missmillerslearningjourney

My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Category: Research Methods

Where am I now? – Final Blog

As I began these courses at the beginning of July, I thought that transitioning into this program would be easy. I have only been out of the post-secondary world for five years and felt like my classroom experience, leadership exemplars, and ability to hoop jump would guarantee smooth sailing throughout the program. I was incorrect. The platform, layout, and thoughtful guest speakers have allowed my classmates and myself to reflect on our own pedagogy, consider new ideas and perspectives, and be vulnerable to sharing the strengths and struggles that go on in our own school contexts. EDCI 515 and EDCI 568 specifically, have pushed my thinking in ways I was not expecting.

At my school, I am not only a classroom teacher, new administrator, but the technology support teacher – a role I took on from a colleague as after she left on maternity leave. Being a millennial, I have an understanding of technology and digital platforms. But as I learned throughout this month, there are many other things I need to consider in my role.

My school has a range of technologies that we are working with – iPads, Chromebooks, and personal devices of students as they bring them from home. We have had staff and classroom conversations about how the technology is to be used, however, I think going forward we need to be more clear and intentional with our use of technology school and district wide. Throughout the revised BC Curriculum, digital literacy has been included, however, I had no idea that there were international standards for technology integration  that we should also be referencing in order to ensure students are capable learners in the twenty first century. I hope to share this with my school staff. And to build off of that, I am planning on developing a school technology agreement with my staff. As a collective, we need to decide what our shared understandings, government and district privacy policies, creative commons, copyright, and our school expectations around technology are. We cannot continue to be willfully blind. Now that I have been directed to this information, I feel obligated to share and ensure, as educators, we are modeling safe and respectful technology for our students. As Jesse Miller says, “we cannot change the world of technology that we and our students live in, therefore, we should be focusing on building networked citizens” (personal communication, July 9, 2019)

As society is delving deeper and deeper into the world of technology, it is important to be intentional in our teaching. As Dr. Martin Weller mentioned, “we need to think critically about the resources and tools that we are going to use” (personal conversation, July 22, 2019). This means, to find the balance – not cut it out completely, but also not to champion it blindly.

One of the benefits of digital media is the ability to connect through social spaces online. Christine Younghusband explained that through the use of Twitter she has been able to make connections with educators around the world which has grown her own wealth of knowledge and understanding on different topics. Through our exploration of academic articles such as ‘Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility’ by DeGroot and VanSlette, I have begun to understand the use of social media for digital scholarship. Something that I continue to struggle with though, is considering whose voices are heard through published research online. In my experience, research favours a certain demographic. I believe that in order to develop a clear and unbiased understanding of something, we need different perspectives. It becomes tricky, however, to get gain a variety of insights in digital scholarship when there are some cultures that are “still predominately based on orally shared intergenerational knowledge” (Bowers, 2018). This starts to create a gap between cultures and generations. Digital scholarship should be used to connect people, not to drive them further apart. As Dr. John Willinsky put it, “how can we use open digital scholarship to become a better educated society?” (personal communication, July 23 2019).

Another idea that has transformed my thinking over the past three weeks was when Shauneen Pete said that it is an educator’s responsibility to get informed and educated about Indigenous history (personal communication, July 16 2019). First of all, Indigenous knowledge is “not a uniform concept spread across all Indigenous peoples, it is a diverse knowledge that is spread throughout different people in many layers” (Onwu & Mosimege, 2004). It is not the responsibility of the first peoples to educate us. I have been feeling this idea inside of myself for a while now. In B.C. there is a big focus on Indigenous ways of knowing as it has been embedded in all aspects of the curriculum. Support teachers and district principles have been hired, but they are constantly being pulled in so many directions. How do we gain knowledge without putting pressure on our local communities as a result of being uncomfortable with our settler history? Through Shauneens’ sharing, I have realized that we should connect and learn through story (personal communication, July 16, 2019). That is how she communicated her masters and doctoral theses and shared her story with us. Based on her suggestions, I have added a list of books that share stories of different perspectives that I hope with confront and challenge my settler identity.

Listening to some of the guest speakers this week, have also led me to question the learning design that takes place in my classroom. Coming into this program, I have five years of teaching experience, have taught in IB schools {Level 1 Trained}, have participated in a district inquiry club, and helped to create and integrate an inquiry cycle at my school. Listening to Jeff Hopkins speak about how he has thoughtfully designed spaces, places, and people to create an environment of inquiry at his school is phenomenal. I appreciated his thoughtful prompt in his TedxTalk – “the world is changing so fast, is our learning serving a purpose in this world?” (TEDx Talks, 2014). If I think about my own classroom, I would have to say no. Students are learning what is in the curriculum in a combination of ways, but I do not think that they see a connection between what they are learning and how that applies to the world around them. I do understand that I need to consider age and stage of my students and how they are able to inquire into the world around them. I have a wide range of learners in my classroom, as most teachers do. I have readers, non-readers, English language learners, native English speakers, students with Ministry designations, some without designations, and students from a variety of home lives. Recently, I heard about this visual that helps educators to plan competencies and curriculum for a unit of student exploration. Picture an upside-down triangle split into three equal sections; in the biggest section at the top, the teacher will write what all students will understand, in the middle, the teacher will write what most students will understand, and in the smallest section at the bottom, the teacher will write with he or she wants some students to understand. This allows educators to plan for a wide variety of learners and to provide effective learning activities for all.

