Outline Key questions that informed my research and which may help you to think about your research. Example of data analysis Discussion
What did I want to know? Does using social networking sites in the pre-entry stage help HE students prepare and integrate into university life?
What informed the way I collected and analysed my data? My view of the world, what knowledge is and how people acquire it. In other words, my ontological and epistemological viewpoints. Ontological!?! Epistemological!?!
Key questions that informed my research Yes..... ....these are difficult concepts and can be daunting, but they are threshold concepts (Meyer and Land) – once understood, they inform and guide an EdDstudent’s whole approach.
What is my ontological approach -(my view of the world/society)? Do I think the world exists externally to human beings? or..... Do I think that people contribute to a constantly changing world?
Key questions that informed my research Bryman (2008) Bryman (2008) uses an organisation to explain Objectivism Constructivism
Key questions that informed my research What is my epistemological approach? How do I think knowledge is acquired? By gathering data and seeking out rules/patterns or cause/effect(positivist)? Or interpreting taking into account context, experience and views (interpretivist)?
Key questions that informed my research Understanding (in my view because my philosophy is constructivist) is based on an individual’s experience, their personal circumstances and a host of other personal variables.
In my research I was interested in understanding how students’experiences of social networking impacted on their expectations about university life and their experiences at when they started at uni.
What type of research design should I use? For logistical and practical reasons, I was planning to investigate the experiences and views of one group of students, those at the University of Portsmouth – one specific case – therefore my research was based on a representative case study.
How did I gather data? I wanted to hear about from students about their viewpoints and experiences – how could I capture their voice? I wanted to gather feedbackfrom a number of students to address my research questions and provide flexibility to explore other relevant topics. I used online surveys & interviews.
How did I analyse my data? Analysing some items in the online survey was straight forward, but data in free text questions more complex.
How did I analyse my data? I used the following stages: reading and re-reading (getting to know my data); identifying interesting and significant points; grouping into themes on a large sheet of paper; coding (giving a name) to each theme; relating to research questions; looking for connections between the themes and possibly creating new, larger; and relating to existing theory.
How did I analyse my data? Responses could be categorised as follows... Linking up with other prospective students in accommodation Linking up with other people on the course Understanding more about course content Acquiring the rudiments of academic language Finding out about the local area Understanding more about university life Finding out about course content
What are these activities about? What are the common themes?
Why are students doing this? They want to be able to integrate into groups (connect to people and build relationships). They want to prepare and cope as an individual (gain practical knowledge, improve confidence, cope academically).
How does this relate to existing theory?
Methodology impacts on the whole research process Taking time to think about: your view of the world (ontology) how people acquire knowledge and learn (epistemology) is an investment worth making.... ...because it helps you think more clearly about your research design, the tools and techniques to use and how to analyse your data.