Research Methodologies ….. It’s Beginning to Dawn?

What’s the main methodology of the research?

I’ve been reading about the different methodologies, and here’s where I’m at so far.

These ‘Blue Sky’ font thoughts are mine …… all other ideas are taken  from the main course textbook or the companion website

Will it be ….

A survey?
An experiment?
An in-depth ethnography??
Action research?
Case study research?
Testing and assessment?
………. or what?  🙂

I’ve chosen a  ‘case study’ …  because it’s:

•a unique instance designed to illustrate a more general principle …. an (on-line) learning community (community of practice??). There’s plenty of  info. out there about this ‘general principle’
•the study of an instance in action  – pupils have ‘ownership’ and how they use that ‘ownership’ can be studied
•the study of an evolving situation – bloggs are ‘going somewhere’ … diaries/learning logs?
•the portrayal of  ‘what it’s like’ to be in a particular situation – ‘real’ accounts of ‘real’  pupils’ thoughts

 Elements of a Case Study:
•Rich, vivid and holistic description (‘thick description’) and portrayal of events, contexts and situations through the eyes of participants (including the researcher) …. all involved: me,  pupils (both in my own school and other schools e.g. Australian ‘AllStars’),  parents and other adults who comment
•Contexts are temporal, physical, organizational, institutional, interpersonal … describes the blogs well?
•Chronological narrative –  definately ‘fits’ well
•tell the story – also fits well with what I want to do

Strengths Of Case Studies
Can establish cause and effect;
Rooted in real contexts;
Regard context as determinant of behaviour;
The whole is more than the sum of the parts (holism);
Strong on reality;
Recognize and accept complexity,uniqueness and unpredictability;
Lead to action (link to action research);
Can focus on critical incidents;
Written in accessible style and are immediately intelligible;
Practicable (can be done by a single researcher);
Can permit generalizations and application to similar situations;


Problems With Case Studies
Difficult to organize;
Problems of cross-checking;
Risk of bias, selectivity and subjectivity; 

Points to note from elsewhere on the website ….. just to keep me on my toes 🙂

Validity in qualitative research often concerns: honesty, richness, authenticity, depth, scope, subjectivity, strength of feeling, catching uniqueness, idiographic statements.   

Reliability in qualitative research often concerns: accuracy, fairness, dependability, comprehensiveness, respondent validation, ‘checkability’, empathy, uniqueness, explanatory and descriptive potential, confirmability.

Next post concerns: 

Data In Case Studies:
Observations (structured to unstructured);
Field notes;
Interviews (structured to unstructured);

Theory (interpretive paradigms/lenses).  

Stages In Case Studies:
Start with a wide field of focus;
Progressive focusing;
Draft interpretation/report (avoid generalizing too early).        

Lots more thinking to do before before that sun rises 🙂


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