Thinking Methodology ADES1003 Researching Literacies B
METHOD CHOICE: The Question Holds the Answer Look at your question and ask: What are the words? Can I refine these? Who will know or who can tell me? What is considered high achievement in the Muslim education system in Australia? Who are the key Muslim female scholars that Muslim females admire? How are the ideals portrayed to students by high school school curriculum?
1) What is considered high achievement in the Muslim education system? 2) Who are the key Muslim female figures that Muslim females admire? 3) How are the ideals related in Muslim curriculum? • Where will you go to find out THESE achievement standards? Who can tell you this? LITERATURE REVIEW / INTERVIEW TEACHER 2. Muslim females admiration – more than one? FOCUS GROUP / STRUCTURED SURVEY • Ideals related in schools? Who will know? YOU? REFLECTION FROM SCHOOL / Interview
1) What is considered high achievement in the Muslim education system? 2) Who are the key Muslim female figures that Muslim females admire? 3) What ideals are related in Muslim curriculum and how?
Problems to Avoid • Cause and Effect: looking for effects, tracing back to a time when they started, testing this. OR imagining we can show a direct line from action to result. • Experimentation: creating a situation where all the variables are carefully controlled to highlight ONE particular aspect of reality. • Medicalization: choosing a topic that has an inherent medical condition – effects etc requires medical / psychological education eg depression, ADHD • Hypothesis: testing a theory until proven absolutely wrong
Validity in Research Validity means the integrity of the conclusions reached by your research • Construct Validity Are you really measuring the concept you want to? Does yawning really show tiredness? E.g Indicators are really showing the behaviour, words are really showing the perceptions… • Internal Validity Does x really cause y? Or is it the other way around – or are there other variables? • E.g. Lack of food cause children to lack concentration… • External Validity Can the results be generalised and to whom? • Ecological Validity Do our results capture ‘real life’?
1) Structured Observation of behavioursand attitudes? How do you test and measure? charisma / leadership / enthusiasm / concentration / anger / collaboration / attention-seeking / • Questions or observation schedules need to focus on indicators (actions or responses that SHOW the concept) and variables (differences between possible actions or responses) • Work out ALL the concepts in your research problem? • Define / understand what these are from foundational texts…
2) Structured Interview or small-scale survey for perceptions and attitudes, experiences • Step ONE: Carefully wording the questions to elicit genuine responses • Step TWO: selecting expert respondents and conducting • Step THREE: coding the answers for their concepts and quantifying themes What are the pros and cons of this method?
Qualitative research. • Qualitative research uses the natural setting as the source of data. The researcher attempts to observe, describe and interpret settings as they are. • The researcher acts as the "human instrument" of data collection. • Qualitative researchers predominantly use inductive data analysis. • Qualitative research reports are descriptive, incorporating expressive language.
Main Types of Qualitative Research Ethnography: focuses on the sociology of meaning through close field observation of socio-cultural phenomena. Typically, the ethnographer focuses on a community/culture. Historical: systematic collection and objective evaluation of data related to past occurrences in order to test hypotheses concerning causes, effects, or trends of these events that may help to explain present events and anticipate future events. Action research: to study a system and concurrently to collaborate with members of the system in changing it in what is together regarded as a desirable direction.
Data collection • interviews • portfolios • diaries • field notes • audio tapes • photos • memos • questionnaires • focus groups • anecdotal records • checklists
Question Type and Focus in qualitative research • Contextual – describing the form or nature of what exists. • Explanatory – Creates an explanatory hypothesis from investigation of a phenomenon. • Evaluative – Identifies, explores issues around program or design. • Generative - produces new ideas, refines existing ones, or creates solutions.
Contextual research Describing the form or nature of what exists. • Mapping the range of elements, dimensions within a social phenomenon • Displaying the features of a phenomenon • Describing the meaning that people attach to an experience/circumstances • Identifying and defining topologies
Explanatory research Creates an explanatory hypothesis from investigation of a phenomenon. • Factors or influences that underlie a particular attitude or belief • The motivations that lead to decisions or actions • The origin or formation of events • The context in which phenomena occur
Generative research Produces new ideas, refines existing ones, or creates solutions. • Develop new conceptions or understandings about social phenomena • Develop new hypotheses of the social world • Generate new solutions to persistent problems • Identify strategies for new/recent problems • Determine actions that are needed to make programs, policies or services more effective.
Evaluative research Identifies, explores issues around program or design. • Identify the requirements of different groups • Explore organisational aspects surrounding the delivery of a program, service or intervention • Identify the factors that contribute to the successful or unsuccessful delivery of a program, service or intervention • Identify the effects of taking part in a program.
