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Introduction to Research. by Dr. Daniel Churchill. About The Facilitator. Dr. Daniel Churchill Faculty of Education The University of Hong Kong Email: Phone: 2859.1141. About MITE6025. There will be 8 sessions MITE6025 blog

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introduction to research

Introduction to Research

by Dr. Daniel Churchill

about the facilitator
About The Facilitator
  • Dr. Daniel ChurchillFaculty of EducationThe University of Hong Kong
  • Email:
  • Phone: 2859.1141
about mite6025
About MITE6025
  • There will be 8 sessions
  • MITE6025 blog
  • The purpose of this course is to introduce to methods of research and contribute to you preparation for MITE/MILM Dissertation/Project
about the sessions
About the Sessions
  • Lessons
  • Group Activities
  • Critical Readings
  • Assignment
  • Group work
  • Individual Assignment: Write a Research Plan
content overview
Content Overview
  • What is Research?
  • Educational Research
  • Research Classification: Basic and Applied Research
  • Approaches to Educational Research: Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
  • Descriptive Research, Correlational Research, Causal-comparative Research, Experimental Research
  • Historical Research and Naturalistic Inquiry
  • Task 1
what is research
What is Research?
  • Research is the systematic and objective approach to scholarly inquiry:
    • Directed toward the solution of a problem and advancement of human knowledge though the development of theories
    • Utilizes carefully designed procedures that apply rigorous analysis
    • Builds on expertise:
      • Knows what is already known about the problem
      • How others have investigated it
    • Remains objective and logical by applying every possible test to validate the procedures employed, the data collected, and the conclusions reached
educational research
Educational Research
  • Educational Research explains, predicts and/or control educational phenomenon
  • Educational research is conducted in the following way:
      • Define -- a significant problem, hypothesis or question
      • Plan -- review literature to establish background to the study, identify methodology, plan procedure
      • Execute research procedures -- collect data e.g., interviews, surveys, questionnaires, observations
      • Analyze data -- qualitatively, quantitatively or a mixed way
      • Draw conclusions and recommendations
research classification
Research Classification
  • Basic or Fundamental Research -- develops theories
  • Applied Research -- application of theory to the solution of a problem and improvement in practice:
    • Evaluation Research -- systematic process of gathering data to make a decision
    • Research and Development -- develops effective products for use in education
    • Action Research -- improvement in practice
examples of applied research
Examples of Applied Research
  • Evaluation Research:
    • Should Alfred Lim be placed in a program for students with specific learning ability?
  • Research and Development:
    • Develop a set of learning objects to facilitate students understanding of motion and forces
  • Action Research:
    • What can be done to prevent students’ misconceptions in the topic of “Moon Phases” in sciences class?
  • Activity -- Let’s think of some possible questions
approaches to educational research
Approaches to Educational Research
  • Quantitative approach -- involves collection of numerical data and statistical analysis (deductive analysis)
    • Descriptive research
    • Correlational research
    • Causal-comparative research – cause relationship
    • Experimental research – setting condition and apply to real case and do the comparison.
  • Qualitative approach -- involves collection of narrative data (interview transcript, field notes) in search for understanding (inductive analysis)
    • Historical Research – past records to do the evaluation.
    • Naturalistic Inquiry
      • Ethnographic Research – like school culture.
      • Case Studies – e.g. school, class (study class independently)
descriptive research
Descriptive Research
  • Descriptive research involves collecting numerical data to test hypotheses or answer questions regarding the subjects of the study
  • The data are collected through a questionnaire, an interview, or an observation
  • A researcher reports the numerical results for one or more variables on the subjects of the study.
  • Some examples:
      • How do primary school teachers spend their time on computer?
      • How do parents feel about increased computer use in the school?
correlational research
Correlational Research
  • Correlational research attempts to determine whether and to what extent, a relationship exists between two or more numerical variables
  • This relationship can be used to predict the value of one variable for a subject if you know the other variable
  • Correlation implies prediction but not causation
  • A researcher uses the correlation coefficient to report the research
  • Some examples:
      • The relationship between intelligence and computer use.
      • The use of an aptitude test to predict computer use in a science class.
causal comparative research
Causal-comparative Research
  • Attempts to establish cause-effect relationships among the variables of the study, that is, that values of an independent variable have a significant effect on a dependent variable
  • In causal-comparative research the independent variable is not under the experimenters control but has to take values of an independent variable as they come
  • Some examples:
      • The effect of computer use on information literacy at the end of the first grade.
      • The effect of gender on science achievement through use of technology.
experimental research
Experimental Research
  • Similar to causal-comparative research but the independent variable is under control of a researcher
  • Some examples:
      • The comparative effectiveness of computer-based tutorials versus learner-centered e-learning activities on thinking skill
      • The effect of positive reinforcement on attitude toward ICT
historical research
Historical Research
  • Historical research is involved with the study of past events.
  • Collection and objective evaluation of data related to past events in order to test hypotheses that may help to explain present events and anticipate future events
  • Some examples:
      • Factors leading to the development of computer literacy
      • Effects of decisions of the ICT Integration in Schools Initiative of EMB on Hong Kong Education
naturalistic inquiry
Naturalistic Inquiry
  • Naturalistic inquiry includes ethnographic research and case studies to study of current events
  • It involves the collection of extensive narrative data on many variables over an extended period of time in a naturalistic setting.
  • Some examples:
      • A case study of parental involvement at an ESF school – find a real case to study.
      • A multi-case study of students who excel despite computer illiteracy – find few of students with good grade but not good for computer literacy.
      • A teacher as designer of on-line learning
for information
For Information
  • Some additional research approaches are:
    • Meta-research -- synthesizes previous research (usually in quantitative way)
    • Design Experiment -- new approach to research that emerged in education technology community
let s see what we understand
Let’s See What we Understand
  • Work in pairs. Go through list of M Sc/B Ed research abstracts at
  • Classify come of the topics from these abstracts into the six research approaches. Identify at least one topic for an approach
  • Present the outcome to the class supporting your classification
group task
Group Task
  • Setup your groups blog
    • You can setup a blog for free at:
      • http://
      • Or other blog of your choice
    • In the first post the team should introduce each member (preferably provide photos)
  • First task:
    • Discuss in your group and identify one research topic which you think it would be good idea to explore.
    • Develop research question and classify it in one of the research types
    • Present the outcome in your blog.
reading for next week
Reading for next week
  • Read this article in preparation for next week. Try to integrate elements of this article into your group activity.
    • Lim, C.P. , & Hung, D. (2003). An activity theory approach to research of ICT integration in Singapore schools. Computers & Education, 41(2003), 49-63.
  • Ravid, R. (2000). Practical statistics for educators. (2nd ed). New York, NY.: University Press of America, Inc.