Lightbulb Ideas

Semester 2 (Week 5)

Theses are lightbulb ideas and discoveries I had on 28th April 2018.

Lightbulb Ideas

Lightbulb Idea 1:
Key concepts, or pervasive ideas, like RATIO and FUNCTIONS will be MAJOR CITIES on my Google Maps of Mathematics.

Lightbulb Idea 2:
Patterns will be a TOWN that will have similar FEATURES as the similar CITY called FUNCTIONS. These FEATURES will include TABLES, GRAPHS, FUNCTION DIAGRAMS, EQUATIONS. However, EQUATIONS will probably have to exist as a concept (TOWN) or more likely a pervasive idea (CITY) as well.


Discovery 1
Use LEAFLET open-source JavaScript library for mobile-friendly interactive maps.  This can be found at:

This is used by:

GitHub foursquare Pinterest Facebook Evernote Etsy Flickr 500px European Commission The Washington Post Financial Times NPR USA Today National Park Service

Discovery 2
Web Mapping with Python and Leaflet

Discovery 3
How to build a map of the London Underground.

Building Gorgeous 3D Maps with eegeo.js and Leaflet

Building Gorgeous 3D Maps with eegeo.js and Leaflet

S2-Week 4-Class

Semester 2 (Week 4)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 24th April 2018.  The tutor was Dr Claire McAvinia.

Topic for today’s workshop

– Publishing Journal Papers

Your chosen journal
– Which journal(s) does your research draw on?
– What journal is the leader in your field?
– Where is the journal published?
– Who publishes the journal?
– Are authors you have read on the editorial board?
– Does the journal publish

Computers and Education
– Brendan Tangney is on the editorial board

The Guardian
– How to get published in an educational journal

Structuring a Journal Paper
– Abstract / Summary
– Introduction
– Background / Literature Review
– Research Methods / Methodology
– Findings
– Analysis / Discussion
– Conclusions (including future work)
– References
– Appendices (Depends on Journal)

Brown and Murray

Using Murray’s 10 prompts (2009, p.1)

Do a full draft
Then do a rewrite
Keep stuff for a possible PhD.

Review Process
– Publish as is
– Publish with minor changes
– Major revisions required
– Reject

S2-Week 3-Class

Semester 2 (Week 3)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 20th March 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topics for today’s workshop

– The Introduction
– Abstract
– Conclusion

Previous MSc student publications

Some Measures of Academic Research

Is there a difference between analysis and interpretation of data
Informed / contextualised
Explicit about aims

The Introduction

Pat Thomson highlights the work that the thesis should have

Warrant (setting out your stall)

The introduction has to clearly set the warrant for the thesis- the mandate or rationale for doing the research. Identify the gap in the research.

We need to understand a particular phenomenon, process or practice better…

Justify your research topic/question


Sets out specific focus for the research in the form of a thesis statement, aims and objectives.


This includes methodology and methods.

Outline and Definitions

Outline or road map
Clarification of any key definitions.
Some theses and papers use a glossary.


This is about locating the researcher in the research. This varies according to the discipline, the topic,the epistemology, etc.



Establishing boundaries around the research makes it clear what aspects of a topic and those you haven’t.

It’s about setting expectations that you meet in the thesis.


What the abstract has to do

It is a mini-statement of the thesis or paper.
It presents ALL the key aspects of the larger text
The biggest problem examiners have is the writer not providing the results of the project.

What the abstract is not

The abstract is not a trailer or a
It’s not a foreword

Abstracts – what the MSc handbook says

This will depend on the target journal paper so different rules apply!
You may be given a word limit or you may be instructed to provide a structured abstract with specific bullet points.

Issues with Abstracts

They are very short – not easy to stick to word limit
They are very short – you need to get everything in there

Abstract questions to ask

What’s the research question
How do I locate the significance of the work
What conversation am I in?
What approach have I undertaken to address the research question
What do I offer to existing research? So what…
What’s my argument?
Does my abstract make sense as a stand-alone


Future areas for further exploration
Significant / important finding and highlighting
Make sure there is no new material

Based on your own experience, what is the purpose?
What do you expect to find out from reading it?