3) Conduct an expert interview • Selection criteria needs to be confirmed valid • Consent to publish • Pre-explained and consent signed Guided by question sheet prepared by researcher • Background: Age / sex / occupation / postcode / education • Transcribe • Analyse for themes, patterns
Grounded theory: is developed inductively from a corpus of data acquired by a participant-observer. 4) Observation in the Field through CASE WRITING
5) Case study: attempts to shed light on a phenomena by studying in-depth a single case example of the phenomena. The case can be an individual person, an event, a group, or an institution
The Case Study: 2 important points for selection • Important Point 1: What is your Unit of Analysis? “ A single ..................” Family Location Community Person Organisation • Important Point 2: You need at least 3 types of evidence: documents / photos / interview / field notes / observations Remember – VALIDITY and RELIABILITY. The case needs to be reliable and generalisable to be ‘proof’. If not, it is more of an exploration
Types of Cases • The critical case – You already have a theory (hypothesis) and the case will prove or disprove it • The extreme case – the elements you are looking for a pronounced and highlight the concept / hypothesis • The exemplifying case – the elements are broadly showing a theory • The longitudinal case – data over time sheds light on development of the concept
6) Focus Group of 6 people • Conversation recorded – around a topic • Pre-explained – researcher decides how much to reveal • Guided by question sheet prepared by researcher • Selection criteria for group members • Background for each member of the group • Age / sex / occupation / postcode / education etc • Code each participant by voice • Transcribe as group and as participant (2 types of transcription)
Before you start...Remember that you are the human instrument of data collection. Be careful not to damage your data through being a bad instrument? Values Practical What practical aspects will affect your research? Access Time Money Knowledge Curiosity What are some of your values and beliefs in regards to your research topic – you must be aware of them / write these down. • Cultural • Educational • Assumptions • Gender
1) What is considered high achievement in the Muslim education system? 2) Who are the key Muslim female figures that Muslim females admire? 3) How are the ideals related in Muslim curriculum? Values Practical Did I go to an Islamic school? Am I female? Am I really interested in this? Can I get into contact with my old teacher? Which one would be best to contact? For what reasons? Will the literature be in English? Could I reference it and translate my quotes and paraphrases? • Cultural – need to see that Muslim culture is one of many. Need to outline why Islamic system is different. • Educational – that ideals exist and have positive and negative connotations • Assumptions – that an education is not just about knowledge • Gender – that females only have female ideals
Summary: What can I do? • Research Observation (you have access and consent to observe) = structured observation, field notes • Structured Questioning (You have access to larger number of people – at least 15 - in the experience) = questionnaire, survey, polls • Participant Observation (you are in the context) = Case reflections, field notes, descriptions and diarized entries, vlog • Expert or participant discussion (You have access to experts who are in the context) = interviews, focus group, unpublished primary narrative • Visual Ethnography (you are in the physical environment and have the equipment, also consent to photograph human subjects) = visual field notes, photos of researcher • Historical secondary data (you have access to data, databases etc) = peer-review articles, stats, biographies, newspaper clips, film, documents
Talking Methods in a Forum Presentation: What is your research project about? What is the context you are looking at? What are you looking for? Hoping to get? What quantitative / qualitative data method would you choose? Adviser: Is their project purposeful – practical – interesting? What methods should they use?
What is action research? • a process in which participants examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully, using the techniques of research. • the research will inform and change the researcher’s practices in the future. • carried out within the context of the researcher’s environment on questions that deal with educational matters at hand. • a cycle of posing questions, gathering data, reflection, and deciding on a course of action • a continuous cycle of planning, action and review of the action
Aims of Action Research • an action aim - to bring about change in some community or organisation or program or intervention; • a research aim (to increase knowledge and understanding on the part of the researcher or the client or both, or some other wider community). • to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to the goals of social science by joint collaboration within a mutually acceptable ethical framework
Aims of Action Research • In the action research paradigm, learning and change are not just about making adjustments to cope better with existing conditions; they involve asking whether what currently exists is what we should live with. • To engage both the researcher and the system of the ‘other’ or client in collaboration that incorporates change. • Compared to traditional research which typically generates an argument FOR change in the future.
Why engage in action research? • a useful way of doing research if you are a practitioner who wishes to improve your understanding of your practice. • a means for activists who wish to engage the clients as co-researchers. • preliminary or pilot research before using some other research approach. • for situations where you wish to bring about action in the form of change, and at the same time develop an understanding which informs the change and is an addition to what is known PRAXIS – development of knowledge through independent and purposeful action. (Normal professional practice?)
Teachers use action research because: • it deals with their own problems, not someone else’s • it can start now—or whenever they are ready—providing immediate results • action research provides them with opportunities to better understand, and therefore improve, their educational practices • as a process, action research promotes the building of stronger relationships among staff • importantly, action research provides educators with alternative ways of viewing and approaching educational questions providing a new way of examining their own practices Adapted from Mertler, C.A. & Charles, C.M., (2008) Introduction to education research, 6th Edition, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, Mass, page 308.
Strands of work in action research • an action strand which is about making change: making useful and noticeable difference to the world outside of oneself, and to how things get done in that world (the ‘outer journey’). • a knowledge strand which is about enriching our collective wisdom about how and why things and people work. • a learning strand which is about developing individual and collective practice, enhancing our capability to do the same or different—possibly harder—things in the future.
The layers of work in action research • the day-to-day work undertaken by the action researcher and others in the external world: plans made, meetings attended, reports written, techniques and strategies used to get things done and make things happen; • the work of understanding the multiple and sometimes contradictory or paradoxical perceptions of that work by the players involved; • the work of using those contradictions and paradoxes to illuminate, guide and refine what the action researcher and others are undertaking in the external world; • the work of building knowledge, understanding, and even theory, which can enhance and enrich the future practice of all those involved.
Interpret Data • At least three different types of data needed to triangulate. • Analyse and identify major themes. • Quantifiable data can be analysed without the use of statistics. • Other data, such as opinions, attitudes, or checklists, may be summarized in table form. • Data that are not quantifiable can be reviewed holistically and important themes can be noted.
Outcomes of action research • a change in the situation, practice or behaviour of the client or ‘other’; • improved understanding of the client’s situation or behaviour for both the client and the researcher/change agent; • development in the competence and practice of the researcher/change agent; • additions to the store of knowledge and theory available to the wider professional and general community; • improved understanding of the processes through which individuals, groups, organisations or larger social systems change.