Action Research 1 - TESL

Introduction to Educational Research
Dr Azleena Mohamad


An overview of the scientific method and
educational research
The classification of types of research by
The classification of types of research by
Examples of types of research

Ways of Knowing

Five ways we can know something

Personal experience
Experts and authorities


The scientific method

Ways of Knowing

Personal experience

Relying on one’s knowledge of prior

How one is affected by an event depends on
who one is
One frequently needs to know something that
cannot by learned through experience

Ways of Knowing


Doing things as they have always been done

Traditions are often based on an idealized past
Traditions can be distant from current realities and the
complexities associated with them

Experts or authorities

Relying on the expertise or authority of others

Experts can be wrong
Experts can disagree among themselves, as in a “second

Ways of Knowing  Inductive reasoning   Reasoning from the specific to the general Limitations   In order to be certain of a conclusion one must observe all examples All examples can be observed only in very limited situations where there are few members of the group .

Ways of Knowing  Deductive reasoning   Reasoning from the general to the specific Limitations   You must begin with true premises in order to arrive at true conclusions Deductive reasoning only organizes what is already known .

predict.The Scientific Method    The goal of the scientific method is to explain. and/or control phenomena This involves the acquisition of knowledge and the development and testing of theory The use of the scientific method is more efficient and reliable than any other source of knowledge .

1972.The Scientific Method  Five steps in the scientific method Recognition and definition of the problem  Formulation of hypotheses  Collection of data  Analysis of data  Stating conclusions (Kerlinger. Leedy & Ormrod. 2001)  .

The Scientific Method  Limitations of the scientific method     Inability to answer value-based questions involving “should” Inability to capture the full richness and complexities of the participants Limitations of our measurement instruments Ethical and legal responsibilities .

culture and society).What is Research?  Creative work undertaken systematically to increase the stock of knowledge (of humanity. and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications (OECD) .

What is research?     activity classified as research is characterised by originality investigation is a primary aim results are sufficiently general for humanity's stock of knowledge (theoretical and/or practical) to be recognisably increased includes empirical and non-empirical work .

Educational Research Pair work Why read educational research? Why do educational research? Prepare to share 2 or more reasons .

2014) Add to our knowledge (Creswell.Why read educational research?      Notions of evidence-based practice Stay abreast of current and emerging in the field of education (Bull. 2014) Improves practice (Creswell. 2014) . 2014) Informs policy debates (Creswell.

2013) Vital contribution to practice and policy in education and to wider society (BERA. 1972) .Why do educational research?     Add to the stock of knowledge in the discipline (BERA. 1972) Research for the future (Boykin. 2013) Need for continued research (Boykin.

Educational Research   The application of the scientific method to study educational problems The goal is to explain. predict. and/or control educational phenomena .

Educational Research  Steps for conducting educational research (Creswell. 2014)        Identifying a research problem Reviewing the literature Specifying a purpose for research Collecting data Analysing and interpreting the data Reporting and evaluating research Parallels the steps in the scientific method .

Educational Research  Difficulties conducting educational research      Involves human beings and the complexities associated with them Difficulties generalizing from specific studies Problems when imposing sufficient controls to conduct research in educational settings Complications when observing in educational settings Indirect measurement of the variables being studied .

including non-maleficence.Ethics of educational research      informed consent gaining access to and acceptance in the research setting the nature of ethics in social research generally sources of tension in the ethical debate. absolutist and relativist ethics problems and dilemmas confronting the researcher. confidentiality. beneficence and human dignity. anonymity. betrayal and deception . including matters of privacy.

guidelines and codes of practice for research personal codes of practice sponsored research responsibilities to the research community. .Ethics of educational research       ethical problems endemic in particular research methods ethics and evaluative research regulatory ethical frameworks.

Classifying Research  Two helpful ways to view research  Purpose   The degree of direct applicability of research to educational practices and settings Method  The overall strategies followed to collect and analyze data .

The Purposes of Research  Five categories      Basic Applied Evaluation Research and development (R & D) Action .

The Purposes of Research  Basic research   Collection and analysis of data to develop or enhance theory Examples related to learning theory     Piaget Constructivism Mastery learning Gardner’s multiple intelligences .

The Purposes of Research  Applied research   Collection and analysis of data to examine the usefulness of theory in solving practical educational problems Examples    Developing a seventh grade social studies curriculum around a problem-solving approach to learning Examining the effectiveness of a computer-based algebra program developed around a mastery learning approach Accommodating varied learning styles when teaching lessons in modern literature .

The Purposes of Research  The interaction of basic and applied research   Basic research provides the theory that produces the concepts for solving educational problems Applied research provides the data to help support. guide. and revise the development theory .

The Purposes of Research  Evaluation research  The collection and analysis of data to make decisions related to the merit or worth of a specific program   Merit relates to a program accomplishing what it was supposed to accomplish Worth relates to the value attached to a program by those using it .

