Lesley's thoughts: Research design, dissemination and getting published
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12 January 2013
So, here's a brainstormed suggestion. It links to study skills, communication skills, academic writing ...
Context: This arises from observations about similar needs for a wide range of (newish) researchers, as follows:
- Postgraduate students on programmes such as the Open University’s MA in Online and Distance Education (MAODE)
- Reviewing proposals from teachers at various levels (primary, secondary, tertiary, higher, further, special needs, and so on) to international conferences
- Reviewing submissions to several peer-reviewed journals in the areas of learning technology and technology-enhanced language learning
Challenge New(ish) researchers often have little experience of research methodologies. This lack of experience can lead to disappointment in terms of assignment marks or acceptance of presentations or papers for publication because certain protocols have been omitted in the research design. Related to this is the need to heed the requirements stated in assignment rubrics, conference calls and journals’ information for authors… something here about academic writing?
As a result, innovative and interesting research may not reach a wider audience and some researchers may be discouraged in their quest to disseminate their work.
For academics, the challenge in the current economic climate, failure to publish and/or disseminate research findings may lead to redundancy. I would, therefore, like to offer a short, general research methodology course that would be appropriate for both postgraduate students and CPD purposes working in the fields of education and learning technologies.
Aim: The aim is to give participants the tools to design and disseminate their research effectively.
While it is recognised that there are intercultural differences between research methodologies, this online, international course would concentrate on the Anglo-American tradition of research, though participants would have the opportunity to share their own traditions, discussing the benefits and disadvantages of different approaches.
Designing and communicating research in education and learning technologies
Designing your research
- Identifying a ‘gap’: the importance of the literature review
- Developing a research question
- Designing your method
- Identifying the target
- Quantitative or qualitative? Both? Or neither?
- Designing your instrument(s)
- Ethical considerations
- Data collection
- Data analysis
- Drawing conclusions
- Identifying gaps in the research and areas to take forward
Disseminating your research
- Identifying your audience
- Who is your audience? Your tutor? An international conference? An academic, peer-reviewed journal?
- Checking requirements
- What are the requirements of the assignment? The call for proposals and, if accepted, the presentation? The journal?
- Communicating appropriately
- Following instructions
- Degrees of formality
- Academic writing
- Acting on feedback
Participants will have the opportunity to share and critique each other’s research proposals and/or conference abstracts and/or potential journal submissions, depending on their backgrounds and needs.
Potentially, this could be developed as a formal or informal course, within a highly structured VLE or a wider MOOC.
- Free online resources around research methodologies (e.g. Palgrave Study Skills - http://www.palgrave.com/skills4study/studentlife/postgraduate/choosing.asp)
- Example ‘guidance to authors’ from sample peer-reviewed journals in the field (e.g. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, Computer Assisted Language Learning Journal, ALT-J etc.)
- Other participants’ research proposals, papers and abstracts
- Feedback from other participants regarding research proposals, papers and abstracts.