Trevor Mackenzies’ sharing also reminded me that I was on the right track when scaffolding my students through inquiry activities throughout the year (personal communication, July 15 2019). I am hoping that this next year, with older students, I am able to start in the guided inquiry section and move more quickly into the free inquiry portion in order to provide opportunities for my students to explore their own passions and interests – similarly to the PSII students with Jeff Hopkins.

How these understandings are shaping my research area of interest

There seems to be research about the importance of play and inquiry in the classroom for primary students; but how does that translate to intermediate students? As I transition into an intermediate classroom this year, I am hoping to take some teaching and learning strategies from primary and applying them in the middle years. Outdoor exploration and free-play are of particular interest to me. Over the past few years, I have noticed an increased number of students who are unsure and uncomfortable in nature. As I am exploring, there are many factors to consider for this, but one of them is the increased use of technology for our students.

Through the exploratory outdoor play, I am hoping to increase students’ sense of place and connection to the environment. This approach is closely linked to the First Peoples Principles of Learning. Along with the integration of effective applications, I hope to use technology to capture, record, and reflect students’ experiences in nature. Through the interconnection of these two approaches, all learning is accessible and it allows for an even playing field with shared experiences and natural differentiation. With this two-pronged approach, I hope students create a strong understanding of themselves through ‘two eyes’, as Colin Madland shared – one colonizer perspective and one indigenous perspective (personal communication, July 16 2019).

Because being outside and engaging with technology is an experiential process, I think the inclusion of multiple research methodologies would allow for a well-rounded understanding of the topic. I am looking forward to my literature review as I am wanting “to understand what has been doing before, the strengths and weaknesses or existing studies, and what they might mean” for me (Boote & Beile, 2005). The mixed methodologies approach will help to provide quantitative and qualitative data for me to analyze. Built into this approach is validity, trustworthiness, credibility, quality, and rigor (O’Cathain, 2010).  The action research approach might also be beneficial as it would allow me to move through the process of questioning, testing, gathering results, and moving forward, similarly to Dr. Simon Breakspears’ Learning Sprints. In order to enhance my understanding of students’ experience of outdoor learning, I could also engage in a phenomenological approach to gathering data. This would, rightfully so, put students at the center of the research.

As my students and I delve into the world of social media and sharing, we need to be conscious about the use of technology. My educational technology pedagogy is aligned to the SAMR model of technology integration (Hamilton, Rosenberg, & Akcaoglu, 2016).

I believe that it is important to use technology for modification and redefinition of learning activities as opposed to using it for the sake of a new and exciting app. I think it is okay to move through the different types of technology integration at different times, but we should be aiming for the top two tiers of this model. And in order for technology use to be effective, educators need to be proficient in the tools and the ecosystems in which they exist (Alec Couros, personal communication, July 8 2019). In my search for effective tools, I will need to ensure that the platforms comply with the FIPPA standards. As well, alongside teaching the use of the app, my students and I will have to explore what it means to be digitally literate in the twenty first century so they know the ‘manners’ of online communication.

What I hope to aim for with the interconnection between outdoor free-play and documentation and reflection using technology, is ensuring balance. There seems to be a focus for primary students on experiential learning and in later intermediate it seems to be on technology. How can we find a balance of both in the middle years? What should students be engaging with and for how long? I look forward to continuing to develop my understanding and adding new insights and approaches to my journey as an educational researcher.

 

Resources

Boote, D. N., & Beile, P. (2005). Scholars Before Researchers: On the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation. Educational Researcher, 34(6), 3–15. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X034006003

Bowers, C. A. (2018). Ideological, Cultural, and Linguistic Roots of Educational Reforms to Address the Ecological Crisis: The Selected Works of C. A. (Chet) Bowers (1st ed.). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315193403

Guskey, T. (2002). Professional Development and Teacher Change. Teachers and Teaching, 8, 381–391. https://doi.org/10.1080/135406002100000512

Hamilton, E. R., Rosenberg, J. M., & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: A Critical Review and Suggestions for its Use. TechTrends, 60(5), 433–441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0091-y

O’Cathain, A. (2010). Assessing the Quality of Mixed Methods Research: Toward a Comprehensive Framework. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie, SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research (pp. 531–556). https://doi.org/10.4135/9781506335193.n21

Onwu, G., & Mosimege, M. (2004). Indigenous knowledge systems and science and technology education: A dialogue. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 8(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/10288457.2004.10740556

TEDx Talks. (2014). Education as if people mattered | Jeff Hopkins | TEDxVictoria. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O5PK6LsymM

Kitchen Stories

Director Bent Hamer’s movie ‘Kitchen Stories’ is based on a real-life social experiment conducted in Sweden during the 1950’s. Post World War II, a research institute is looking to modernize the home kitchen by observing a handful of rural Norwegian bachelors. See a quick trailer below.

As we were watching this movie, our professor prompted us to reflect on three questions, which we then shared in a small group discussion today:

1.) How does this film connect to the topics we have been learning in the readings?

