Week 5

The following is a reflection on Week 5 of the Educational Research Design module using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.


Quantitative Methods


Today we discussed quantitative methods which focuses on variables that can be measured.  It is numerical, countable data which can be nominal (no numerical valuable but countable e.g. gender), ordinal (ranking order not equal/numerical differences e.g. tall, taller, tallest) and scale (equal interval, can be added or subtracted e.g. height, weight).

Quantitative data can be collected in the following ways:

Primary Research (research you do)

  • Questionnaires
  • Structured observations (checklists, rating scales)

Secondary Research (other peoples research)

  • CSO data
  • Web analytics
  • System analytics
  • Institutional data, records (with permission)

(from class notes)

Quantitative is a better approach to obtain objective information and generally answers broad ‘what’ research questions.


Today was very informative and despite being drawn to the more qualitative approach it was good to learn about questionnaires as I may be using this method in my own research. We were told not to use the word significant and use noteworthy instead.


A very informative session with good practical examples given to simplify the terminology. The practical exercises on evaluating questionnaires were very beneficial and on reflection I will need to ensure that my questions are clear and concise while being related to the research.


We were given extracts from versions of questionnaires from the book Doing Educational Research by Opie, 2004.  As I will probably be using this as one of my methods it really identified the importance of your questions and piloting questionnaires.  Simple things that were omitted from one of the versions was the simple fact of allowing enough space for participants to answer questions. I also believe in first impressions and feel that the overall layout is also important.  Questions or words that can be ambiguous.



An example of a question that could be worded more appropriately – How were you taught spelling at your primary school?

The problems with this question are 1) too open 2) relying on someone’s memory from a long time ago 3) should offer options.

We were told that we should keep all open questions together.  However, when I did my last questionnaire I was told that you should mix your questions.  I used Survey Monkey at the time and was told that if the participant clicks on the first page and sees lots of open questions it can demotivate them from completing the questionnaire.  This is something I must give serious consideration to if I will use a questionnaire.


My own research will predominately be associated with qualitative but if I do utilise a questionnaire I will have to invest time ensuring that the questions are clear, concise and relevant to the research questions.  Furthermore, piloting the questionnaire will be paramount.

Action Plan

To continue reading and start working on my proposal.  When designing my questionnaire it would be beneficial to read work by Opie (2004) and Cohen et al (2013).  Next week will be interesting as we will be discussing qualitative methods which will form a large part of my research methods.  We also have a paper to critically analyse for next weeks class.


Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2013). Research methods in education. Routledge.

Opie, C., & Sikes, P. J. (2004). Doing educational research. Sage.

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