Participatory Methodology in Education

August 28, 2018

U of C logo - 2015I am excited to be teaching this doctoral level methodology course this fall.

Course Overview:

A survey of educational research methodologies broadly defined as ‘participatory’ – i.e., intended to support the involvement of as many interested and affected agents and agencies as possible and oriented toward meaningful, impactful, and sustainable action.

Course Description:

The aim of this course is to support your understanding of assumptions underpinning a range of theoretical traditions and their relationships to participatory research methodologies. You will examine and locate various theories according to their source and tradition, and will examine these theories against the backdrop of the intellectual traditions from which they originate. In examining each of these theories and their associated methodologies, you will begin to clarify your epistemological, ontological, and axiological stances in relation to participatory research methodologies. This is a reflexive process that will require you to begin to develop an understanding of your role as a researcher and your relationships to your research context and its participants.

This course supports your coming to make sense of the nuanced relationship between the researcher and his or her research context by way of working through the early intricacies of placing the self within the research inquiry. It helps you to understand and challenge the assumptions you bring to research through such questions as: What is the nature of reality? How does a worldview influence a perspective on the nature of knowledge? Where and how does knowledge come to be located and positioned? What knowledge counts as a legitimate way of knowing? What are the variant ways in which we come to know? How do we come to know and understand through different interpretive frameworks?  What are the ways in which knowledge is signified?  How might previous experiences and values influence choices of a research inquiry, a methodology, and associated methods? In looking across these research traditions and methodologies, the intent is for you to delve into their pragmatics and problematics, as well as to develop an understanding of the relationship between methodologies and methods.  To this end, we will examine closely the notion of commensurability in research designs. Throughout this course we will how we come to know what constitutes a research problem, how do we make sense/identify/mark/frame a particular lived experience as being researchable, what is the purpose of your research, what is the importance of the research and what are the ways in which a specific subject matter becomes the focus of inquiry. In particular, the course helps you get situated ethically and conceptually.

 Learning Objectives:

To consider the epistemological, ontological and axiological assumptions within the primary research paradigms and educational research methodologies.

  • To examine the conceptual influences behind participatory methodologies, and distinguish key movements and emphases in participatory methodologies.
  • To articulate an understanding of conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of educational research including the interwoven nature of research questions, research methodology and methods.
  • To partake in a reflexive inquiry concerning your values, perspectives, beliefs, experiences and understandings about research.

Approved Fall 2018 EDER 701.09 L01- Participatory Methodology in Education – Eaton

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

Opinions are my own and do not represent those of the Werklund School of Education or the University of Calgary.


How to narrow down your research topic

September 17, 2017
Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the things novice and emerging researchers can struggle with is learning how to narrow down their research topic. Here are some resources that I’ve personally collected and curated to help you tackle this complex element of developing your research project. At the time of writing this post, all the links worked and none of these resources had pop-up ads, paywalls or require any kind of payment. These are freely available and should be widely accessible by students in most areas.

Written resources:

USC Libraries Research Guide – Organizing your social sciences research paper: Narrowing a Topic Idea – http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/narrowtopic

USU: Ways to Narrow Down a Topic – http://ocw.usu.edu/English/intermediate-writing/english-2010/-2010/narrowing-topics-skinless_view.html

Thompson Rivers University: How to Narrow Your Research Topic – https://www.tru.ca/__shared/assets/How_to_Narrow_Down_Your_Research_Topic30237.pdf

BYU LibGuide: Step-by-Step Guide & Research Rescue: Finding and Narrowing your Topic – http://guides.lib.byu.edu/c.php?g=216340&p=1428396

Temple University: Narrowing Your Topic from Subject to Thesis (1-page worksheet) – https://www.temple.edu/writingctr/support-for-writers/documents/NarrowingYourTopicfromSubjecttoThesis-Worksheet.pdf

Starting a PhD: Choosing and Developing Your Research Topic – https://100thousandwords.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/starting-a-phd-%E2%80%93-choosing-and-developing-your-research-topic/

U Penn: Plain Talk About Your Dissertation Proposal – http://www.ling.upenn.edu/advice/green_proposal.html

You Tube videos:

Kansas State University Libraries: How to Develop a Good Research Topic – https://youtu.be/nXNztCLYgxc

M. Moilanen: Now to Narrow Down your Research Topic – https://youtu.be/EcYgNV_nQjk

Laurentian University: Narrowing Your Topic – https://youtu.be/JYYQTSXq6RI

Amanda Dinscore: Narrowing Your Topic – https://youtu.be/J1eVTf974R4

Steely Library NKU: Developing a Research Question – https://youtu.be/LWLYCYeCFak

Check out these related posts on this blog:

5 Websites to avoid referencing in your research papers  http://wp.me/pNAh3-1IA

12 Phrases to Avoid in Your Academic Research Papers http://wp.me/pNAh3-1JX

Why APA formatting matters http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Hc

How many sources do you need in a literature review? http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Hu

What’s the difference between a citation and a reference? http://wp.me/pNAh3-1F9

Why “as cited in” should be avoided in academic writing http://wp.me/pNAh3-1BH

10 Great writing resources for grad students – http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Bc

How to create a research paper outline: 5 great resources http://wp.me/pNAh3-1y6

Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks for Educational Research https://wp.me/pNAh3-1Za

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


What if you’re wrong? A question for researchers

July 14, 2017

Part of my work involves coaching graduate students who are learning to become researchers. It is not uncommon for students to start out their journey thinking that research is about proving what you already know – or think you know. And so, we start out our journey with some provocative questions, designed to break away from entrenched ways of thinking about the world.

