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Education

Research Design
and Methods

WELCOME TO THE COURSE


Introductions
Name
Job
I am doing this course because . .

Talk to three or more people near you

Course Overview
Session 1
Introduction to MTESOL and to Research
Methods

Session 2
Principles of research reliability
Session 3
a) Literature Review b) Ethics

Session 4
Introduction to qualitative and quantitative research
Session 5
Class interaction analysis
Session 6
Ethnographic research

Session 7
Action research
Session 8
Quantitative research

Session 9
Data collection and analysis
Session 10
Overview and assignments

What is RESEARCH?
You have 30 seconds
Write down one word that you associate
with the word research.
e.g. money / travel

Write down all the associated words


from all the students in this group
Can you divide the words into 2/3/4
categories?

What does the evidence tell us about your views


of research

Some definitions may focus on:


- posing questions
- research process
- research outcomes
- solving problems
- research experts or research institutions

Write down your own definition of research

What have we just done?

- Asked a question
- Attempted to answer the question
- Generated information/data from the
answers
- Organized the data into categories
- Analyzed the data to arrive at some
truths or conclusions

THIS IS RESEARCH

Some definitions of research


Look at the following definitions:

You will be asked to vote for the one you think


is the best
How do these definitions differ? Which is the
most helpful?

Some definitions of research


1. A systematic approach to finding answers to
questions (Hatch)
2. A scholarly or scientific investigation or
inquiry (American Heritage Dictionary)
3. Research is a process of inquiry consisting of a
question, data, analysis and interpretation
(Nunan)
4. Research is the pursuit of knowledge (anon).

What percentage of students has


voted for each one of the four
definitions?

Represent this percentage as


- a pie diagram
- as a bar chart.

We undertake research all the time


can you think of some everyday
examples of research that you do?

Good teaching involves ongoing research:

Why?
and

How?

Observations from ones own experience and


those of others
Hypothesising and experimenting
Data collection and analysis
Modification of methods
Reflection and action.

Teacher as researcher
For most good teachers research occurs
almost subconsciously. Knowledge about
teaching and learning is generally implicit
Making the implicit explicit is the basis of
much education research
This involves explaining and organising the
process in a way others can understand and
follow.

How do we identify a research


question?

Identifying a research question


Personal experience: thats odd moment

Observations: realising something over time,


and wondering why
Reading articles about teaching/learning

Conversation with others

What is the purpose of


research?

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

To expand knowledge
To challenge existing knowledge
To confirm existing knowledge
To solve problems
To generate new questions

Research Methods
- we are going to consider
two types of research

Research Task A
Does memorization assist the acquisition
of irregular verb forms?
Note that students have no
previous knowledge of verb forms

Research Data test scores/10


Students
Post teaching

Conclusions?

A
3

B
9

C
7

D
5

E
2

1. Theres evidence of some improvement in all cases if


we assume no prior knowledge.

2. There is considerable variation between students


scores
3. However, we dont necessarily know what causes the
improvement and variation?
4. We need further research what do you recommend?

Teach and test larger groups


Compare two teaching methods
used with two groups, or maybe with
the same group
Other?

You decide to use two different methods to


teach irregular verb forms:
1. By memorisation

2. By stories

Post- test/10
With memorisation

A
3

B
9

C
7

D
5

E
2

Using stories

10

What are your conclusions?

Test results give us interesting data but do not


give any reasons for the results
Why would stories be more effective than
memorisation?

Test results do not tell us anything about the


students views and experiences

Lets look at a different research method which


looks at students experiences.

Research Task B
What did the students think about the
teaching and learning of irregular verb
forms?
What did you as students think about the
methods of teaching irregular verbs
when you were learning them?

Does this personal information help us


to understand the learning process?

We have now looked at two


research methods.
How do these two research tasks
differ from each other?

Research method A uses numbers and is


therefore QUANTITATIVE
Research method B uses responses to personal
experiences and is therefore QUALITATIVE

List the following features under


the headings:
Research Method A
Research Method B

Numerical
Experimental
Natural
Subjective
Controlled
Objective
Outcome focus
Individual
Reasons

Experiential
Correlations
Numerical relationships
Personal
Meaning
Student centered
Process focus
General
Replicable

Quantitative and Qualitative Research


Quantitative - A
Numbers/Measures
Numerical relationships
Controlled
Objective
Outcome oriented
Generalisable
Replicable

Qualitative - B
Meaning
Understanding
Naturalistic
Subjective
Process orientated
Individual
Reasons

Can both these methods be


used in a single research task?

They can be used together. We could ask


students a question about their views:
Do you like learning English?

These views could then be shown as a set of


numbers.
How?

Both methods can be used, but..

Qualitative and quantitative


methods arise out of different
theories of knowledge

Two theories of knowledge


POSITIVIST
To obtain knowledge we use observation and
measurement
The study of human behaviour e.g. how
people learn, is similar to the study of sciences
e.g. chemistry or biology

CONSTRUCTIVISM

Knowledge is dependent upon human


perception, and influenced by factors such as
culture, history and belief including those of
the researcher

Constructivist research
As a researcher, I need to think about how
others see me and react to me, and how my
views affect my interpretations of the world.

What views or attributes might affect my


research?

These might include:

gender
social class
professional beliefs
professional position
family background
ethnicity
religious and cultural beliefs and backgrounds
political loyalties
and even your physical appearance.

COFFEE

Research in action!
1. On a five point scale, vote for your level of
understanding of the course so far (5 excellent, 4
good, 3 satisfactory, 2 limited, 1 minimal)
- What is the class total?
- What is the average or mean?
2. Write down one short sentence about your
thoughts and feelings in the room this morning.

We now have a class average for course


understanding

Does this average tell us anything about individual


students?
We also have some personal statements.

Is the number or are the statements more


significant?

Do you think that people reply


honestly to questions?
Did you?
What do your answers suggest about
research?

Which do you find more useful?


The qualitative approach, or the
quantitative approach

Which method/s would you use for


these hypotheses?
1. Second language learners who identify with
the target culture will master the language
more quickly than those who do not.

2. Good relationships between teachers and


students influence proficiency gains.

3. Students who are taught formal grammar


develop greater proficiency than students who
are taught through immersion programs.

Your Assessments

Assessment one 20%

1. Research context (300/500


words)
- Where do you work?
- What do you teach?
- Teaching problems/issues?
- Research interests
- Reasons for doing the course
(please give this to me by Wednesday!)

2. Research article analysis

Identify a research article about a topic of


interest to you.
Write an analysis of this article submit by
Friday. Approx 1,000 words

Structure of the analysis


1. Briefly explain why you have chosen the article.
2. Note the research question and why it is being
asked.
3. Which research methods are used and why?
4. What are the strengths and limitations of the
methods?
5. What are the conclusions?
6. Do you think the conclusions are significant for
your own workplace?

Assesment two 20%


- Literature review and Research
Question 2000 words
- 21st October

Assessment three 60%


- Research Method Proposal 4000
words
- 18th November

Identifying a research question


It is important to start thinking about this as soon as
possible

The question might arise from your own work experience


Or it might arise from your experience as a language
learner

The research topic should be something that is important


to you
It should be very specific

Course presentation
Using a 5-point scale, respond to these
questions:
1. Can you understand the slides well?
2. Are the explanations clear?
3. Is the speed of the lecture suitable?