Guidelines from Wallace and Wray
(1) a summative claim that reflects the conclusions of your findings and discussion and briefly identifies the key claims and observations from your research literature

Don’t be repetitive
Save a really good quote or fact for the end of the paper…for impact
Instead of just summing up, try going further and predict.
Or you could add personal thoughts on the subject, if you have any personal knowledge. What do you think can or should be done about something.
Consider implications.
Answer “now what?”
Consider qualifications: are there qualifications/limits to your argument.
N.B. A strong finish!


All necessary features
Research question

– tell them what you are going to tell them (research question)

– tell them

– tell them what you have just told them (restate research question)

S2-Week 2-Class

Semester 2 (Week 2)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 6th March 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topics for today’s workshop

– Interpreting Qualitative Data
– Writing and Presenting your Findings

From Analysis to Interpretation

Is there a difference between analysis and interpretation of data?

It is useful to understand that these are separate but interconnected processes.

Recap – Quantitative Data Analysis

Bar Charts, Pie Charts
Mean, Mode, Median

Be very careful about causal versus correlation.

Recap – Qualitative Data Analysis

The analysis process begins with reading all the data at once and then dividing the data into smaller, more meaningful units.

Become familiar with the data and identifying potential themes
– reading, memoing
Examine the data in depth to provide descriptions of the setting, participant and activity (describing)
Think about granularity:
– code pieces of data and group them into themes?
– look for major themes only

Recap – suggested steps


Strategies used to interpret qualitative data

(1) Identify themes
(2) Code your data
(3) Ask key questions
(4) Do an organisational review
(5) Do concept mapping
(6) Analyse antecedents and consequences
(7) Display findings
(8) Be honest – state what’s missing

Academic Paper

5,000 to 7,000 words.

Note: Make sure you have decided on your journal by 1st May 2018.

Recap: Reliability

Reliability relates to the consistency and trustworthiness of research findings.
– applies to all stages of the research design, not just data analysis
– what checks were employed?
Finished studies: is the work replicable/reproducible by others?
‘One has to ensure the research problem, research methods and statistical analyses are in alignment.’ (Brown & Edmunds, p.13).

Strategies for Data Interpretation

Question your study
Connect findings with personal experiences
Seek advice from “critical friends” if possible
But also contextualise findings in the literature
Turn to theory as a means to: link to broader issues, move away from a purely descriptive account, and providing a rationale for your work.
Know when to offer an interpretation from the data

Note: It is rare for qualitative researchers to use all of their data for the task is to identify important themes or meanings, not necessarily inclusi

N.B. Braun & Clarke: paper on thematic analysis.
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3 (2). pp. 77-101. ISSN 1478-0887


Persuasiveness is strengthened when the investigator’s theoretical claims are supported with evidence from informants’ accounts, negative cases are included, and alternative interpretations considered.
(Riessman cited in Silverman)

Evaluating the credibility of research (Silverman 2006, p.276)

(1) Are the methods of research appropriate to the nature of the question being asked?
(2) Is the connection to an existing body of knowledge or theory clear?
(3) Are their clear accounts of the criteria used for the selection of cases for study, and of the data collection and analysis?
(4) Does the sensitivity of the methods match the needs of the research question?

Writing and presenting your findings

Can you present all your findings?

Do you need to present all your findings?
– if so, how will you do that in an accessible way for your reader
– if not, how will you select which findings to present

What is the purpose of the discussion?
To return to your research question:
– To what extent do your findings address the question?
– Do you have an answer for your question?

Some issues with discussions sections:
– Context: not linking back to literature


Note: app for transcription.


S2-Week 1-Class

Semester 2 (Week 1)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 6th February 2018.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topic for today’s workshop

– Qualitative Data Analysis

How can you analyse your data?

Get close to your data
Give it time
Keep writing
Choose a method
Be consistent – so you can defend what you have done

Bypass analysis through summarising
Gloss over differences
Jump to conclusions

Rethinking some common issues


Can be from from quantitative to qualitative method or from one quantitative method to another (or one qualitative method to another).