We started out this course learning about quantitative data collection. Academic research is filled with quantitative data studies and it provides so many advantages to the ever changing science of the world. However, as we have learned about more research methodologies such as quantitative, action research, and self-study, it is moving in the direction of the researcher being integral and at the center of the research. By doing this, it allows the researcher to understand much more contextual information.

For example, something that kept coming up in discussion today was there were a couple instances in the movie where the researcher asked the homeowner questions, as their relationship developed, that he would never have understood by just sitting and observing for days on end.

As Leanne and her group mentioned in their break out discussion today, is that the movie is a great satirical representation of an ‘old style’ of research. Quantitative data has a place and a purpose but we need to understand, as researchers, and George mentioned this last week in his discussion, that when we focus solely on that kind of data, we might miss the humanity in the people that we study. Brene Brown has a great line about this in her 2013 Tedx Talk called ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ – “stories are data with a soul.” I think that comment is so profound and hits right at the core of what we need to understand as researchers. In order to develop a well rounded understanding of a concept, we need to understand our place and our role as researchers.

2.) What does this film pull at? How do you do research?

Something that become quite apparent to me throughout the course of this movie was the importance of the chair. A tall chair is built in order to observe a willing participant in this study. The researchers are given strict instructions to not have any contact with their participants as this taints their data.

However, what is made painstakingly clear, is that human beings are social beings. We are wired for connection and some of the researchers in the movie have a hard time abiding by the guidelines. In my small group discussion, Dale brought up a great point. He said that as soon as the researcher and the participant acknowledge and nod at each other, the objectivity of the research is null and void. He likened this to the feeling of waking up early before everyone else on Christmas morning to find your presents and when you go back to bed you have to pretend to fall asleep when your parents wake up. All the while, you are second guessing yourself about what your actions should be because someone is watching and you feel the need to act in a certain ‘correct’ way.

3.) What does it pull at for you or remind you about your work and your practice?

As I reflect on myself as a teacher and researcher, I do a lot of observing and quantitative data collection. However, when it comes to assessment, that quantitative data falls flat and doesn’t tell the whole story of a student. However, I am able to do so from the anecdotal notes I take and conversations I have throughout the year. I am realizing that I have incorporated these research methodologies into my practice without even knowing what they are.

Unsettling the Settler

In one of our classes this week, we had the opportunity to hear Shauneen Pete speak. As my classmate Heather mentioned in her blog post, Shauneen didn’t come with any PowerPoint or slides to speak to. She shared with us a story – her story. As she mentioned at the beginning of our session, sharing stories is the basis of connection and helps us to understanding who we are engaging with.

She started her career in education wanting to make her students teaching and learning experience better than the one that she had received. Part of that, is ensuring that ALL students get exposure and learn about Indigenous content and come to terms with their own settler identity. She has bravely and courageously pushed the people around her into that uncomfortable place of learning in this particular area – unsettling the settler.

Something that she said that really resonated with me and something that I have been grappling with is the growing pressure we are putting on our local Indigenous community members. Our responsibility as allies is to do the work ourselves – do the research, read the books, have the tough conversations. And then reach out to community members for follow up discussions on things we are still struggling with. It is not their responsibility as community members to teach us the history.

I have been on this journey for a while now, and I recognize that I have a long way to go in my guilt, discomfort, and understanding in order to move more towards reconciliation. Therefore, I have collated some of the resources I have found on the topic, strong Indigenous community members and educators on social media, and some books that I have picked up recently for my continued professional development.

Teacher Resources

 

People to add to your PLN (#Twitter)

Bradley Baker (@bradleyrbaker): District Principal in the North Vancouver School District, 2017 Governor General of Canada’s Leadership Council Member. Proud member of the Squamish Nation

Jo Chrona (@luudisk): Curriculum Coordinator for the First Nationals Education Steering Committee (FNESC)

First Nations Education Steering Committee (@FNESC)

Senator Murray Sinclair (@SenSincmurr): Member of the Senate of Canada, retired judge, and former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation  Commission of Canada

Reconciliation Canada (@Rec_Can): Company that was born from the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph (Gwawaenuk Elder). Using the platform to lead the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

The First Peoples Cultural Council (@_FPCC): Provincial Crown Corporation formed by the Government of BC in 1990 to administer the First Peoples Heritage, Language, and Culture Program.

Strong Nations (@strong_nations): Publisher of Indigenous books. Based in Nanaimo, B.C.

Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (@noiie_bc): Voluntary, inquiry based, network of schools in British Columbia. Creators of the Spirals of Inquiry.

Indigenous Education Network (@IENatOISE): Indigenous Education Network at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

UBC Indigenous Education (@IE_UBC): Local Indigenous content and information about focused courses provided by UBC.

 

Reading List

Already read…

Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith

 

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

 

 

21 Things You Didn’t Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph

 

 

Price Paid by Bev Sellars

 

 

Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids by Deborah Ellis

 

 

Up next…

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by DiAngelo, Dyson, and Michael

 

 

Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada by Lowman and Barker

 

 

Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips, and Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality by Bob Joseph

 

 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

 

 

 

*This post will continue to be updated as I come across new and interesting information and resources*

EDCI 515 – Assignment #2

Introduction

As Mary McAtee states, “before starting any piece of research, it is important to identify clearly just what the purpose of that research is. It is only when this is done, that decisions about an appropriate methodological approach can be made” (McAteer, 2013). The researcher’s choice of research methodologies could have a large impact on all aspects of a study. Therefore, it is important to be clear on the purpose in order to choose the methodology that will produce the desired data and information. In this blog post I will first summarize the aspects of action research. I will then compare it to a quantitative research study and examine the impact to the researcher, research, researched, and reader would be if they had chosen an action research approach instead.

