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The use of OER for research methods teaching in social science and education

Cloud created by:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
23 May 2011

This is a SCORE funded project which explores ways of enhancing practice in research methods teaching through the use of open educational resources. The project is multidisciplinary and involves perspectives from three different disciplines (Sociology, Education and Criminology) on how OER can be utilised more effectively in research teaching.

The content shared here is intended for the tutors participating in the project, who are invited to view and evaluate the resources from the point of view of whether and how they can embed these in teaching practice. Any comments are welcome however. The aim is  to understand whether the OER content included here  is flexible enough to adapt to the subject areas of education, sociology and criminology. Can the same content be adapted for use at different levels (undergraduate, postgraduate)? Can this content provide opportunities for multi-disciplinary collaboration and idea exchange?


Extra content

Resources from iTunesU (Note: you can download these files to your desktop for easier viewing)

The experiment (video file). A discussion of an experiment based in prison on guard-prisoner relationships. The experiment is compared to the controversial Zimbardo study (1971): The Experiment.m4v

Field experiments (video file): Field Experiments.m4v

Quantitative data analysis: characteristics and threats to validity: Research Designs part 1.mp3

Quantitative data: research designs and statistical analyses (audio file): Research Designs part 2.mp3

The ethical conduct of research (video file): Ethical Conduct of Research.m4v

Ester Ehiyazaryan
20:17 on 23 May 2011 (Edited 10:10 on 24 June 2011)

National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM)

The ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) forms part of ESRC’s strategy to improve the standards of research methods across the UK social science community. Browse the material available by subject here:

There are many examples from criminology under 'Hypothesis testing'.

Ester Ehiyazaryan
20:19 on 23 May 2011 (Edited 15:17 on 28 May 2011)


Online Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA)


Online QDA is a set of learning materials which address common issues of undertaking qualitative data analysis (QDA) and beginning to use Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) packages. It is worth exploring the menu across the top (analysis, tutorials) and the side menu (Methodologies and resources). Useful video material included. University of Huddersfield, content by Graham Gibbs:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:28 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 13:28 on 29 June 2011)

Technologies of control - University of Leicester (Criminology)

The aim of this unit is to provide an overview of recent technology developments in the field of security, with particular emphasis on how the use of the technologies impacts on the lives of individuals. The objectives are:

* Consider the main research techniques that have been used to evaluate the impact of security technologies.
* Identify the main drivers that have led to the growth of technological fixes to modern security risks.
* Examine how the technologies are impacting or could potentially impact on offending behaviour and their effect on society.
* Review research findings related to the effectiveness of the technologies

Instructions: under 'view OER' click on 'Technologies of control':

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:29 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 15:19 on 28 May 2011)

 A classification of qualitative research methods

A classification of different types of qualitative research is presented based on a paper by Tesch: Tesch, R. (1990) Qualitative Research: Analysis Types and Software Tools. Falmer Press.

The Different approaches to qualitative research are described including phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography etc. an interactive task to test understanding is included:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:30 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 15:12 on 28 May 2011)

Action research

A PowerPoint resource explaining the characteristics of action research:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:31 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 15:12 on 28 May 2011)


Qualitative and quantitative research

An audio slideshow including two interactive activities, introducing the differences between qualitative and quantitative research. Ensure to click on the arrow inside the visual slide in order to listen to the audio:

Would be useful at level 4 where terms such as qualitative and quantitative are first introduced. Includes an interactive quiz and an online assessment.