Addresses validity concerns

Work Sequence

Numbering Questionnaires
Data Entry
Totals under each categories, demographics
Exploring the data
Designing queries

Check out Andy Fields YouTube videos on SPSS
Envivo – qualitative data analysis software

Qualitative Data Analysis

Interpretive – no one single result or truth
Getting data into a manageable shape

Read all the data at once
Divide it up into manageable chunks

Steps towards analysis

Become familiar with the data and identify potential themes
– Reading, memoing

Examine the data in depth to provide descriptions of the setting, participant …

Think about granularity

Strategies used to analyse qualitative data
1. Identify the themes
2. Code your data
3. Ask key questions
4. Do an organisational review
5. Do concept mapping

Some distinctions

Content Analysis
– Quantifies the occurrence of words, themes, topics
– Conceptual (occurrence of the concepts) analysis and relational (possible links, meanings and concepts) analysis

Thematic Analysis
– Braun and Clarke, 2006
– see steps on next slides

Grounded Theory
– Strictly speaking – a complete research method
– But many people draw on the constant comparative methods of GT inalalysing qualitative data
– No a priori themes or categories

Thematic Analysis

Thematic analysis shares many of the principles and procedures of content analysis.

Steps in Thematic Analysis – Braun & Clarke (2006, p.16-23 and their Table 1)

1. Familiarise yourself with the data
– immerse yourself, read it a lot, look for patterns, taken
2. Generate initial codes
– Pieces of the data that are interesting to you, they will be organised themes as the units of your analysis
3. Search for themes
– Focus on a broader level of themes and organise codes into potential themes
4. Review the themes
5. Define and name the themes
– say what is important and why.
6. Produce the report/written output

Curating! (Selecting the relevant themes/stories)

Binaries – opposing sides to a similar theme

Using software to help

Word and Excel are both good.

iAnnotate can be used for making notes and adding sound clips to documents.

Mind mapping software is useful
– MindManager
– FreeMind
– iMindMap
– Coggle

– You could try Dragon available from

– available from


NVivo and MaxQDA both have 30-day free trials

To consider:
– Technical demand on your computer
– Time demands in setting up your project.


Semester 1 (Week 8)

Theses are the important set of notes I took after watching the YouTube video at the link below on 14th November 2017.

Video Topic:  Qualitative Analysis of Interviews


Phase 1 – Reading
(1) Quickly browse through all the transcripts, as a whole
(2) Make notes about your first impressions
(3) Read the transcripts again, one by one

Phase 2 – Coding or Indexing
Label relevant words, phrases, sentences, or sections
Labels will include actions, activities, concepts, differences, opinions, processes
Repeated, surprising, interesting, important parts of the interviews will be coded
Parts of the interview that refer to published reports or journal papers may be coded
Parts of the interview that relates to a concept or theory will be coded
I will be aiming to code for conceptualisation of underlying patterns

Phase 3 – Decide which codes are important and create categories by amalgamating codes
Create new codes by combining two or more codes
Create categories or theme by amalgamating codes
Disregard codes that I now deem to be irrelevant from Phase 2

Phase 4 – Label categories, decide the most relevant categories and decide how they are connected to one another

Phase 5 – Create a hierarchy amongst the categories
Display using a mindmap or concept map.

Phase 6 – Write up your results
Under the heading ‘Results’, describe the categories and how they are connected
Under the heading ‘Discussion’, write out your interpretation and discuss your results
Interpret the results in the light of results from similar previous published studies, theories or concepts from your field, other relevant aspects

Suggested Reading:

Alan Bryman’s book: “Social Research Methods” published by Oxford University Press
Steiner Kvale’s and Svend Brinkmann’s book “Interviews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing” published by SAGE.

S1-Week 7-Class

Semester 1 (Week 7)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 7th November 2017.  The tutors were Dr Claire McAvinia and Dr Ita Kennelly.

Topic for today’s workshop

– Research Methods

Learning Activity

Review your research question, methodology and methods.

Consider – how is it all lining up. Does everything fit?

Review individually (5 mins)

Review in pairs (5 mins each)

Justify your choice of methods/instruments to your partner (critical friend)

We will then feedback to the group?


We talked about

(a) recording versus note taking (recording was recommended)
(b) identifying the participants (or not) in my academic paper
(c) allowing the participants to vet the transcripts
(d) allowing the participants to vet the final paper


Something to think about…

Does the analysis of qualitative data involve some quantitative methods?

Does the design and analysis of quantitative data involve some qualitative judgements?