Overview of Action Research

Action research is vastly different from other research approaches. According to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, action research is a “type of applied research designed to find the most effective way to bring about a desired social change or to solve a practical problem, usually in collaboration with those being researched” (Coghlan & Brydon-Miller, 2019). This involves going through a process of ongoing reflection. This research approach can include quantitative and qualitative data, however, it is not the main goal or the focus of the research. The main goal of this approach is to make an improvement to personal practice, as opposed to policy. In education, this approach can be used for the information gathering about how particular schools operate, how they teach, and how students learn. But this approach is not specific to education and can be used across other fields of study.

Below are some visuals that have been used to portray the process of an action research process.

Whichever model or schematic researchers decide to use is personal choice. Each image demonstrates a “cyclical, iterative process of research where the initial focus of the research is subject to ongoing review and reflection through the repetition of plan, act, observe, and reflect” (McAteer, 2013). Also, as represented by the schematics pictured above, this type of research is complex, challenging, confusing, and rarely predictable. It is a dynamic and responsive approach to learning and can change directions through the exploration process.

Overview of Chosen Article

The chosen comparison article is called ‘Using Technology-Enhanced Inquiry Based Instruction to Foster the Development of Elementary Students’ Views on the Nature of Science’ (Schellinger et al., 2019). In this study, researchers were wanting to find ways to improve young students’ views and understandings of nature science. And were hoping that the use of an inquiry based platform and integration of technology would increase students’ engagement with the topic. Their two research questions were:

RQ1: How do elementary students view of nature of science change when they engage in a digitally supported scientific inquiry oriented curriculum that takes place in a formal and informal setting?

RQ2: Which views of nature of science are the most challenging for students to learn when they participate in a digitally supported, scientific inquiry-oriented curriculum that takes place in a formal and an informal setting?

The researchers in this particular area were using the science-based curriculum, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to identify the specific outcomes they wanted the students to demonstrate throughout this learning experience. They put together multiple choice questions that aimed at measuring the student views of nature of science and a total of 5 points was possible when all five items were combined. A contemporary score signified the best quality answer and received a one on the scale.

In a three week time span, a group of one hundred twenty-nine grade four and five students participated in three modules of scaffolded learning through an online platform called Habitat Tracker which was supplemented with a field trip to a local wildlife center. This epistemic-social approach to teaching and learning allowed students to “engage in discussion, reflection, and/or argumentation about nature of science through group interactions to form individual meaning” (McAteer, 2013).

What would happen if…?

As outlined above, the research done by Schellinger et al. (2019) is definitely quantitative in its data collection and analysis. This type of research allows for researchers to outline a specific question, set out guidelines, and measuring tools in order to track data. However, was this form of research the best way to gather this information and provide quality information to educators in the field? What would happen if the researchers had instead chosen to undertake an action research approach?

How it could change the 4 R’s of Research (Thom, J., 2019)

Research

This study comes from the “review of 105 emperical studies published between 1992 and 2010 on the views of nature of science to point towards attending to the epistemic-social aspects of learning nature of science through inquiry as critical to changing students nature of science views” (Schellinger et al., 2019). Therefore, the research question that come as a result is: how does the use of inquiry oriented technology improve students engagement and understanding?

In comparison, the action approach to coming up with a question would be reflective of personal practice and self-identifying teaching and/or learning gaps. If the educators were starting out with a question, it would be in relation to the teaching and learning that is going on in a specific classroom(s). Following that, the researcher would then need to reflect and explore what the present situation is in the classroom and ways in which to find out and collect that data.

Researcher

In this study, Jennifer Schellinger and her fellow researchers are academics at Florida State University. The data and information they are collecting is aiming to change teaching frameworks and policy for science education in order to better meet the needs of students and their developing understanding of concepts.

If this were to be an action research method instead, the researchers would be the school teachers that are looking for more effective ways to teach students the nature of science curriculum and how to improve their personal practice. This change immediately alters the direction the research would take as it needs to take into account the educators values, biases, and purpose of the information gathering. In order to follow an ethical research process, it would be beneficial for the educator group to bring in a research consultant that is well versed in the principles and practices of action research.

Researched

In the quantitative technology study, Schellinger and her colleagues collect specific data at the beginning of the program as well as at the end of the three week rotation of modules. The data gave very specific answers to whether students had increased their contemporary understanding of nature science. For some areas such as purpose of science and definitions of scientific theory the students’ contemporary understanding improved (Schellinger et al., 2019). However, in the other three areas, there wasn’t a significant change (Schellinger et al., 2019).

If the action research approach was used, researchers would be able to move through research cycles determining which platforms, programs, and teaching techniques are most effective in developing students understanding of all the components of nature science. They would not be limited to one option. However, that means that this would likely become a multi-year exploration of the best teaching practices for a well-rounded science program.

