Research Methodologies

Research Methods

  • Inductive approach to start specific to become more general

  • Less structured to explore and learn more about the topic  

  • Consists of narrative data

  • Questions may be broad, holistic and open-ended 

  • Research topic is broad and question is more specific

  • Deductive approach to start general to become more specific

  • Consists of numerical data

  • Test, confirm and generalize

  • Consists of numerical data

  • Conducted in a controlled setting and normally with a large population to study

  • Data gathered first, then analyzed

  • Explanatory - collect quantitative data to provide the main focus, then collect qualitative data to expand on the finding

  • Exploratory - collect qualitative data to explore the topic in question, then collect quantitative data to find relationships or trends

  • Triangulation - both data collection methods are combined to utilize the strengths of each method and have a better understanding of the problem

Data Collection

  • Observations

    • Structured, unstructured and semi-structured observations​

  • Interviews

    • Structured, semi-structured, open-ended interviews​

    • Focus group

  • Journals

    • Student journals​

    • Teacher journals

    • Class journal

  • Surveys, questionnaires and rating scales

    • Open-ended questions​

    • Likert scale

  • Checklist

    • list of observable behaviors​

  • Formative classroom assessments

    • Informal  assessments to include oral questioning and student reflection

  • Summative classroom assessments

    • End of the course assessment​

  • Standardized test scores

Data Analysis

  • Inductive Analysis

    • Organization​

      • Coding Scheme - group data to provide similar types of information​ (find patterns or themes)

    • Description

      • Describe features or characteristics of the coded categories

    • Interpret

      • Interpret the data to find an answer to your question​

  • Descriptive Statistics - simplify, summarize, and organize large numerical data

    • Measures of central tendency​ - what is typical or standard about a group of individuals

      • Mean - average set of scores

      • Median - middle score in equally distributed scores

      • Mode - most frequent score

    • Measures of dispersion - difference within the group of scores

      • Range​ - subtract lowest score from the highest score

      • Standard deviation - average distance of scores away from the mean

    • Measures of relationships - relationship between two variables

      • Bar chart - data presented visually

  • Inferential Statistics - statistical result given for entire population based on a sample of the population

    • Independent-measures T-Test - ​treatment group and controlled group

    • ANOVA - similar to a T-Test, but with more than two groups

    • SPSS - Statistical software to calculate data


Mertler, C. A. (2017). Action research: improving schools and empowering educators. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.

McMillan, J. H. (2016). Fundamentals of Educational Research. Boston: Pearson.

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