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TOPIC 1

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INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODS IN EDUCATION

Synopsis

This course is about carrying out action research for Primary Education. It is an introduction to a
variety of research methods in educational research, purpose and features of research,
quantitative and qualitative approaches and ethics in educational research that describes the
important aspects of education and code of ethics.

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Learning Outcomes

At the end of this topic, you will be able to:

1. describe research in education


2. describe the characteristics of research in education
3. discuss the approaches to research in education
4. explain the ethical aspects of research in education

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Conceptual Framework
Introduction to Research
Methodology in Education

Purpose of Research

Characteristics of Research

Approach to Research in
education

Ethical aspects of Research


in education

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Introduction to Research Methods in Education

Research in education can be defined as the process of acquiring new knowledge through the
collection of data and information to solve problems in education and subsequently used to
improve the practice and quality of education.

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Purpose of Research in Education

Action research has three purposes:


a. to improve understanding of the practice and the practical situation;
b. to involve researchers in all stages of research.
c. to study the behaviour patterns of students, teachers, administrators, and school employees,
or educational institutions.

1.4.2 Characteristics of Research in Education:

a. To encourage involvement /participation to improve the quality of work/practice


b. To encourage a collaborative effort between the involved parties
c. To have a systematic process of learning
d. To develop a community that is critical of their environment and themselves
e. To encourage open-mindednes
f. To enhance the development of theory and practice simultaneously
g. To form a community of critical thinkers who work collaboratively in the research
process
h. To enhance ones self-reflective spiral a spiral containing surveys, planning, action
and observation as well as reflection
i. To get researchers involved by keeping records or personal journal
j. To begin small begin with an individual then involve a small group which later
develops into a larger group

1.4.3 Research Approaches in Education

1.4.3.1 Positivist Approach (quantitative)


Positivism or empirical analysis is a philosophy that embodies the genuine or authentic
knowledge based on only actual experiences. Metaphysical speculation cannot be taken into
account. This philosophy underpins the theory of behaviourism which only takes into account
behaviour that can be observed (Akhiar Pardi and Shamsina Shamsudin, 2012).
Quantitative research is the systematic scientific study on quantitative characteristics and
phenomena as well as the relationship between the two based on a hypothesis or theory. The
purpose of quantitative research is to develop and use mathematics models, theories and
hypotheses relevant and appropriate to the natural phenomenon.
Data are collected and analysed in order to explain, anticipate and control the phenomenon that
is being studied. The current situation will be clarified, investigated, triangulated with quantitative
data, and the causes as well as impacts on education will be reviewed.

Characteristics of quantitative research:


a. The data collected is evaluated using statistical analysis represented by number
b. Aimed to test a hypothesis using a formal procedure
c. The use of control to minimise factors that may affect the findings
d. Enlisting a large group of subjects (research participants)
e. An objective research
f. The use of writing instruments for answering questionnaires etc.
g. Using a deductive approach

1.4.3.2 Interpretive approach (qualitative)


Qualitative research is a method of inquiry that is employed in a variety of academic disciplines,
traditionally in the social sciences, including the study of marketing. It began in the social and
behavioural sciences: sociology, anthropology and psychology. The purpose of qualitative

research is to seek a deeper understanding of human behaviours and the reasons that cause
these behaviours.
Qualitative research studies why and how decisions are made, not just what, how and when
they are made. Qualitative research is used to gain insight about human behaviour, perceptions,
value systems, caring attitudes, motivation, aspirations, culture and lifestyle. (Akhiar Pardi and
Shamsina Shamsudin, 2012)

Characteristics of qualitative research:

a. Aim: to seek understanding in our interpretration of a particular phenomenon


b. The real world is perceived as dynamic, and changes according to human perceptions
c. Control values: values that have visible effect which should be understood and taken into
account when conducting and reporting research
d. Holistic focus: an overview
e. Orientation of discovery: theory and hypotheses developed from the data collected
f. Subjective data: data is based on human perception of the environment
g. Instrumentation: man is the main tool to get information
h. The analysis is done inductively

1.4.4 Ethics in Educational Research

Ethics in educational research is related to the researchers conduct and how researchers
associate or treat samples during the research. It is associated with the norms and standards of
behaviours to be observed by the researchers.

1.4.4.1 The important aspects of ethics in research


There are three important aspects of ethics in research :
a. To exercise professional work with integrity and sincerity, so as not to jeopardise future
research
b. To respect the rights and dignity of all those involved and accept the outcomes of the
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research
c. To ensure the physical, social and psychological well being of those who participate or those
who will be affected by the outcomes of the research
1.4.4.2 Code of ethics

Researchers must respect the personal rights of research participants. Researchers need to
build a good rapport with a person or group before they join the research. The code of ethics is:

a. to conduct research with professional integrity


b. to respect the rights and dignity of participants by getting their consent
c. to appreciate their time and effort
d. to consult the communities involved
e. to ensure the participants are informed
f. to maintain cordial relations with research participants after the study is completed
g. privacy

Conclusion
This chapter describes the general background of research which begins with the contextual
setting, showing strengths and weaknesses in research. Similarly, there are definitions with
almost similar meanings given by prominent researchers. The main approaches discussed are
qualitative and quantitative approaches. Both require a certain etiquette that must be observed
by the researchers.

Write a summary of the meanings of research based on the views of prominent researchers.

Create a table showing the differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches. Send
to your lecturers through OLL or email.
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