Getting Started with EdTech Research

Topic Overview

Research Basics

Researchers have an enormous burden placed on them by the trust that society puts into our work. Therefore, we have an ethical obligation to take every possible step to ensure that the conclusions and impact of our work are positive. The following are some sources on how to monitor for ethics in research.

IRB Procedures

If your work qualifies as human subjects research, then you’ll need IRB approval to conduct your work. Your work generally qualifies as human subjects research if:

  1. It involves human subjects. This includes data on human subjects that is already generated, such as OMS student data.
  2. It is research. According to the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects, research is “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” Thus, if your intent is not to contribute to generalizable knowledge (for example, if your intent is instead to simply improve your tool), this does not qualify as research. Note that if you have any intention of publishing your work in academic conferences or journals, then it does qualify as research.

Here are some resources on understanding what IRB is, whether you need to work with them, and how to go about doing so. If you think you need IRB approval, please make sure to consult with your mentor and the teaching team.

Scholarly Resources

These are scholarly resources useful for starting a deep dive into the topic. You’re welcome to use some of these in your assignments, although everyone will need to find many resources far beyond those listed on this web site.

Once you have a solid foundation in the accessible basics of scientific research and the scientific method, it’s good to move on to a broader understanding of the research community and its value in society. The following sources cover some of these broader issues and relationships.

General Media

These sources would generally not be suitable for use in your assignments, but they may provide a useful general overview of the topic if you find yourself struggling with the more scholarly resources.

Research is, in many ways, a way of thinking about investigating the world. The following are some introductory, accessible resources on the nature of research. You should pay attention especially to the general methodology of research, the aims and purposes of research, and the application of research in multiple fields. In education, most often we draw from the research methodologies of the psychology community.

Additional useful readings on the nature of scientific research, especially in the context of educational technology, include:

Research Designs

There are a number of different possible research designs. Below are some sources list the various designs, followed by some specific sources on particularly useful designs for this class.

For more comprehensive information, see:

Descriptive Designs

Correlational Designs

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Quasi-Experimental Designs

Experimental Designs

Survey Designs

Controlling for Biases

Educational, social, and psychological research may be highly prone to biases due in part to the intimate involvement of experimenters. Below are a few sources on monitoring for bias in your research.

Some sources more specifically on bias in educational research include:

For more comprehensive information, see: