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PLANNING EDUCATIONAL

RESEARCH

© LOUIS COHEN, LAWRENCE


MANION, KEITH MORRISON
STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER
• Approaching research planning
• A framework for planning research
• Conducting and reporting a literature review
• Searching for literature on the internet
• Orienting decisions in planning research
• Research design and methodology
• How to operationalize research questions
• Data analysis
• Presenting and reporting the results
• A planning matrix for research
• Managing the planning of research
• Ensuring quality in the planning of research
KINDS OF RESEARCH KINDS OF RESEARCH
PURPOSE
Does the research want to test Experiment, survey, action
a hypothesis or theory? research, case study
Does the research want to Ethnography, qualitative
develop a theory? research, grounded theory
Does the research need to Survey, experiment
measure?
Doe the research want to Ethnographic and interpretive/
understand a situation? qualitative approaches
Does the research want to see Experiment, participatory
what happens if . . . ? research, action research
Does the research want to find Mixed methods research
out ‘what’ and ‘why’?
Does the research want to find Historical research
out what happened in the
past?
ELEMENTS OF RESEARCH DESIGN
• Statement of the problem/ • Ethical issues;
what gave rise to the • Ownership of the research
research;
• Grounding in literature; and data;
• Constraints on the research • Politics of the research;
(e.g. access, time, people, • Audiences of the research;
politics); • Instrumentation;
• Aims and purposes; • Sampling;
• Intended outcomes; • Piloting;
• Nature of the phenomena to • Time frames and sequence;
be investigated • Resources required;
• Operationalizing research • Reliability and validity:
aims and purposes; • Data analysis;
• Research questions; • Verifying/validating data;
• Foci of the research; • Reporting/writing up the
• Priorities for the research; research.
• Methodology/kind of research;
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH?
• Positivist • Ethnographic
• Post-positivist • Experimental
• Quantitative, scientific • Ideology critical
and hypothesis-testing • Participatory
• Qualitative • Feminist
• Interpretive • Political
• Naturalistic • Complexity theoretical
• Phenomenological • Evaluative
• Existential • Mixed methods
• Interactionist
A POSSIBLE SEQUENCE OF QUANTITATIVE
RESEARCH
1. Literature review →
2. Generate and formulate the hypothesis/the theory to
be tested/the research questions to be addressed →
3. Design the research to test the hypothesis/theory (e.g.
an experiment a survey) →
4. Conduct the research →
5. Analyze results →
6. Consider alternative explanations for the findings →
7. Report whether the hypothesis/theory is supported or
not supported, and/or answer the research questions

8. Consider the generalizability of the findings.
A POSSIBLE SEQUENCE OF QUALITATIVE
RESEARCH
1. Identify the topic/group/phenomenon for research →
2. Literature review →
3. Design research questions, research and data collection →
4. Locate fields of study and your role in the research/situation →
5. Locate informants, gatekeepers, sources of information →
6. Develop working relations with participants →
7. Conduct the research and the data collection simultaneously →
8. Conduct the data analysis either simultaneously, on an ongoing
basis as the situation emerges and evolves, or conduct the data
analysis subsequent to the research →
9. Report results and the grounded theory or answers to the
research questions that emerge from the research →
10. Generate a hypothesis for further research or testing.
A POSSIBLE SEQUENCE OF MIXED
METHODS RESEARCH
• Identify the problem or issue to investigate →
• Formulate research questions →
• Identify the several kinds of data and the methods for
collecting them which, together and/or separately will
yield answers to the research questions →
• Plan the mixed methods design (e.g. parallel mixed
design, fully integrated mixed design, sequential mixed
design →
• Conduct the research →
• Analyze results →
• Consider alternative explanations for the findings →
• Answer the research questions →
• Report the results.
MAXWELL’S INTERACTIVE MODEL
OF RESEARCH DESIGN

