ED 690 orients you to the research 'side' of educational technology---the issues, ideas, and constructs that underpin our discipline; the nature/types of studies we tend to conduct; and the ways in which we 'act' on the findings or results. Students plan and conduct studies of their own; interact with grads who routinely conduct research or manage/supervise others who do; and become adept at searching for information, assessing its quality, and synthesizing/summarizing it so that others can take full advantage of what they've learned. Like so many of our other courses, ED 690 has a performance technology spin.
ED 690 is organized around four phases:
Phase 1: Planning the study. Here you'll concentrate on both traditional and eclectic research designs (and thus be able to distinguish empirical studies from those that are idea-focused), how studies are planned--and why good planning is so important, robust methods for locating "good" information that ensures key underlying constructs are thoroughly described (and thus understood), and the "rules" that guide researcher behavior (ethical conduct)--from beginning to end.
Phase 2: Collecting data. Here you'll focus on building (or adapting/adopting) tools/instruments for gathering the information you need. This is where you determine your information resources (and from whom you need approval to access them), whether or not sampling is appropriate (and the steps involved in selecting samples), technologies that can streamline data gathering without compromising reliability and validity, the most opportune time for data collection, and techniques to ensure people (or organizations) aren't put at risk.
Phase 3: Analyzing and interpreting the data. Here you'll focus on the quantitative and qualitative methods by which your data may be analyzed, how to triangulate information drawn from multiple sources or via varying methods, and what the results "mean." A research study is organized around questions to be answered or issues to be addressed; thus, your goal is to ensure that the data you've collected and the interpretations from your analyses "align" with your original investigative intent. You may also learn things that you hadn't anticipated---what some refer to as unintended results.
Phase 4: Reporting. Here you'll focus on ways to present your work to other researchers and the 'general public.' Your task is to develop a writing style that is both professional and conversational, aesthetically pleasing, and visually astute. Graphics, charts, tables, and figures are key to preparing a report that is both accurate and easy to digest.
ED 690 is action-oriented. In the context of designing and executing your own study, you'll learn about and practice with an array of applications/online tools--for planning, data gathering, analyzing the data and interpreting it, and reporting results to key stakeholders and the larger community. You'll emerge from this course ready not only to design, develop, and implement performance interventions--but also to determine their worth or merit ... and ways to improve them.