Week 4

The following is a reflection on Week 4 of the Educational Research Design module using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.

School, chemistry, experiment.


Today’s class was a good review of theoretical perspectives, looking at what they are and why we use them.  We reviewed ontology and epistemology and looked at case study and action research methodologies.

Ontology refers to the study of what is or what our stance/viewpoint is and epistemology is how we come to know what we know.  According to Grix (p.175, 2002) ontology is “what is out there to know about” and epistemology is “what and how we can know about it”.

We looked at Case Study methodology and Action Research methodlogy.  Action Reserach was coined by Kurt Lewin and has an experimental approach where a change is required.  It involves multiple cycles looking at what has worked and what has not worked.  The following is the Action Reserach Cycle by Kurt Lewin

Action Research Cycle

Pauline Rooney gave a very interesting talk on her own research project.  Interestingly, it related to serious games which was an area I was considering and I also resonated with her qualitative approach.  It was also interesting to listen a guest speaker from Spain on her current research on serious games which had a quantitative approach.


I felt that the class today was very informative and also put educational research into perspective in terms of terminology and a constructive aligned approach.  I spoke with Claire McAvinia during break about my research idea and she was very supportive and advised that Action Research methodology might be of interest.  When going through this methodology during class it resonated very much with my intended project.  I feel that perhaps my ideas may be coming together afterall.


Reviewing the terminology and reading work from Grix and Gray prior to class was fundamental.  Claire gave some very practical examples to simplify the terminology and reinforce the learning.  While it was very informative it was also very interactive with questions and feedback.


The interrelationship between the building blocks of research by Grix will be an important model for carrying out the research project.  It provides for a constructivist aligned approach.

Grix 2

The Action Research methodology seems very appropriate to my research idea.  I have compared it to the defining characteristics below

Characteristics Action ResearchMy Research
Practical natureInvolves real course module and students
It involves changeChanging existing face to face course to online/blended
Cyclical/iterative processWill follow an on-going process – piloting the resource
Researcher is embedded in the processI will be investigating in my own practice as a research and participant. It will be a collaborative process with students as co-creators.

As Claire stated in class today action research is research in action rather than about action.


Today was looking as at research methodology and it has enlightened me on the methodology I think I will be using i.e. action research.  This was the first time I have heard of this approach and plan to do some more reading on it.

Action Plan

To continue reading and narrowing down my research project questions.  Kurt Lewin coined the term Action Research and reading his work will be important.  This week I have spent some time on my research questions and completed the learning activity we were given in Week 2.

Research Question:Data Sources and Methods:Justification – who will care about this?Practicalities – what resources and skills will you need?
How does the application of Knowles’s andragogical principles enhance module redesign in adult educationQuestionnaire? (learners)

Focus Groups (learners)

Reflective Diary (researcher)
Learners and Trainers involved in further educationSoftware such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate. I will have to learn how to use the chosen software over the Summer so I am competent in it for September

We have also been asked to think about the methods and below is a screenshot of the padlet with my contribution

Methods Padlet



Grix, J. (2002). Introducing students to the generic terminology of social research. Politics22(3), 175-186.

Susman, G. I. (1983). Action research: a sociotechnical systems perspective. Beyond method: Strategies for social research, 95-113.

WordPress Tips

I had problems in copying tables across to WordPress so I downloaded the plugin TablePress.  Once the plugin was activated it appeared on the dashboard.  I created a table by clicking on TablePress > Add New Table.  I was able to copy my information across and deactivated some of the user settings. I saved the table and copied the shortcode into the post.  I’m sure they are limitations but I found it very easy to use.


Here is my mindmap for my research project so far – I’ve used Coggle (click on image)

Mindmap Research Project

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