Reader

The intended audience for Schellingers’ et al.’s work was other academics in the field and gives ideas to other researchers about how to progress this learning further (e.g. look for and/or develop technologic supports that focus on a wider range of nature science concepts). In addition, the data is telling other researchers in the field that they are on the right track with the incorporation of technology as it increased student engagement through excitement, quick data analysis, and a built in learning community. This data is easy for other researchers and academics to understand, but not other educators to translate into their classrooms because there were gaps left with the insignificant data changes for three of the outcomes

On the other hand, the reader of action research data is the researcher(s) that are conducting the study because the methodology has the researcher at the center as it is a thoroughly personally reflective study. By collecting clear and detailed information, partaking in thoughtful reflections (e.g. diary) and keeping track of data as the researcher moves through the inquiry process, readers can easily track the purpose, supporting information, approaches, and changes to approaches as the learning develops. The data could be shared with interested colleagues, but it is for the purpose of personal practice improvement and not to instigate systemic change

Conclusion

The examination of a quantitative research study through the lens of action research highlights the advantages and challenges of both methodologies. Quantitative research requires specific types of questions, structured approaches, and data collection; action research relies heavily on the researchers’ personal values, beliefs, and biases in order to be effective. Action research, similar to mixed methods, allows for researchers to get a clearer representation of all the information through detailed reflection whereas, quantitative research is limited in its findings because some contextual information is not gathered. As evidenced by this paper, the choice of research methodologies significantly impact the 4 R’s of Research: research, researcher, researched, and reader. Therefore, these four aspects should be carefully considered when choosing an appropriate research methodology.

Class Discussion

After presenting this information to my classmates today, we discussed some of my critical thoughts, questions, and ethical dilemmas brought up by other researchers. (Nolen & Putten, 2007).

▰Was this a worthwhile study?

▰How did they choose the Habitat Tracker?

▰How would the outcome change if they created the online tool?

▰At what point does teaching become research?

▰Where does the accountability for this research lie?

▰Is the research reliable?

▰Are teachers properly trained to see the possible ethical pitfalls in such research?

▰How are the rights and freedoms of the researchers participants (the students) protected?

See information shared with classmates below.

Resources

Coghlan, D., & Brydon-Miller, M. (2019). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446294406

McAteer, M. (2013). Action Research in Education. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781473913967

Nolen, A. L., & Putten, J. V. (2007). Action Research in Education: Addressing Gaps in Ethical Principles and Practices. Educational Researcher, 36(7), 401–407. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X07309629

Schellinger, J., Mendenhall, A., Alemanne, N., Southerland, S. A., Sampson, V., & Marty, P. (2019). Using Technology-Enhanced Inquiry-Based Instruction to Foster the Development of Elementary Students’ Views on the Nature of Science. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28(4), 341–352. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-019-09771-1

Thom J., (2019). EDCI 515: E-Research: Harnessing and Understanding Technology in        Research. July 4 lecture notes. [Course lecture].

Literature Review – What’s the purpose?

Literature Review Overview

In our EDCI 515 course this week, we were given the task to read ‘Scholars Before Researchers’ by Boote and Beile to learn more about literature reviews. Literature reviews are commonly written at the beginning of research articles as a way to share collated information on a specific topic. According to the authors, literature reviews should “advance our collective understanding, a researcher or scholar needs to understand what has been done before, the strengths and weaknesses or existing studies, and what they might mean” (Boote & Beile, 2005). In research, specifically educational research, it is challenging to communicate with the diverse audience. Therefore, authors cannot assume knowledge, methodologies, or even common problems. Because of this, the need for a thorough literature review helps to even the playing field for everyone.

However, these authors have found through personal experience, that a large percentage of literature reviews are poorly planned and written and don’t meet their expectations for appropriate and holistic reviews. Boote and Beile quote a fellow researcher in the field, suggesting that “literature reviews should meet three criteria: to present results of similar studies, to relate the present study to the ongoing dialogue on the literature, and to provide a framework for comparing the results of a study with other studies” (Creswell, 1994).  A past criteria was adapted and incorporated into a 12-item scoring rubric which can be grouped into 5 separate sections (see below).

The researchers deemed this rubric effective after they applied and analyzed doctoral dissertations and found that the mean scores across all institutions were surprisingly low. However, because of the range of outcomes, they knew it was going to be an effective tool.

Literature Review of Interest

Since my teacher education days, I have been curious and interested in inquiry based teaching. My younger siblings attended an IB PYP school in West Vancouver and it was fascinating to see their interest, engagement, and knowledge of concepts increase throughout the years (until they reached high school – but I’ll save that for another blog post). Since becoming a teacher, I have integrated inquiry methods into my classroom. The launch of the redesigned curriculum has also allowed for more inquiry and competency based teaching and learning to happen in learning spaces. I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching and build a stronger understanding of my role in an inquiry classroom.

I found an article online that reviews the literature on the role of the teacher in inquiry based classrooms. I am going to use Boote and Beile’s literature review rubric to evaluate, in my perspective, the validity of the information provided (Dobber et al., 2017). See the image below.

I found this article very thorough in its background research, clear in their inclusions and exclusions of data in their collection, and specific in their communication of the results of their findings.

How does a literature review impact the four R’s?

I can see how the inclusion of a literature review can be extremely helpful in creating a well rounded contextual understanding of a specific area of interest.