GOALS

CONCEPTUAL RESEARCH
FRAMEWORK QUESTIONS

VALIDITY METHODS
A SEQUENCE OF CONSIDERATIONS
Ontology, epistemology, constraints,
PREPARATORY
purposes, foci, ethics, research
ISSUES question, politics, literature review

METHODOLOGY Approaches, reliability, validity

SAMPLING &
Reliability, validity, piloting
INSTRUMENTATION

TIMING &
SEQUENCING
A SEQUENCE OF CONSIDERATIONS

ORIENTING
DECISIONS
E.G. SURVEY,
EXPERIMENT,
RESEARCH DESIGN NATURALISTIC, CASE
& METHODOLOGY STUDY, ACTION
RESEARCH, TESTING

DATA ANALYSIS

PRESENTING AND
REPORTING RESULTS
ORIENTING DECISIONS
1. Who wants the research?
2. Who will receive the research?
3. What powers do the recipients of the research have?
4. What are the time scales of the research?
5. What are the purposes of the research?
6. What are the research questions?
7. What must be the focus in order to answer the
research questions?
8. What costs are there – human, material, physical,
administrative, temporal?
9. Who owns the research?
10. At what point does the ownership pass from the
respondent to the researcher and from the researcher
to the recipients?
RESEARCH DESIGN & METHODOLOGY
1. What are the specific purposes of the research?
2. How are the general research purposes and aims
operationalized into specific research questions?
3. What are the specific research questions?
4. What needs to be the focus of the research in order
to answer the research questions?
5. What is the main methodology of the research?
6. How will validity and reliability be addressed?
7. How will reflexivity be addressed?
8. What kinds of data are required?
9. From whom will data be acquired (i.e. sampling)?
10. Where else will data be available?
11. How will the data be gathered (i.e. instrumentation)?
12. Who will undertake the research?
DATA ANALYSIS
1. How will the data be analyzed?
2. How to verify and validate the data and their
interpretation?
PRESENTING & REPORTING THE RESULTS
1. How to write up and report the research?
2. When to write up and report the research (e.g.
ongoing or summative)?
3. How to present the results in tabular and/or
written-out form?
4. How to present the results in non-verbal forms?
5. To whom to report (the necessary and possible
audiences of the research)?
6. How frequently to report?
A SAMPLE PLANNING MATRIX
Time Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5
Sample (start) (3 months) (6 months) (9 months) (12 months)

Principal/ Documents Interview Documents Interview Documents


Headteacher Interview Questionnaire 2 Interview
Questionnaire 1 Questionnaire 3

Teacher Questionnaire 1 Questionnaire 2 Questionnaire 3


group 1
Teacher Questionnaire 1 Questionnaire 2 Questionnaire 3
group 2
Teacher Questionnaire 1 Questionnaire 2 Questionnaire 3
group 3
Students Questionnaire 2 Interview

Parents Questionnaire 1 Questionnaire 2 Questionnaire 3

University Interview Interview


staff Documents Documents
THE LITERATURE REVIEW MUST . . .

• Set out the argument(s) that it will advance.