Questionnaire Design

Perhaps jumble up the negative and positive responses in a Lichter scale

Interviews as a Method

Interviewing: a method of data collection that involves researchers seeking open-ended answers related to a number of questions, topic areas, or themes. (O’Leary, 2010)

Interviews yield rich…..
(May, 1997)

Different epistemological conceptions of the role, different rules of the game and potentially different data…
(Kvale, 1996)

Interviews and Ethical Considerations

It would be considered unethical to…

Trying to get interviews at all costs
Not safeguarding anonymity and confidentiality
Making promises you cannot or do not intend to keep
Not being honest about the purpose of the interview or your intentions in relation to the data being collected

Interview Considerations (Planning)

Single or Multiple
In Person or Distanced

Interview Questioning

Structured – fixed and predetermined questions. No new questions added during…
Semi-structured – some questions fully decided, others might not be fixed. Researcher has scope to ask follow-up questions. Mixed framework for analysis.
Unstructured interviews – small set of self prompts to investigate research question. One question can lead to others.

Types of Questions


How to do a research interview (You Tube)

Commentary by Graham R Gibbs, University of Huddersfield

Interprets (summarise what the interviewee has just said)

Balanced (don’t talk too much)
Ethically sensitive

Bad Interview

No eye contact
Asking two questions at the one time
No prompts, no follow-up questions

Good interview

Have a good introduction
Ask the interviewee if they still wish to participate in the interview
Inform the interviewee that they don’t have to answer a question.
Use follow-up questions on interviewee answers.

Developing Your Questions

Decide on research topic
Generalise puzzlements
Create a list of research questions
Generate list of issues, topic, themes, subjects, etc


S1-Week 6-Class

Semester 1 (Week 6)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 24th October 2017.  The tutors were Dr Ita Kennelly, Dr Muireann O’Keeffe, and Dr Claire McAvinia.

Topics for today’s workshop

– Part 1 – Methodology Analysis (Poster) – Dr Ita Kennelly
– Part 2 – Action Research – Dr Muireann O’Keeffe
– Part 3 – Case Study – Dr Claire McAvinia.

Part 1 – Methodology Analysis (Poster)
Ita Kenneally

See photo of poster.
See pages 27 to 41 of Barry Ryan’s thesis
Think about giving the interviewees the semi-structured questions in advance of the interviews.

Part 2 – Action Research
Muireann O’Keefe

Think about validity and reliability.

Part 3 – Case Study
Claire McAvinia

Used for inquiry into ‘processes and relationships’ (Denscombe, 2007, p.38)

Asks why and how questions to uncover meanings and relationships.

Types of Cases

Stake, 1995
Intrinsic…aim to understand the particularities of the specific case generalise

Yin, 2003, 2014
Exploratory, e.g. Pilot project
Explanatory – suitable for causal studies, implementation of process
Descriptive – describe an intervention or occurrence in real-life context

Could use the word transferable rather than generalisable. A degree of generalisability. Could use word indicative or compelling.

Comparative cases – two or more cases compared

Phenomenology and phenomenography

Difference between case study and phenemonology

Phenomenology is a philosophical stance as well as a methodology.
The focus is on the lived experience not the person, group or event
The data are gathered to examine the lived…

Referencing Handbook APA: University of Lincoln: The Library (PDF)

S1-Week 5-Class

Semester 1 (Week 5)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 17th October 2017.  The tutors was Dr Claire McAvinia.

Topics for today’s workshop

– eLearning Design Methodologies & Methods
– Formative Evaluation/Evaluation Processes

Instructional design strategies for your e-learning project /How “finished”e-learning resources are evaluated in practice.

N.B. There’s no need to re-write my Research Proposal if I am simply changing my domain area from Patterns/Functions to Algebra. Run it past my supervisors by emailing them.

N.B. One part of my case study is documentation data. You can either put this in the literature review or the dataset. For me, I think I will be writing up about the syllabus and the state examinations in my literature review.

Part 1 – recalling some important ID models (materials from Damian Gordon and available in Webcourses)

Part 2 – using an evaluation tool to evaluate RLOs

Part 3 – time to work on your artefacts, then undertake some work

Part 1

Bloom’s Taxonomy
Evaluate –
Synthesise – put together knowledge
Analyse – break down knowledge
Apply – use your understanding
Comprehend – show understanding
Know- Recall information


How is learning theory connected with the above two models.