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:31 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 15:14 on 4 July 2011)


Podcast on qualitative research (Anne Burns)

An 18 minute podcast discussion on frequently asked questions on research methods, including objectivity, reliability etc. Could be very good as a basis for online forum discussion - something the students reflect on privately then post comments on in a forum. Would benefit from having a breakdown in chapters, so that the listener can navigate through the parts of the podcast more directly:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:32 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:40 on 28 May 2011)


Some ideas on how to make your questionnaire more effective, Dave Harris at MARJON

Tips for students by an experienced lecturer on how to improve questionnaire design and what common mistakes to avoid. Notice the 'here' links in the text these take you to podcasts or external resources:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:32 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:41 on 28 May 2011)


Introduction to qualitative data analysis, Nottingham University

The aim of this Reusable Learning Object (RLO) is to give you an idea of how qualitative data analysis is done. It's aimed at students studying evidence based practice or research methods, with a basic understanding of what qualitative research is:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:33 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:41 on 28 May 2011)


Working with charts, graphs and tables, available from OpenLearn

An introduction to working with charts and graphs. Using a series of examples from charts used in journalistic writing this OER shows students what to be aware of, what to avoid and how to read charts and graphs more effectively:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:34 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:43 on 28 May 2011)


Statistics, by Carnegie Mellon University shared through the OpenLearningInitiative

Introduces the basic concepts, logic, and issues involved in statistical reasoning. Topics include Exploratory Data Analysis, Producing Data and Study Design, Probability and Statistical Inference. Use the 'peek in' option to explore:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:34 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:43 on 28 May 2011)


Empirical research methods (regression analysis)

A resource by Carnegie Mellon University, Empirical Research Methods course bridges the gap between the mathematical foundations of regression and its practical application.

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:35 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:43 on 28 May 2011)


Grounded theory method: Prof Tony Bryant

A video lecture on grounded theory by prof Tony Bryant:

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:35 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:45 on 28 May 2011)


Ethnography - an introduction

An introduction to the key characteristics of ethnographic research. This is a prezi presentation (similar to powerpoint, but available online):

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:35 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:46 on 28 May 2011)


REQUALLO: Resources to support the learning of methods of qualitative data analysis in the social sceinces

The project is producing six case study exemplars of data and explications of the analytic procedures from recent, real research projects. The exemplars will each illustrate one of a range of approaches including grounded theory (the most popular approach), narrative analysis, action research and phenomenological and ethnographic methods. There will be at least one exemplar from each of the disciplines: education, sociology, psychology and anthropology.

Click on the link 'the six case studies and their resources'

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:36 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:46 on 28 May 2011)


Research Methods Lab

An interactive resource which explains the characteristics of five different research methods (correlation, survey, case study etc). There are also a practice session and a post-test to test your knowledge.

Ester Ehiyazaryan
13:37 on 25 May 2011 (Edited 17:46 on 28 May 2011)

Embedded Content


Ester Ehiyazaryan
3:07pm 7 June 2011

What would be useful in addition to the interactive resources posted above would be to have access to relevant datasets for students to practice data analysis. Current research projects seem to be open to the idea of sharing data, and make this available through ESDS. I am uncertain however whether this counts as 'open' data as you have to register a (teaching) use, and you have to be affiliated with an HE/FE institution to be able to gain access. This needs exploring further, I guess there are levels of openness of this type of raw research data.

Sarah Crossland
7:55am 27 June 2011

The notion of 'sharing' resources cross- curriculum to reduce duplication of effort on the part of teaching staff has often been discussed but never fully achieved, certainly within our organisation. The work that Ester has done as part of the SCORE project has highlighted the availabiltity of good quality educational resources that are already available to support students undertaking their own research.  Certainly from a LIS perspective (library & information skills) when delivering a workshop on 'Preparing for you Dissertation' students can be directed to these resources to supplement the taught session and can be used as supportive tools throughout the dissertation process for example.

The momentum that Ester's work has generated needs to be maintained by ensuring both academic and support staff are aware of and use/promote these resources with their students and peers. Another area which would also benefit from the sharing of OERs is Study Skills and we would be keen to work with Ester to progress this issue.



Ester Ehiyazaryan
6:09pm 27 June 2011


Thanks for your comment. We can set up a similar 'cloud' for study skills resources here on Cloudworks. I have identified some study skills OER already which I plan to use with some of the undergraduate students next year.

If you have any ideas of how we can integrate or signpost to OER through the LRC let me know.



Anesa Hosein
3:14pm 16 September 2011

Thanks for the list. I'm currently putting together materials for a blended learning of research methods. I think I'll be using some of these to provide some interactivity to the students.

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