Unit 3, Activity 3: Reflection on George Velatsianos Podcast

One talking point of George Velatsianos’s podcast that resonated with me was the idea that we shouldn’t always focus on technology. It reminded me of a situation I faced in a previous job; a new software application was being implemented that would house our department’s documentation and help automate our processes. While the application was very promising, I felt that those in charge of its implementation were too focused on the end result (i.e., how the application would work) as opposed to what was required to reach the end result. Subsequently, other work started to be ignored in favor of it being put into the new application, yet the implementation process dragged on for over a year, leaving our team further behind that when we started. At one point I tried to convince my colleagues that we were focused on the wrong issue and simply said “It’s just a tool”, but this was also ignored. If this were to happen in an educational setting, it’s possible that students could be deprived of a great educational experience in favor of a fancy technology, which I think everyone would agree, beats the purpose of implementing technology. However, much like George said that there are many positives and opportunities of being present online, this is also true of technology in education, so I remain optimistic that educational researchers have the best interests of students in mind when they propose such technologies.

As some of you know, I have already completed LRNT 523, and assuming this year’s class will be assigned the same readings, you will be reading Martin Weller’s 25 Years of EdTech. It outlines technologies that have been introduced over the past 25 years, one technology per year. One of the interesting themes that I gleaned from this book was that some technologies were not readily accepted when they were first introduced. Connecting this with the idea that we shouldn’t always focus on technology, I wonder why then some technologies are accepted and some are not. As well, for those technologies that aren’t accepted, I wonder if it’s because they are addressing the wrong issue, and as George suggested, instead need to be addressed through a policy or process change, or whether it’s due to it being a weak technology?

Another talking point of the podcast that resonated with me was the advice George gave about researching what interests you. This is very timely as I now have to focus on what my topic will be for my applied research project or digital learning research consulting project. I can’t say I know the answer to that question just yet, so likely I will have to do further research to see what’s out there and hopefully I can find a topic that I am both interested in and motivated to learn. 

 

References

Veletsianos, G. (2021, August 11). Personal interview [Personal interview].

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press.

 

Unit 1, Activity 3: What makes a good research question

According to Lipowski (2008), while formulating a good research question is paramount in research, there is little guidance on how to do so, however, it is a skill that can be cultivated through colleagues and mentors. It is proposed that researchers follow these three steps to develop a good research question:

1. Ask interesting questions

Researchers should consider their personal experiences when formulating a research question by considering what is currently missing or problematic in their field of study. Emotional and reason should also be considered as it is suggested that “good questions arise from both intellectual and visceral responses to the…environment” (p. 1667).  New researchers can also rely on their inexperience in their field of study when contemplating a research question. Overall, it is important to remember that “interesting research questions always challenge assumptions, and the presence of assumptions confirms that a study poses a sound research question” (p. 1669).

2. Select the best question for research

While inquisitive minds can formulate many interesting questions, it is suggested that researchers should also consider formulating a research question from the analysis of evidence and the goal of their project, and to avoid questions that are too broad. Overall, it is important to remember that “a research question is a logical statement that progresses from what is known or believed to be true to that which is unknown and requires validation” (p. 1668). 

3. Turn the research question into a testable question

Researchers should consider formulating a research question based on a measurable hypothesis. It is suggested that hypotheses predict the answers to research questions, and thus, “hypotheses are statements, that, if true, would explain the researchers’ observations” (p. 1669). Overall, it is important to remember that “research should not be embarked on with the idea that the empirical evidence will prove truth”, but rather “research can…demonstrate the utility of an idea within a specific context” (p. 1670).

 

References

Lipowski, E. E. (2008). Developing great research questions. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy : American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy65(17), 1667-1670. http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=b1903395-d1c6-4880-a954-c1b3f6ad374a%40sessionmgr103