Which Research Method?

May 19, 2011

I visited my tutor this week to discuss my thoughts and voice any concerns with the research proposal.  Thankfully she was pleased with my new research poster and thought that my research would be very insightful and a worthwhile process.  Please look at my Research Proposal Poster for a short summary of what I intend to do.  My research will be ‘An introspective account and critical evaluation of an e-moderators experience teaching in an online pilot EFL course.’  I plan to collect data from this blog which will provide an  introspective analysis throughout the process.  I will outline Salmon’s(2004) five stage model and see how it translates into practice.  From the data analysis I will critically evaluate the model in relation to my practice and then seek to propose changes to the model.

Having decided on how to collect my data I was unsure what the research method was known as and whether it was considered valid research.  Throughout my year learning about research methods I was well prepared to understand the differences between qualitative and quantitative research and made aware of the philosophical assumptions such as the ontological and epistemological stance of the researcher.  Furthermore I learned about the different types of methods used to collect data towards adequately answering the particular research question.  I thought that I was grasping the world of educational research until I started planning my own.  My mind seems cluttered with so many different terms for methods and many of them seem to overlap and relate to one another.  Whenever I read about the different methods I can relate most them to my research proposal.  I thought it could be a case study in that I’m trying to conduct an in-depth analysis of my own perceptions.  I also thought it could be action or practitioner research as I was following the process of my teaching practice and looking at how my practice  influences the success of the course carried out.  Or could it be Ethnographic or field study  as I will submerge myself within the study.  I was completely confused as my research intentions did not clearly fit into any of these methods.  All I was certain of was that it would be a qualitative paradigm with an interpretivist stance.  When I asked my tutor she cleared up my doubts and suggested that the methodology  is known as self-study research and also critical research.  During my year learning about research methods I was never made aware of these methods and I was a little anxious whether I would be comfortable carrying them out.  My main concern was the subjectivity of the research and that I would not have a triangulation of data which would surely weaken my research.  Again these doubts were reduced when my tutor stated that this type of research did not require a triangulation as it was just myself who was being researched and pointed me in the direction of some useful literature to assist with understanding the self-study method further.  It’s now time to go back to the books and hopefully gain a clearer understanding of the implications of the self-study method.  This will assist with studying for my last assignment, which requires me to write a 2000 word research proposal and is due at the end of the month:(.  The assignment will complete the Research Methods course providing a research proposal and indicates the start of the dissertation process. I now have a list of an unmanageable amount of literature to look through for particular references, which will hopefully be used to great effect in supporting my argument.

  • Salmon, G. (2004) E-Moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online (2nd ed.).  London: Routledge.