Audience, Behaviour, Condition. Degree

From “Instructional Technology – A Systematic Approach…..”


Introduce, Content, Apply, Reflect, Extend



1. Gain attention
2. Inform learners of objectives
3. Stimulate recall of prior learning
4. Present the content
5. Provide “learning guidance”
6. Elicit performance

CHARLES M. REIGELUTH – Elaboration Theory

CDT classifies learning along two dimensions:
Content – facts, contents, procedures
Performance –

ACTIVE LEARNING – an umbrella term that refers to several models of instruction
– Think-Pair-Share
– The Pause Procedure
– Fact Rounding
– Network Phasing
– Learning Cell
– Active Writing
– Team Quizzes


– Learning by teaching
– Problem-based learning
– Project
– Inquiry
– Action
– Progressive inquiry
– Service learning

Now for some Evaluation…

“The systematic acquisition and assessment of information to provide feedback about some object.” (Trochim, 2006)

“Research is aimed at truth. Evaluation is aimed at action.” (Patten, 2008).


(1) LOAM (Learning Object Attribute Metric). Tool has been designed as an evaluation tool for elearning materials.

It was used for the NLDR project.

Look at Pat Walsh’s MSc project.


Evaluations are structured around questions
– Shape the evaluation process
– Define whats is understood or assumed about the programme

It’s important to ask good questions, rather than obvious ones
– blah blah blah


blah blah blah

– Checklists/Questiinnaires
– Confidence logs / pre-post testing
– Focus groups / interviews
– Observation techniques
– System log data / tracking
– Group based / individual techniques
– Reflective diaries, blogs, portfolios
– Cost effectiveness

– Do you know which factors are influencing learning or have you yet to do so?
– Do you want to make a comparison – if so what are you comparing with what?
– What kind of data do you want – qualitative or quantitative?
– What are you going to be doing with the data

Check out memoing.

Suggestion: Create a roadmap for my data on one page.

S1-Week 4-Class

Semester 1 (Week 4)

Theses are the notes I took during the Tuesday afternoon workshop that took place from 14:00 to 17:00 on 10th October 2017.  The tutor was Roisin Guilfoyle.

Topic for today’s workshop

– Digital Literacy Workshop

N.B. The following library staff are available by appointment, telephone, email:
– Roisin Guilfoyle
– Diana Mitchell
– Bill Murphy (EndNote Specialist) –

Types of Literature
– Books
– Journal Articles
– Reports
– Official Publications
– Conference Proceedings
– Grey Literature
– Websites
– Theses
– Popular Media

– Published or Unpublished
– Peer Reviewed
– Not Reviewed
– Community Reviewed
– Not always scholarly

N.B. Research Gate (Australia)
Try emailing the journal article writer using your DIT email address and ask the writer to send you a copy. Tell the writer that you are a Masters Student.

N.B. Alcid Card

ALCID: Academic Libraries Co-operating in Ireland

This can be used to access library resources in other third level institutions such as TCD and UCD.

Evaluating Web Resources
– Websites: Who, Why, When, Where, Ease of Use, Presentation, Use of Graphics
– Content: Authority, Writing/Grammar, Audience (Depth & Scope), Timeliness, Relevance, Bias, References

Advantages of Google
– Quick, Easy to Access, Easy to Use, Lots of Material, Covers Lots of Subjects

Number of Databases DIT has access to
– Approximately 84
Note: Access to Science Direct costs DIT a six figure sum.

What is Summon
– Summon is a powerful search engine that provides fast, simple access to scholarly material. It provides an integrated single search box for Library, Journals, Journal Articles, Print and eBooks, Dissertations, Multimedia Content, Newspaper Articles, Citations in Abstracting & Indexing Databases.

Welcome to DIT Library Services
Note: This is where you will find SearchAll/Summon@DIT

The Research Process
– Develop a Research Strategy
– Select Appropriate Resources
– Do a Systematic Search of the Relevant Databases, including Search Engines
– Keep a History
– Keep Records
– Manage References (EndNote)
– Avoid Plagiarism