A Journey Through Technology

What will you have to know and do to begin your research?

on September 19, 2015

As I get ready to begin my classroom research, there are a few things I need to know about before I can get started. The first thing I really need to know is the problem that I am trying to solve. “A first principle…of action research is that it focuses on a “problematic situation” in practice.” (Merriam, 2016, p.50) At this point, I feel like my problem is keeping students engaged for the entire class period. At some point during each class, I think every students is engaged in some capacity, but I can tell that it does not last the entire class period for many of them.

I also need to know the question I will be trying to answer with this research. Right now I feel like a good question for me to study is “Will the use of student response devices increase student engagement in my class?” I know this is just my starting point, but it’s okay for this question to change as my research progresses. “In qualitative research it is perfectly okay to make adjustments to your research question as the inquiry develops, but it is critical that you are aware when these adjustments are made and make the appropriate adjustments to your design.” (Chenail, p.1717)

The next thing that I need to do for my research project is to start my literature review. “The literature may be fully reviewed and used to inform the questions actually asked, it may be reviewed late in the process of research, or it may be used solely to help document the importance of the research problem. ” (Creswell, p.50) Since I am performing my literature review at the beginning of the research process, it is likely my research question will change, but “in action research studies, the research design continues to unfold as researcher and participants collect and analyze data and make decisions for the next phase of the study.” (Merriam, 2016, p.50)



Chenail, R. (2011, November 1). Ten Steps for Conceptualizing and Conducting Qualitative Research Studies in a Pragmatically Curious Manner. The Qualitative Report, 1713-1730.

Creswell, J. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed., p. 50). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Merriam, S., & Merriam, S. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed., pp. 22-72). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


4 responses to “What will you have to know and do to begin your research?

  1. Tristan Leiter says:

    I found it interesting that in the book it said that the research could be done at any point, beginning, middle, or late in the game. It seems like when I was in school the research was always done first and you didn’t change what you were researching, at least that’s what I’m remembering about my high school years. So when I read about that it seemed to be a little weird to me, but it totally makes sense as research projects aren’t set in stone and they tend to change depending on the participants and research we find as we go along.


  2. pwjohnsen says:

    I keep reading that AR has the ability to change throughout the process. however, it seems a “but” is always included. I am wondering if actual changes to an AR question or AR design is wise. Or, if it is best to stick with the initial design as much as possible.


    • Sarah K says:

      I agree with you about not changing things too much. I think because we are limited in the amount of time we can spend on this project, it wouldn’t make sense to change the question or design much during this project. But, I could tweak things a bit and continue later on my own, which I’m hopefully going to do if my project heads in the right direction.


      • clindquist17 says:

        I had to change my research that I did last spring for a different class. I had to tweak it right before I started the second week and it actually gave me a really good comparison. Because of that, I think that tweaking can be a good idea. I agree that changing it could be problematic.


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