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Research methodology

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years ago

Research methods can generally be put into two broad categories - quantitative and qualitative.


Generally speaking, quantitative methods focus on the collection and analysis of numerical data (e.g., test scores, survey totals), whilst qualitative methods involve the collection and analysis of narrative data (e.g., field notes, interview transcripts, journal entries).


Quantitative research methods generally employ deductive reasoning (top-down) to address the research question/s and the data is used to test a pre-determined hypothesis. Qualitative methods on the other hand, employ inductive reasoning (bottom-up) where observations are made without any preconceptions as to what should be. 


Qualitative methods are particularly suitable for action research in schools. The approach is holistic, discovery-oriented and inductive. To draw generalisations is not a priority; to understand the particular situation being studied is paramount.  Qualitative methods are focussed on giving participants a voice and to elicit detailed responses to and reflections on the implemented action.  



 A great book to purchase is Research methods for students and professionals by Kirsty Williamson.  It is readable and immediately practical. You'll find more about this book on the Resources page

 Lyn Hay has pointed me to a fabulous site that where you can create online surveys. There is an option to use Zoomerang to create a survey for free, or you can subscribe on an annual basis ($350 USD for eduactors). As you would expect, the functionality increases is you have a subscription. One of the primary differences is that whilst you can download the results analysis from the free service for some 3 weeks after the survey is created, you can't download the raw data.  With the subscription, amongst other things, there is no time restrcition on the survey and the data can be downloaded and stored for future comparison. This could be a fabulous tool for evaluating simply and quickly a whole range of things. (Di)


Have found that the free option on Zoomerang only stores your created survey for a couple of weeks.  However, Survey Monkey, a similar survey creator with a free option, appears not to impose such a time limit. (Di)  Check Margaret's comments on her member's page... she has just signed up.



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