The Purposes of Research  Evaluation research  Types of evaluation   Formative evaluation is designed to inform and improve a program while it is being developed or implemented Summative evaluation is designed to make decisions regarding the overall quality of the program being evaluated .

and student achievement is increasing as a result of its use The computerized algebra program being used in Williams Middle School is perceived to be an efficient and effective expenditure of district funds . is being used properly.The Purposes of Research  Evaluation research  Examples   The computerized algebra program being used in Williams Middle School has been installed properly.

The Purposes of Research  Research and development   The development of effective products for use in schools Examples   The development of the software to create a computerized algebra program that incorporates an individualized mastery learning approach to teaching basic algebraic concepts The development of a Smart Board to enhance a teacher’s use of technology in the classroom .

The Purposes of Research  Action research   The collection and analysis of data to provide a solution to the practical. valued problems of educators within their own school or organization Examples   How can our college move to a performance based model for undergraduate teacher preparation programs? How can disciplinary policies be enforced consistently in our school? .

Research Approaches  Two general categories of approaches currently being used in educational research   Quantitative (The positivist approach) Qualitative (The interpretative approach) .

 measurability.  predictability.  patterning.  the construction of laws and rules of behaviour.Positivist Approach (Cohen. Morrison 2007)   Strives for :  objectivity. Manion.  controllability. and  the ascription of casuality Observed phenomena is important .

Manion. Morrison 2007)   Strive to understand and interpret the world in terms of its actors Meanings and interpretations are paramount .Interpretative Approach (Cohen.

Flow of the Research Process (Quantitative & Qualitative) .

uniform. understand. or control phenomena of interest     Describe current conditions Investigate relationships Study causes and effects Assumptions of the researcher    We live in a stable.Quantitative Approach  General purpose  Collect and analyze data to explain. and coherent world We can measure. and generalize about our world Generally regarded as a positivistic perspective . predict.

. etc.Quantitative Approach  Characteristics       Numerical data Use of formally stated hypotheses and procedures Use of controls to minimize the effects of factors that could interfere with the outcome of the research Large numbers of participating subjects An objective. questionnaires. detached researcher Use of pencil and paper tests.

Quantitative Approach  Four basic designs     Experimental Quasi-experimental Correlational Survey .

Quantitative Designs  Experimental   Purpose – to establish cause and effect relationships between variables Examples    What is the effect of teaching with (1) a co-operative groups strategy or (2) a traditional lecture approach on students’ achievement? What is the effect of teaching with manipulatives vs. a traditional algorithm approach on students’ test scores? The important characteristics are that the researcher manipulates the independent variable and controls extraneous variables .

but lacks the key ingredient. “random assignment” Easily and more frequently implemented Extensively used in the social sciences  A useful method for measuring social variables Two classic quasi-experimental designs  The Nonequivalent Groups Design  The Regression-Discontinuity Design .Quantitative Designs  Quasi-experimental     Similar to the experimental design.

Strengths of Quasi-Experimental Design    Useful in generating results for general trends in social sciences  Difficult pre-selection and randomization of groups Easily integrated with individual case studies  Generated results can reinforce the findings in a case study  Allow statistical analysis to take place Enable to reduce the time and resources required for experimentation  Not required extensive pre-screening and randomization .

statistical tests can be meaningless  Do not explain any pre-existing factors and influences outside of the experiment  The researcher needs to control additional factors that may have affected the results  Some form of pre-testing or random selection may be necessary to explain statistical results thoroughly .Weaknesses of Quasi-Experimental Design  Without proper randomization.

and Achievement in Middle School Science Classrooms  Conducted the Nonequivalent quasi-experimental design  Two eighth grade teachers. across ten classrooms  Total 192 eighth grade students participated  Treatment group: used a Web-based GIS application  Control group: used paper maps Treatment Group Control Group Instructor 1 51 36 Instructor 2 42 63 .Example of Quasi-Experimental Design in Geography  Baker and White (2003)  The Effects of GIS on Students’ Attitudes. Self-efficacy.

Example of Quasi-Experimental Design in Geography    Impossible to randomly assign each student to a GIS or paper mapping conditions Randomly assigned whole classes to two conditions Different instructors affected the results differently  Instructor effect played a substantial role in student attitudes and self-efficacy .

Quantitative Designs  Correlational   Purpose – to ascertain the extent to which two or more variables are statistically related Examples     What is the relationship between ACT scores and freshman grades? Is a teacher’s sense of efficacy related to his/her effectiveness? Do significant relationships exist between the types of activities used in math classrooms and student achievement? This design does NOT imply causation .

students. and how frequently does each occur? To what extent are elementary teachers using math manipulatives? .Quantitative Designs  Survey   Purpose – to describe the current status of a variable of interest to the researcher Examples     How many students drop out of school in Louisiana? What are the attitudes of parents. and teachers concerning an extended school year? What kinds of activities typically occur in sixth-grade art classes.

less overt personal understandings Assumptions of the researcher    All meaning is situated in a particular perspective or context Different people and groups often have different perspectives and contexts. and how participants perceive them   The need to create a sustained. why they are like that. so there are many different meanings in the world Generally regarded as a post-positivistic perspective . in-depth.Qualitative Methods  General purpose  To probe deeply into the research setting to obtain in-depth understandings about the way things are. in context study that allows the researcher to uncover subtle.

