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Module 1:
Introduction To Educational Research
FACILITATOR:
DR. SOON SENG THAH
TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN UC
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
FOR POST-GRADUATE STUDIES
13 & 20 SEPTEMBER 2014
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Objectives
To provide an understanding of research processes in
the social sciences (education);
To enable participants to know, understand and
apply elements of research methodologies in a
practical-based framework;
To inculcate knowledge and skills needed to conduct
a proper research based on established principles
and norms; and
To enable participants to know the techniques of
writing a research proposal and report.
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Coverage
The whole course comprises 6 modules:
Introduction to research;
Formulating the research problem;
Reviewing the literature;
Research methodology;
Quantitative and qualitative data analysis; and
Writing the research report.
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Reference Books
Ary, D., Jacobs, L.C., & Razavieh, A. (2002).
Introduction to research in education. 6
th
Ed.
Belmont: Wadsworth.
Christensen, L.B. (2007). Experimental methodology.
10
th
Ed. Boston: Pearson
Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2011).
Research methodology in education. 7
th
Ed. New
York: Routledge.
Creswell, J.W. (2012). Educational research:
Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and
qualitative research. 4th Ed. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research Design: Quantitative,
Qualitative and Mixed Method Approaches. 3
rd
Ed.
Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
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Reference Books
Creswell, J.W. & Plano Clark, V.L. (2011). Designing
and conducting mixed methods research. 2
nd
Ed.
Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Gay, L.R. & Airasian, P. (2000). Educational research:
Competencies for analysis and applications. 6
th
Ed.
Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
Johnson, B. & Christensen, L. (2000). Educational
research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Kerlinger, F.N. & Lee, H.B. (2000). Foundations of
behavioral research. 4
th
. Ed. Forth Worth: Harcourt
College Publishers.
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Reference Books
Mitchell, M.L. & Jolley, J.M. (2010). Research
design explained. 7
th
Ed. Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth.
Tuckman, B.W. (1999). Conducting educational
research. 5
th
Ed. Forth Worth: Harcourt Brace
College Publishers.
Wiersma, W. & Jurs, S.G. (2009). Research
methods in education: An introduction. 9
th
Ed.
Boston: Pearson.
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The Nature of Educational Research
Gay & Airasian (2000)
Educational research is the systematic application
of a family of methods that are employed to
provide trustworthy information about educational
problems.
Creswell (2012)
Research is a process of steps used to collect and
analyse information to increase our understanding
of a topic or issue. At a general level, research
consists of three steps: i. pose a question ii.
collect data to answer the question and iii. present
an answer to the question.
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The Nature of Educational Research
Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh (2002)
Educational research is the application of scientific
approach to the study of educational problems.
Wiersma & Jurs (2009)
The general characteristics of research are:
1. Research is empirical
2. Research should be systematic
3. Research should be valid
4. Research should be reliable
5. Research can take on a variety of forms
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The Nature of Educational Research
Educational research 2 types
Basic Research
Applied Research
Basic research
Aimed at obtaining empirical data used to
formulate and expand theory
Concerned with the relationship between two or
more variables
Comprising :
Problem identification
Literature review
Constructing hypothesis
Creating research design
Collecting and analysing data
Drawing conclusions
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The Nature of Educational Research
Applied research
Aims to solve an immediate practical problem
Research undertaken in conditions of practice
Synonymous with action research
Conducted by teachers in the classroom for
professional improvement in teaching and learning
processes
Gay & Airasian (2000)
Action research is a process in which individual or several
teachers collect evidence and make decisions about their
own knowledge, performance, beliefs, and effects in
order to understand and improve them.
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The Nature of Educational Research
Action research
Kemmis (1983)
Action research is a form of self-reflective enquiry
undertaken by participants in social (including
educational) situations in order to improve the rationality
and justice of (a) their own social or educational
practices (b) their understanding of these practices (c)
the situations in which the practices are carried out. It is
most empowering when undertaken by individuals, and
sometimes in cooperation with outsiders.
Elliot (1991)
The study of social situation with a view to improving the
quality of action within it.
In action research, theories are not validated
independently and then applied to practice. They are
validated through practice.
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The Nature of Educational Research
The action research model (Kemmis &
McTaggart, 1988)
Reflect
Plan
Action
Observe
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Reflection and analysis of current practice
General idea of research topic and context Scanning the literature, discussing
with colleagues
Tentative action plan, consider
different research strategies
Take action, monitor effects,
evaluation of strategy, final
amendment
Narrowing down the topic,
planning the action
Refined topic, formulate research
questions, refined action plan
Evaluation of entire process
Conclusions, explanations.
