Sunday, March 01, 2009

Research Editorial Workshop - Session 1

This is the 1st session of the 3-session workshop on Research Editiorial Work, by Dr Soh Kay Cheng.

Know that this is useful to the writing of the Proposal... but thought that I'll be yawning my way through... Surprisingly! No, I was wide awake throughout... perhaps, it's pretty hands-on and it's delivered in an easy to understand manner... of course, also found the opportunity to seek inputs for the Proposal!

Things covered

(A) The structure of an Action Research Paper

1. Introduction

  1. General introduction of the PROBLEM. It comes with a description of a problem
  2. Literature Review of about 6-12 articles within the 5 years. The reading need not be extensive. These articles are to be reflected under Reference.
  3. Specific problem, which could include the hypothesis.
  4. 1st & 3rd points are linked.
2. Method - This is moving into the project

  1. Who are the participants of the research project? Terms used include "Samples", "Subjects" but in this workshop, we will use "Participants".
  2. What are some peculiar characteristics or features about these groups of participants - for instance, the entire group are boys, half the class speak Mandarin at home, etc. This would allow us identify some of the limitations of the research project under Discussion & Conclusion.
  3. Note the terms used: The group that undergoes the research treatment is referred to as "Experimental" group, "Project" group (in this case). The group that does not go through treatment is referred to as "Controlled" group, "Comparison" group (in this case)
  4. Procedure: How the project is carried out. For example: The project group uses ICT in the research whereas the comparison group goes through the tradition chalk-and-talk method. If there are too much details, then reflect key information like timeframe; include others under Appendices.
  5. Measures: How evidences are collected (e.g. by tests)
  6. How data is analysed: Sometimes this component, may or may not be there, it may be subsumed under Procedure.

3. Results

  1. Based on analysis, what's found?
  2. Survey results

4. Discussion & Conclusion

  1. Recap problem - 1 paragraph about what the study is about and who's involved.
  2. Implication for instruction - mention if any contradiction to the literature review (Reflection)
  3. Limitation - It's on the basis that no research is perfect, and therefore there is always room for improvement. For instance, the study only involves boys, hence the outcomes could be different if it's a co-ed class. Note that resource constraints should not be cited here. These are not considered limitations.
  4. Further suggestions.

5. References

  1. List of literature reviews
  2. Needs to be consistent with those quoted under Introduction.

(B) Purpose of Literature Review

  • To see if people have done similar things
  • Look out for pitfalls people have encountered and hence avoid
  • Sometimes, not sure of outcomes; so read to find out to gain more confidence in the research direction

(C) Project Group vs Comparison Group - Mistakes to Avoid

  • This seems to be a common mistake, as mentioned by Dr Soh - that many RA uses the pre/post test of the same class as the basis for 'comparison'!
  • In fact, to carry out research, there must be 2 groups - one that have gone through "treatment" while the other remains "original", go through the kind the conventional approach as usual.
  • Only then we can make a comparison of the 2 groups.

(D) Scoping of Research Topics for Action Research

  • Focus is to solve a classroom instrumental problem.
  • For AR, it should be related to classroom practices - for instance, the use of ICT in learning language; rather then "compare the outcomes when students go through IBL and PBL programmes.

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