A couple of questions my students hear me ask like a broken record are:

  • How do you define… ? (e.g. How do you define “leadership”?)
  • What counts as… And how do you know? (e.g. What counts as “the right answer” and how do you know?)
  • Who decides? (e.g. “Who decides what it means to be a leader?”)
  • According to whom…? What literature have you consulted to substantiate this claim? (e.g. “Leadership, according to whom? What literature have you consulted to substantiate this claim?”)

As we evolve as researchers, we necessarily dig deep into these kinds of questions.

When you become a “Master Researcher” (which is effectively what you have signed up for with a Master’s degree), you come to realize that it is no longer enough to “just know” something. We recognize that our personal experience, however powerful, is limited. We not only understand, but we insist on acknowledging, that what we think we know might be wrong.

I often ask students, “What if you’re wrong?”

If the first reaction to that question is a visceral twisting of your gut, a gob smacked open mouth and an instant response of “I am not wrong!” Well, then… you’re probably wrong. And chances are, you have some “un-learning” to do before you can produce quality research in the social sciences (or perhaps any field).

Once you get to the point where you can react with deep curiosity, with a surprising dose of delight and your instant response is, “Well, indeed! What IF I am wrong? What would that mean? I have no idea. I could be wrong. Hmmm… What a delicious puzzle. I really want to understand what would mean to be wrong, as much as it would to be right. Let the discovery begin!”

The less attached we become to being “right”, the more skilled of a researcher we can become.

Check out these related posts on this blog:

5 Websites to avoid referencing in your research papers  http://wp.me/pNAh3-1IA

12 Phrases to Avoid in Your Academic Research Papers http://wp.me/pNAh3-1JX

Why APA formatting matters http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Hc

How many sources do you need in a literature review? http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Hu

What’s the difference between a citation and a reference? http://wp.me/pNAh3-1F9

Why “as cited in” should be avoided in academic writing http://wp.me/pNAh3-1BH

10 Great writing resources for grad students – http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Bc

How to create a research paper outline: 5 great resources http://wp.me/pNAh3-1y6

Conceptual and Theoretical Frameworks for Educational Research https://wp.me/pNAh3-1Za

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Share this post: What if you’re wrong? A question for researchers http://wp.me/pNAh3-1Vq

This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Summer course – Research Methodology in Education

June 19, 2017

I am pleased to be teaching Research Methodology in Education this summer for our Master of Education students. This is an online course offered from July 4 to August 16, 2017.

Course description

This first course in educational research methodologies provides the background necessary to make intelligent decisions around the kinds of research questions that might be asked and the sort(s) of insights and answers particular methods can provide.

Learner outcomes

Throughout the course of study students will be able to:

  • Identify viable and interesting research questions, both in their own potential research endeavours and in the work of published academics
  • Identify, compare and critique a variety of educational research methodologies based on their primary assumptions and methods
  • Evaluate the relevance of educational research methodologies with special consideration being given to stated research questions and the knowledge being sought
  • Differentiate between the central tenets of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis strategies with special consideration being given to the strengths, weaknesses and relevance of each in education
  • Assess the validity of a variety of research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, commonly used in education
  • Examine and interrogate the relationships between research questions, research methods and interpretation of findings in educational studies
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of ethical issues in educational research, particularly with regard to the use of human participants
  • Formulate and evaluate their own preliminary research questions in response to both their research interests and professional context
  • Understand how action research applies to educational settings and contexts

Required readings

Creswell, J. W. (2014).  Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed).  Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Hendricks, C. (2016). Improving schools through Action Research: A reflective practice approach (4th ed.), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Here’s a copy of the course outline: EDER_603.21_Su2017_Eaton_approved

This marks the tenth time I have taught this course online. I love working with students to help them gain a strong foundation in research methodology. I can’t wait to get started with this year’s group!

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This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

 


EDER 708.01 Collaboratory of Practice II: Post-Secondary Leadership

February 15, 2017

U of C logo - 2015I usually post copies of my course outlines here on the blog, both for current students and for future ones. I realized that I forgot to post this earlier, so I am adding it now. This winter I have the pleasure to work with an awesome cohort of students specializing in post-secondary leadership. Here’s what the course is about:

Course Description:

Collaboratories of Practice represent a fusion of two important developments in contemporary research: communities of practice and collaboratories.  A collaboratory is a new-networked organizational form involving structured experiences of authentic, real-world practice that serve as sources of active inquiry and professional learning.  Using a studio or “collaborative laboratory” learning design, this course facilitates the application of knowledge in real world settings and to investigate and learn from inquiry in the field.

The goal of this second collaboratory is to promote critical inquiry that addresses high-leverage problems of practice related to teaching, learning, and leading in order that service and collaboration among colleagues and the professional communities can be enhanced.  It will provide students the opportunity to critically apply theoretical and technical knowledge, to develop and refine professional skills, and to integrate theoretical, research, and practical knowledge through a focus on data collection and analysis.

Learner Outcomes:

By the conclusion of this course each learner will:

  1. evaluate and select a research methodology to address the research questions.
  1. determine a setting, sample and data sources applicable to the research problem and purpose.
  2. develop methods of data collection and data analysis to address the research problem and purpose within the ethical requirements of the Research Ethics Board.
  3. write a draft Research Methods and Methodology section for an EdD Research Proposal.

Throughout this course each learner will:

  1. contribute to an online scholarly community;
  2. provide constructive feedback on colleagues’ work in collaboratory (studio) groups and incorporate feedback into one’s own work; and
  3. develop and enhance scholarly writing skills through ongoing cycles of feedback from peers, the instructor and the supervisor.

Here’s a copy of the course outline: eder_708-01_l01_eaton_w2017-final-approved

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This blog has had over 1.6 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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