Qualitative Methods  Characteristics       There are no hypotheses guiding the researcher. and they are viewed from the participants’ perspectives There are few participants involved in the study Data analysis is interpretative in nature The researcher interacts extensively with the participants . rather a general issue known as the foreshadowed problem suggests the general issues of concern Problems and methods tend to evolve over the course of the study as understanding of the research context and participants deepens Phenomena are examined as they exist in a natural context.

Qualitative Methods  Three basic designs    Narrative Ethnography Case study .

Qualitative Designs  Narrative   Purpose – focus on studying a single person and gathering data through the collection of stories that are used to construct a narrative about the individual’s experience and the meanings he/she attributes to them Examples   What are the experiences of a veteran teacher who has been moved into an administrative position in her school? What does “inclusion” mean to a special needs child who is placed in a regular education classroom? .

Qualitative Designs  Ethnography   Purpose – to obtain an understanding of the shared beliefs and practices of a particular group or culture Examples   What is the nature of the problems teachers encounter when they begin using a constructivist approach to instruction after having taught using a very traditional approach for ten years? Why does a sense of failure permeate everything about this particular high school? .

and with what result. 2nd edition. Robert (1994) "Ch 1: Designing Case Studies. CA: Sage Publications .Qualitative Designs  Case Study The essence of a case study. how they were implemented." Case Study Research: Design & Methods. Thousand Oaks. Yin. the central tendency among all types of case study is that it tries to illuminate a decision or set of decisions: why they were taken.

 (Case studies focus on understanding the dynamics present within a single setting (Eisenhardt. 2nd edition. (1989) "Building Theories From Case Study Research. 1989)).Qualitative Designs  Definition of a Case Study  Investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context.. especially when  The boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident. Robert (1994) "Ch 1: Designing Case Studies." Case Study Research: Design & Methods. CA: Sage Publications Eisenhardt. Kathleen M. Thousand Oaks. 14(4) 532-550." Academy Of Management Review. . Yin.

1989). CA: Sage Publications Eisenhardt. 14(4) 532-550.. (1989) "Building Theories From Case Study Research. Kathleen M. ." Case Study Research: Design & Methods. 1994) Case studies can be used to:  Provide description  Test theory  Generate theory (Eisenhardt." Academy Of Management Review. 2nd edition. Yin. Robert (1994) "Ch 1: Designing Case Studies.Usefulness of Case Studies Case studies can be:  Exploratory  Explanatory  Descriptive (Yin. Thousand Oaks.

2014) .Combined Research Designs  Mixed Method Research   Data collection – quantitative data and qualitative data The combination of both forms of data provides a better understanding of a research problem than either quantitative or qualitative data by itself (Creswell.

analysing and mixing both quantitative and qualitative data in a single study or in a multiphase series of studies In this process – need to decide on the emphasis given to each form of data (priority). and whether theory will be used to guide the study (e. how data will be mixed (integrating/connecting).g advocacy/ social science theory) .Combined Research Designs (Creswell. which to collect first (concurrent/ sequential). 2014)    Mixed method designs Procedures for collecting.

Combined Research Designs  Action Research Designs  Often utilise both quantitative and qualitative data  But focus more on procedures useful in addressing practical problems in schools and the classrooms  Systematic procedures used by teachers to gather quantitative and qualitative data to address improvements in their educational settings. practical problems. transform and emancipate individuals in educational settings . e.g a classroom-discipline issue for a teacher or the objective is to empower. their teaching and the learning of their students  Some seek to address and solve local.

Summary No 1 2 3 Quantitative Research Design Experimental/ Quasiexperimental Research Explaining whether an intervention influences an outcome for one group as opposed to another group Correlational Research Associating or relating variables in a predictable pattern for one group of individuals Survey Research Describing trends for a population of people Qualitative Research Design Ethnographic Research Exploring the shared culture of a group of people Narrative Research Exploring individual stories to describe the lives of people Combined Research Designs Mixed Method Research Combining quantitative and qualitative data to best understand and explain a research problem Action Research Using quantitative and qualitative data for individuals to study education problems that they face in their settings .

Quantitative and Qualitative Methods  Complementary nature of quantitative and qualitative approaches  Different purposes of research     Explanatory Exploratory Consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches for specific purposes Quantitative versus Qualitative Research .

Quantitative and Qualitative Methods  The ultimate goal when choosing a design is to produce a credible answer to the research question   The research question drives the choice of a research design The characteristics of specific designs suggest they will produce more credible answers to specific types of research questions than other designs   Specific purposes Specific procedures and analyses for each design .