Research – As mentioned in the Boote and Beile’s article, “a thorough, sophisticated literature review is the foundation and inspiration for substantial, useful research” (2005). By including a literature review into an article, it provides researchers the opportunity to see what has already been done in the field of study and identify where gaps are in understanding. By figuring that out, the researcher then has a clearer picture of what kind of research methodology would be the best approach to target the question.

Researcher – The incorporation of a literature review will help to build the researchers background knowledge on a topic and to build their foundational understanding in order to make effective research decisions.

As referenced in our recent readings, anyone can be a researcher, as long as you follow the protocol and structure of the methodologies.

Researched – One of the benefits of a literature review is it automatically forces researchers to look for information on the topic before moving forward with their own data collection. Information has to be systematically sorted, organized, and analyzed in order to understand the specific problem and subjects to include in the research.

Reader – By including a literature review to writing, it allows the reader to have a clear understanding of the background and history of a topic and why the researcher made the choices they did. It also allows for a cyclical process for the reader of the data to initiate research into the same area where there continues to be gaps or confusion. It also provides the reader with a  clear history of where they need to check to get background information.

Personal Reflection

As I reflect on the readings and guest speakers this week, I have noted some personal growth in relation to myself as a researcher, the research, the researched, and the reader of the research.

  • All of the research methodologies have advantages and challenges. Something that George Veletsianos noted in his conversation with us this week was to remember that when we are collecting quantitative data, we  can’t forget about the humanity in the study of people. In order to have research that is well rounded and provides context, researchers should include qualitative methodologies as he does with his personal interviews (mixed methods).
  • I think the incorporation of sources outside of the academic world could provide some great insight into topics of research. Someone in class brought up a great point that one of the Inquiry books they were reading by Trevor Mackenzie had only a handful of academic sources and instead, referenced thoughts, images, and examples from blogs and social media sites online. Is there much research to integrate sources like that into academia? If so, what are the guidelines around it?
  • As I begin to learn more and more about the different methodologies, I begin to think about my approach to my classroom. As teachers we are always collection quantitative and qualitative data in order to progress and plan for what is next. These mixed methods and action research methodologies are all new to me and are providing me with ideas about how to be intentional about what I am doing with that data.
  • Honestly, my assessment has definitely declined over the last year or so. Learning about these methodologies makes me think about what data I am collecting over the year, what I am doing with it, and how am I using it to guide my practice. How can I move through the action research process with the inclusion of quantitative and qualitative components?
    • action research to determine how I can improve my teaching in order to reach my wide range of learners more effectively, without completely burning out
    • quantitative data collection for students and their understanding of topics (sent out on FreshGrade at regular intervals)
    • qualitative data collection for students and their parents in order to get insight into their developing understanding of concepts, problem solving, and collaboration
    • action research as a school to move through how we come together to build a stronger community to improve the learning for our students

 

Manipulating Data to Tell a Story – Excel/Google Sheets

Step-by-step guides from Rich McCue  from the UVic Digital Scholarship Library:

Quantitative Data and Social Media

This week in EDCI 515 we are exploring the concept of quantitative data collection for research purposes. Some examples of quantitative data collection that could be used for research are: statistics, sampling strategies, questionnaires, and surveys. The importance of quantitative data collection allows for development of a solid conclusion to a question based on numerical findings.

See below for difference between Qualitative and Quantitative research.

Qualitative Inquiry Quantitative Inquiry
Goals
  • seeks to build an understanding of phenomena (i.e. human behaviour, cultural or social organization)
  • often focused on meaning (i.e. how do people make sense of their lives, experiences, and their understanding of the world?)
  • may be descriptive: the research describes complex phenomena such as: social or cultural dynamics, individual perception
  • seeks explanation or causation

 

Research
Question
  • Qualitative inquiry is often used for exploratory questions, such as How? or Why? questions.

Examples:

  • How do breast cancer survivors adapt to their post-mastectomy body?
  • How is bereavement experienced differently by mothers and fathers?
  • Quantitative research aims to be more conclusive and pertain to larger populations, answering questions such as What? When? Where?

Examples:

  • When should women have their first mammogram?
  • What is the relation between bereavement and clinical depression?
Data
  • may be comprised of words, behaviors, images
  • the goal is data that can enhance the understanding of a phenomenon
  • can be manipulated numerically
  • the goal is precise, objective, measurable data that can be analyzed with statistical procedures
Design
  • Because the goal is exploratory, the researcher often may only know roughly what they are looking for. Thus, the design of the project may evolve as the project is in progress in order to ensure the flexibility needed to provide a thorough understanding of the phenomenon in question
  • A central tenet of quantitative research is the strictly controlled research design in which researchers clearly specify in advance which data they will measure, and the procedure that will be used to obtain the data
Data collection
Instruments
  • researchers are themselves instruments for data collection, via methods such as in-depth interviewing or participant observation. Data are thus mediated through a human instrument
  • date often collected ‘in the field’: the researcher observes or records behavior or interviews the participants in their natural setting (e.g. a clinic, the family home)
  • tools are employed to collect numerical data (e.g., surveys, questionnaires or equipment)
  • research environment is often a controlled representation of reality
Informant Selection
  • usually collected from small non-random samples (e.g., purposive samples, convenience samples, snow-balled samples)
  • not ‘measurable’ in a quantifiable or mathematical way
  • the aim is ensure that a sample is representative of the population from which it is drawn
  • gold standard is a random sample
Analyis
  • often inductive: the researcher builds abstractions, concepts, hypotheses, and theories from the data gathered
  • often relies on the categorization of data (words, phrases, concepts) into patterns
  • sometimes this data will then be embedded in larger cultural or social observations and analyses
  • Often complexity and a plurality of voices is sought
  • often deductive: precise measurement, mathematical formula, testing hypotheses