Recommendations for further research
Kemmis & McTaggart, 1988
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The Nature of Educational Research
Action Research
Practical Participatory
Studying local practices
Involving individual or
team-based inquiry
Focusing on teacher
development and student
learning
Implementing a plan of
action
Leading to the teacher-as-
researcher
Studying social issues that
constrain individual lives
Emphasizing equal
collaboration
Focusing on life-
enhancing changes
Resulting in the
emancipated researcher
Source: John W. Creswell, 2005, Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative
research, 2
nd
ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Types of Action Research
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The Scientific Approach
Kerlinger & Lee (2000):
a systematic, controlled, empirical, amoral,
public, and critical investigation of natural
phenomena. It is guided by theory and
hypotheses about the presumed relations among
such phenomena.
Basic assumptions:
There is a world out there which can be studied;
There is some degree of regularity in the world;
and
There is discoverability.
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The Scientific Method
American Association for the Advancement of
Science (1990)
Making empirical observations;
Generating and testing hypotheses;
Building and testing theories;
Attempting to predict and influence the world to
make it a better place to live.
Methods in scientific approach:
Deductive method
General to specific
Quantitative research
Inductive method
Specific to general
Qualitative research
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The Scientific Method
Deductive Method
Researcher states a hypothesis based on existing
theory
Researcher collects data to be used to test
hypothesis empirically
Researcher makes decision to accept or reject
hypothesis based on the data
Inductive Method
Researcher makes observations
Researcher studies observations and searches for
patterns
Researcher makes conclusions/generalisations
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The Concept of Theory
An explanation that discusses how a
phenomenon operates and why it operates
in such a way.
A theory allows you to:
Explain a phenomenon
Make sense out of it
Make predictions
Examples:
Systems theory
Motivation theory
Constructivism
Operant conditioning
Social learning theory, etc
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The Concept of Theory
Systems Theory
Input Process Output
Students
Teachers
Financial Resources
Infrastructure
Classroom Instruction
Pedagogy
School management
Curriculum
Student outcomes
Indicators of effectiveness
Motivation
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The Concept of Theory
Maslows Hierarchy of Needs (Motivation theory)
Self-
Actualisation
Self-
Esteem/Recognition
Sense of Belonging/Love
Safety Needs/Protection
Physiological Needs
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The Concept of Theory
A theory is:
Tentative
Can be challenged
Can change over time
Johnson & Christensen (2000) say
You should never place too much weight on a
single research study. Replication by other
researchers should make you more confident
about a research finding because the resulting
evidence is much stronger. p.14
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Objectives of Scientific Method
Johnson & Christensen (2000)
delineated 5 objectives:
Exploration
Description
Explanation
Prediction
Influence
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Types of Research
3 types of research
Quantitative research
Qualitative research
Mixed method research
Questions to ponder:
Which type of research is the easiest?
Which type of research is best?
Which type of research has the most certainty of
success?
Which type of research can be carried out in
depth?
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Quantitative research
Historically, quantitative research dominates
educational research or research per se.
Recently, qualitative research is becoming
more important.
Many writers advocate both quantitative and
qualitative approaches mixed method.
Quantitative research uses objective
measurement and statistical analysis of
numeric data to understand and explain
phenomena.
Positivism emphasis on objective
techniques of data collection.
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Quantitative research
Experimental
True experimental
Quasi experimental
Time Series
Non-experimental
Survey
Correlational
Ex-post facto
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Qualitative Research
Rooted in phenomenology
Websters Dictionary: Study of the development of
human consciousness and self-awareness as a
preface to or a part of philosophy
Sees social reality as unique
Sees individual and his/her world as inter-
connected one has no existence without the
other
Focuses on meanings that events have for the people
involved what people do, think, feel and experience
Results in a comprehensive narrative report
Qualitative researchers do not have advance
knowledge on how events will unfold
No hypothesis
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Qualitative Research
Examples
Ethnography
Case studies
Document analysis
Naturalistic observation
Focused interviews
Phenomenological studies
Grounded theories
Historical studies
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Comparison: Quantitative & Qualitative Research
Quantitative Qualitative
Purpose To study relationships,
cause and effect
To understand social
phenomena
Design Developed prior to study Evolves during study
Approach Deductive; tests theory Inductive; generates
theory
Tools Uses standardised
instruments
Uses face-to-face
interaction
Samples Uses large samples Uses small samples
Analysis Statistical analysis of
numeric data
Narrative description
and interpretation
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The Concept of Variables in Quantitative Research
Definition:
A condition or characteristic that can take on
different values or categories
Example:
Gender: Male Female
Types:
Quantitative variable
Family income: RM________
Categorical variable
Ethnicity: 1. Malay 2. Chinese 3. Indian 4. Others
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The Concept of Variables
Independent variable (antecedent variable)
A variable which causes a change in another variable
Dependent variable (outcome variable)
A variable which determines the influence of one or
more independent variables
A variable which is dependent on the independent
variables
Example:
A researcher collects data on an achievement test with
student background information.
Dependent - achievement
Independent gender, SES
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The Concept of Variables
Cause and effect relationship
A change in the independent variable
causes a change in the dependent variable
X Y (X=independent; Y=dependent)
Intervening variable
Occurs between two other variables in a
causal chain
X I Y (I=intervening)
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Are the data primarily in the
form of Numbers or Words?