• Set out points in favour of the argument(s) or
thesis to be advanced/supported.
• Set out points against the argument(s) or thesis
to be advanced/supported.
• Have a conclusion based on the points raised
and evidence presented.
THE LITERATURE REVIEW . . .
• establishes and justifies the need for the research ,its
significance, originality and foci;
• establishes and justifies the methodology to be adopted;
• has an organized and developed argument, not just a
descriptive summary;
• presents, contextualizes, analyzes, interprets, critiques,
and evaluates sources and issues, not just accepting
what they say;
• presents arguments and counter-arguments, evidence
and counter-evidence about an issue;
• reveals similarities and differences between authors,
about the same issue;
• states its purposes, foci, methods of working,
organization and how it will move to a conclusion, i.e.
what it will do, what it will argue, what it will show, what it
will conclude, and how this links into or informs the
subsequent research project;
THE LITERATURE REVIEW . . .
• is a springboard into, and foundation for, all areas
and stages of the research in question: purpose,
foci, research questions, methodology, data
analysis, discussion and conclusions;
• must be conclusive;
• must be focused yet comprehensive in its coverage
of relevant issues;
• must present both sides of an issue or argument;
• should address theories, models (where relevant),
empirical research, methodological materials,
substantive issues, concepts, content and elements
of the field in question;
• must include and draw on many sources and types
of written material and kinds of data.
SOURCES OF LITERATURE IN A
LITERATURE REVIEW
• Books • Theses and
• Journal articles: dissertations
academic & • Manuscripts
professional • Databases (hard copy/
• Empirical research online)
• Non-empirical research • Conference papers
• Reports • Electronic media
• Policy documents • Primary sources
• Public and private • Secondary sources
records • Tertiary sources
• Research papers &
reports
OPERATIONALIZING RESEARCH
• Specify a set of operations or behaviours that
can be measured, addressed or manipulated.
• Translate a very general research aim or
purpose into specific, concrete questions to
which specific, concrete answers can be given.
• Move from the general to the particular, from the
abstract to the concrete.
• Break down each general research purpose or
general aim into more specific research
purposes and constituent elements, continuing
the process until specific, concrete questions
have been reached to which specific answers
can be provided.
A GOOD HYPOTHESIS . . .

• is clear on whether it is directional or non-


directional;
• is written in a testable form;
• is written in a form that can yield measurable
results.
A FOUR-STAGE PLANNING
PROCESS
STAGE ONE:
IDENTIFY THE PURPOSES OF THE RESEARCH

STAGE TWO:
IDENTIFY AND GIVE PRIORITY TO THE CONSTRAINTS
UNDER WHICH THE RESEARCH WILL TAKE PLACE

STAGE THREE:
PLAN THE POSSIBILITIES FOR THE RESEARCH
WITHIN THESE CONSTRAINTS

STAGE FOUR:
DECIDE THE RESEARCH DESIGN
ENSURING QUALITY IN RESEARCH
PLANNING (Furlong and Oancea, 2005)
FITNESS FOR PURPOSE
• Theoretical and methodological robustness:
– The trustworthiness’ of the research;
– Its ‘contribution to knowledge’;
– Its ‘explicitness in designing and reporting’;
– Its ‘propriety’ (conformance to legal and ethical
requirements);
– The ‘paradigm-dependence’(fidelity to the
paradigm, ontology and epistemological premises
of the research) that the research demonstrates;
ENSURING QUALITY IN RESEARCH
PLANNING (Furlong and Oancea, 2005)
FITNESS FOR PURPOSE
• Value for use:
– The ‘salience/timeliness’ of the research;
– Its ‘purposivity’ (fitness for purpose);
– Its ‘specificity and accessibility’(scope,
responsiveness to user needs, and predicted usage);
– Its ‘concern for enabling impact’(dissemination for
impact); and
– Its ‘flexibility and operationalisability’(development
into practical terms and utility for audiences).
ENSURING QUALITY IN RESEARCH
PLANNING (Furlong and Oancea, 2005)
FITNESS FOR PURPOSE
• Capacity building and value for people:
– ‘Partnership, collaboration and engagement’;
– ‘Plausibility’ (‘from the practitioner’s perspective’);
– ‘Reflection and criticism’(research that develops
reflexivity and self-reflection);
– ‘Receptiveness’(research that enhances the
receptiveness of practitioners and a wider
audience);
– ‘Stimulating personal growth’.
ENSURING QUALITY IN RESEARCH
PLANNING (Furlong and Oancea, 2005)
FITNESS FOR PURPOSE
• Economic dimension:
– ‘Cost-effectiveness’;
– ‘Marketability’ and ‘competitiveness’(e.g. in
the research market);
– ‘Auditability’;
– ‘Feasibility’;
– ‘Originality’;
– ‘Value-efficiency’.