 

 

Results
  • The goal of qualitative research is to understand participants’ own perspectives as embedded in their social context
  • contextually based and thus do not seek generalizability in the same sense as quantitative research
  • Goal is prediction, generalizability, causality

 

For our EDCI 568 course, we were looking at a quantitative research paper on “Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility” by DeGroot, Young, & VanSlette (2015). Some of the findings from this study are mentioned below.

Question(s)

RQ1: Is the type of instructor Twitter use (social, professional, or a blend of the two) associated with student perceptions of instructor credibility?

RQ2: Above and beyond the content in the Twitterfeed, do perceptions of instructor credibility differ based on whether students believe it is a good idea or a bad idea for an instructor to use Twitter?

RQ3: Does student use of Twitter (ie., frequency, use of Twitter for social versus professional use) change the association between the profile content and perceptions of instructor credibility?

RQ4: How do students describe the potential positive and negative effects of an instructor using Twitter?

Process of Research

  • Researchers used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine perceived differences in instructor credibility based on the content of hypothetical instructors’ Twitterfeeds
  • Participants were asked to gauge their own social and professional Twitter use by answering two questions on a continuum (completely social –> completely professional)*sliding response scale
  • Three hypothetical instructor Twitter accounts were created (1) an account with only social tweets, (2) an account with tweets of only academic and professional messages, and (3) an equal blend of the tweets from the social and professional tweets (social = personal life [16 total], professional = relevant to professors teaching and research [16 total], blend = alternating social and professional [22 total]
  • Names and profile photos on the accounts were all female, shared the same name, and were purposefully generic
  • Quantitative Measurement
    • Assessed using the Source Credibility Measure (McCroskey & Teven, 1999; Teven & McCroskey, 1997)
    • 3 separate subscales: competence, goodwill/caring, and trust
    • Each subscale included 6  bipolar adjectives with a 7-point response *reverse scored
    • reflect on reasons why it would be a good idea and a bad idea for their instructors to have a Twitter account (responses given)
  • Qualitative Measurement
    • Open ended questions regarding the students perception of the instructors
    • Comments were thematically analyzed

Participants

  • Were recruited by the researching posting calls (out to university Blackboard sites and on social media sites – Facebook and Twitter)
    • 239 individuals
    • Criteria:
      • Current college students
      • Twitter user (Average = user for 2.6 years)
      • Between 18-89 years old (Average = 20.5 years old)
      • 65.7% female
      • Primarily Caucasian (76.6%), 12.6% African American, 6.3% Asian, 2.5% Hispanic, 2.1% Multiracial, 1.3% American Indian
      • Range of academic majors and distributed across years of education

Results

Quantitative

  • Participants rated the professional Twitterfeed significantly more credible than the social Twitterfeed and the professional Twitterfeed was also marginally more credible than the blended Twitterfeed
  • Students rated the blended Twitterfeed as significantly more credible than the social Twitterfeed

Qualitative

  • Organized into themes
  • “It keeps the students connected with the professor”
  • “Extending the classroom”
  • “Improving student-instructor relationships”
  • “Metalearning”
  • “Student/teacher relationships should not go much further than the classroom”
  • “Violating classroom and time expectations”
  • “Breaching the student-instructor boundary”

My perspective – I agree with the general result of this study. I think Twitter has a particular advantage because of the way that the platform is set up (can follow, be followed, limited characters, can repost, and comment) for academic purposes. As  Wasin Ahmed writes in his recent article, “Using Twitter as a data source: an overview of social media research tools” , that “Twitter remains the most popular platform for academic research.” As opposed to Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat – where they are geared towards people sharing their own personal experiences, instead of ideas.  By looking at what people post, you can make generalizations about someones professional credibility as well as pull data to gather information on a topic. I appreciate Dr. Valerie Irvine’s presence on Twitter as she not only shares information and research connected to what we are discussing in class, but also connecting us to other people to develop our Personal Learning Network, and engaging in conversation with peers in the field.

When comparing the outcomes for quantitative versus qualitative data collection for research purposes, I think that most of the information I will be collecting in relation to my area of interest will be qualitative. I am interested in the use of technology in the elementary classroom; which was excellent to hear ideas and suggestions from Alec Couros today such as digital sleuthing, targeted ads, and the use of Twitter templates before going online!

However, I could see benefits from researching quantitative data about how the use of technology and social media platforms improve information acquisition for students. This could be done through a questionnaire/survey in combination with a pre and post test on a random topic to see if it improved their understanding.

Research Methodologies

As defined by the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries:

Research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it

Methodology: a set of methods and principles used to perform a particular activity

Therefore, Research Methodology is the careful study of the methods and principles used to do research.