START
Numbers Words
Quantitative
Does researcher have
control over an
independent variable?
Yes
No
Experimental
Is random
assignment used?
Qualitative
Yes
No
Quasi-Experimental
Non-Experimental
Is the study
investigating how
variables change
together?
No
Yes
Is the direction
and strength of
the relationship
of two or more
variables among
the same subjects
or paired subjects
studied?
Yes
No
Ex-post
Facto
Correlation
True
Experimental
Survey
Figure 5: Types of quantitative educational
research (Ary et al., 2002 p.26)
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Mixed Method Research
Why use mixed method research?
Richness of evidence
Variety of tools can be used to collect data
Use of multiple paradigms (beliefs and
values) rather than typical association of
certain paradigms in quantitative and
qualitative research
It is practical where researcher is free to
use all methods possible to address the
research problem
Triangulation of data/evidence
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Mixed Method Research
Principles
Mixed method design can be fixed and/or
emergent
Identify approach to design
Typology-based approach selection and
adaptation of particular design to ones purpose
Dynamic approaches focuses on design
process - inter-relates multiple components of
the research design
Match design to research problem, objectives and
questions
Be explicit about using mixed method
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Mixed Method Research
Prototypes of Mixed Designs (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011)
A) The convergent parallel design
Quantitative data
collection and
analysis
Qualitative data
collection and
analysis
Compare
or relate
Inter-
pretation
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Mixed Method Research
Prototypes of Mixed Designs (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011)
B) The explanatory sequential design
Quantitative data
collection and
analysis
Qualitative data
collection and
analysis
Follow up
with
Inter-
pretation
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Mixed Method Research
Prototypes of Mixed Designs (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011)
C) The exploratory sequential design
Qualitative data
collection and
analysis
Quantitative data
collection and
analysis
Builds to Inter-
pretation
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Mixed Method Research
Prototypes of Mixed Designs (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011)
D) The embedded design
Quantitative (or qualitative) Design
Quantitative (or qualitative) Data Collection
and Analysis
Qualitative (or Quantitative) Data Collection
and Analysis (before, during, or after)
Inter-
pretation
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Mixed Method Research
Prototypes of Mixed Designs (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011)
E) The multi-phase design
Study 1:
Qualitative
Informs
Overall
Program
Objective
Study 2:
Quantitative
Informs
Study 3:
Mixed
Methods
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Stages in Educational Research
Step 1: Selecting a
problem
Step 2: Review
literature
Step 3: Design
research
Step 4: Collect data
Step 5: Analyse data
Step 6: Interpret
findings
Step 7: Report results
Step 8: Viva
THEORY
Steps in
Educational
Research
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Threats to Quantitative Research
Ethics
Dishonesty
Validity and Reliability Issues
Statistical Procedures
Sampling
Illogical Arguments & Unsystematic
Presentation of Facts
Inconsistency
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Research Proposal
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Review of related literature
Chapter 3: Methodology
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Selecting an appropriate research title
Create a title which is interesting, concise, precise
and meaningful
The relationship between pupils socio-economic status
and their reading ability in the learning of English as a
Second Language
The effect of TAR UCs Virtual Learning Environment
system on students communication with lecturers
Your research title must be grammatically correct
Examples of grammatically incorrect titles:
Study of Big Book method in ESP practise
Relations of student achievement and teacher motivation in
teaching of TESL
The grammatically correct titles should be:
A study of the Big Book approach in ESP practices
A study of the relationship between students achievement
and teachers motivation in teaching English as a second
language
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Selecting an appropriate research title
Try not to include the name of your institution or
the research locale in your title
Comparing the Big Book and Small Book Approaches in
Improving Students English Performance in TAR UC
A better alternative would be:
Comparing the Big Book and Small Book Approaches in
Improving Students English Performance
However, if you are conducting a case study pertaining to
a school, then you may include the school name.
Do not provide an explanation in a title
Using newspapers in teaching ESP so that students can
learn English better
In research, you are not sure about the findings at the
proposal stage
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Selecting an appropriate research title
Use a title which can capture the key elements of
your research
If your sample concerns Final Year students in which
youre teaching them ICT and you want to study
motivational factors among them, then you may want to
include these key elements in your title.
Your title can be Motivational factors in learning ICT
among final year B. Sc. (Hons) students.
Do not include everything you want to study in
your title
An example of a long-winded title:
Studying the roles of lecturers in relation to their
qualifications, experiences and cultural beliefs including their
oral competency in enhancing final year students ICT
abilities and family background indicators in ascertaining ICT
competency
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Selecting an appropriate research title
Do not create your research title in the form
of a question
This is because in your research proposal, there
is already a section called research questions.
E.g. Do TAR UC A level students perform
better than XYZ UC students in the science
subjects?
Refer to Appendix A of Module 1 for
numerous possibilities when choosing
research titles.
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What next?
Formulating research problem