Research Methods

There are a number of courses that address this topic in some detail. This short commentary is something that might add to your thinking about this interesting and tricky space.

As you'd be well aware by now there is an interesting relationship between numbers and text in research in education. One of the better pieces of writing about the history and the many complexities of this difference is beautifully mapped by Peters1.

There is also an interesting shift that is occurring in terms of using the vast (aka "big data") information resources that are now being kept online. There is a great deal of interest in big data. An early working paper2 by Savage, Ruppert and Law opens up some of the ideas. There is much to say here. The title of a book by Dave Weinberger3 puts the dillema well. His book maps this terrain and poses some interesting questions.

Grix4 offers a readable and useful account of the various terms used in social research. It may be a useful place to begin your mapping of these ideas. We draw on these ideas here to help you through what can be a confusing set of terms, labels and ideas.

To begin at a point that is familiar to many staff who sit in on thesis proposal presentations. If you are a little confused about methods/methodology the last thing to do, the very last, is to opt to include a bit of everything, e.g. this is a case study, action research, postmodern ethnography. The logics of each methodology may not be compatible. Always best to talk this through with a supervisor or someone who has good expertise in the methodology. And, just for the record, a piece of software, like nVivo does not constitute a methodology!!

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