(An excerpt from https://heidid.opened.ca/2019/07/05/mixing-the-methods-of-research-methodology/?unapproved=1&moderation-hash=2182d3af58c5c89812e71fea2a66dc89#comment-1)

As I reflect on my own personal learning experience and teaching approach, I realize that I have a very limited view of different types of research (methodologies) and how the use of a variety of methods ensure for deeper learning for myself and my students.

In my classroom, when my students participate in research based activities, I often have them go through the same process. We move through the Inquiry method and I scaffold by everyone participating in a class Inquiry and developing research skills and strategies before moving into a more guided or independent Inquiry (similar to Trevor Mackenzie’s types of student inquiry approach). The research categories and options are often scripted by me, to limit student’s confusion and support and meet them where they are developmentally.

However, reflecting on that practice after our class readings and conversations from EDCI 515, I am embarrassed to realize that is not enough.

Research Diaries

As I read ‘Research Diary: A Tool for Scaffolding’ by Marion Engin, I understood the intentional use of ‘diary’ in this approach. I have used Inquiry Journals in the past, however, they were quite prescribed on what was included and what was written in them – which serves a purpose sometimes. However, there is also the need, as learners, for a space to share thoughts, ideas, missteps, and questionings in order to improve personal performance and document the learning process. According to Engin,

“Diary writing is seen as an opportunity for reflection and inner dialogue. The articulation of thoughts becomes the catalyst for change in beliefs and practice, thus the narrative inquiry of diary writing is a tool which mediates teachers’ professional development.”

As classroom teachers, we often get wrapped up in quantitative data and forget to put strategic supports in place for students to move through and understand the process of learning – making their learning visible.

At the end of this past year, I planned a year-long Inquiry unit with my colleagues on the history of Canada. We were hoping to use Inquiry Journals in order for students to reflect on their process and answer questions for us to follow up with. However, I would also like to introduce the use of Research Diaries for my students. I would love for it to be something that students could carry with them through out the year and use it to help propel their learning. I think it could be extremely meaningful for the students, as it is something that is individual and not being used for marks, but as a visual example of their learning process. It could also be a great artifact for students to share with their families during Student-Led conferences in the Spring.

The video below describes some different reasons why the use of Research Diaries are helpful for post graduate studies.

Based on our EDCI 515 class discussion this week, here are some things that could be included and reflected on in Research Diaries in order to make it effective and progress the learning and development – whoever it is that is using them.

  • Data (observations)
    • Additional found items (photographs, letters, etc.)
    • Contextual information
    • Reflections  on research methods (ideas and plans for subsequent research)
  • Theoretical Ideas
    • Clarifying a concept or idea
    • Making connections
    • Connecting your experiences
    • Formulating a new hypothesis
    • Realising the process
  • Method/Logical Notes
    • Circumstances
    • Biases?
    • What role did I play in the situation under investigation?
    • Comments arise from my experience
    • What decisions did I make about the future course of my research, and why?
    • What conflicts and ethical dilemmas did I encounter and how did I deal with them?

Autoethnography

According to our EDCI 515 reading this week,

Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno) (ELLIS, 2004; HOLMAN JONES, 2005).

Similar to my classmate, Benjamin Hood’s perspective mentioned in his recent blog, I “also I learn more when I can make a connections to something in the real world such as a story, an experience, or an event.” Traditional research methods are often focused on hard facts and quantitative data. However, this approach “acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality, and the researchers influence on research, rather than hiding from these matters or assuming they don’t exist” (C. Ellis, T.  E. Adams & A. P. Bochner, 2011).

When researching authoethnography examples, I found Sarah Wall’s paper which explores international adoption through the lens of her own experiences. She notes in her abstracts that “this form of scholarship highlights more than ever issues of representation, “objectivity,” data quality, legitimacy, and ethics. Although working through these challenges can lead to the production of an excellent text, the intimate and personal nature of autoethnography can, in fact, make it one of the most challenging qualitative approaches to attempt” (Wall, 2008).

If I apply this understanding to my own teaching context. I will probably not be having students write their own authoethonography paper, but I think some of the data collection strategies such as taking field notes, listening to stories, noting feelings of themselves and others, collecting artifacts, interviews, and questions are important practices to introduce to students. From there, the important 21st century learning skills that can be practiced are perspective taking, adding their own perspective, understanding biases and context.  Prompting students to do additional research about the authors of the information that they found, what other researchers in the field were exploring at the time, and what was the historical and cultural climate at that time. That information could have a profound affect on the interpretation of the information being provided in the article.

Reflection on my own teaching and learning – The 4 R’s

Before – I would say that my role as a researcher was to explore new teaching strategies and techniques and my efficacy as an educator. I would gather information of my own teaching from assessments of students (anecdotal notes, tests, check ins, etc.) and the data would be shared with the students and their parents at scheduled reporting times.

Students responsibility in my classroom was to research concepts using resources that were given to them (for the most part). And the goal of this data collection was not personal, but to provide to the teacher a submission of their understanding. And often,  information was shared with peers during the exploration process.

After – I now understand that my role as the teacher is to guide and support students in their learning. Together, we explore a variety of research strategies to develop an understanding of each other, ourselves, cultural context, where we are, and the world around us in order to develop strong, respectful, and flexible lifelong learners.

I am looking forward to implementing concepts and strategies learned in these courses, into the teaching and learning that is going on in my classroom.