action rather than about action
* Change – improving education by changing the situation
* Cyclical

Action Research Models
Identify  -> Solution -> Try it out -> Evaluate it -> Change your practice

(3) Activity Theory