Learning to Research, Researching to Learn

Free webinar as part of the Connecting Online for Instruction and Learning Conference

Learn how to incorporate research activities into your online or blended class. Join me for a free webinar: Getting Started: Teaching Online Research Design Basics –  Monday 4 April 2016 – 3 pm (SAST) Find your time zone here.

 

Students in research methods classes benefit from the experiential activities that invite them to develop and practice skills associated with qualitative methods, such as interviewing and observing individuals and groups. Students in other curricular classes, including business or NGO management, sociology or education, benefit from research activities that invite them to bridge theory and practice by learning from practitioners or members of the community. Inquiry models of teaching allow us to create meaningful learning experiences online, for e-learning or blended learning classes.

Few textbooks have journeyed with me over multiple cross-country moves from student days at Cornell University to my current IMG_2895bookshelf. Models of Teaching is one I kept, and then updated to a more current edition (Weil, Joyce, & Calhoun, 2009, pp. 86-87). The models that have intrigued me all these years focus on creating communities of learners through engaging social-learning approaches. Yes, you could say their work represents a social constructivist perspective. And while I have given a lot of thought to social constructivism in the online world (Salmons, 2009, 2015), here I want to look specifically at inquiry models of teaching and how we can use them online to build deeper levels of comprehension.

What are inquiry models? Inquiry models of teaching and to stimulate students’ and participants’ curiosity and build their skills in finding, analyzing, and using new information to answer questions and solve problems. Instead of transferring knowledge, we aim to build new knowledge. Instead of providing facts, we create an environment where students are encouraged to look for new ways of looking at an understanding problems, discern important and relevant concepts, and inductively develop coherent answers or approaches. As Weil et al. (2009) explain:

Humans conceptualize all the time, comparing and contrasting objects, events, emotions – everything. To capitalize on this natural tendency we raise the learning environment to give test the students to increase their effectiveness. Working in using concepts, and we hope that consciously develop your skills for doing so. (p. 86)

They suggest 3 guidelines for designing this kind of learning experience (Weil et al., 2009):

  1. Focus: Concentrate on an area of inquiry they can master.
  2. Conceptual control: Organize information into concepts, and gain mastery by distinguishing between and categorizing concepts.
  3. Converting conceptual understanding to skills: Learn to build and extend categories, manipulate concepts, and use them to develop solutions or answers to the original questions.

How can we use inquiry models online? Online research activities can be incorporated into e-learning or hybrid instruction in formal or informal educational settings that reflect the Weil et al.’s guidelines:

  1. Focus: Assignments can begin with a research plan or design- what information is needed to answer what question? What are the parameters for this assignment, including time constraints?
  2. Conceptual Control: Approaches to gathering information can include online interviews with practitioners, experts, or individuals with experience in the topic at hand. Assignments can include observation of online activities, including social media, communities, and posted discussions. Or, assignments can include research and analysis of documents or visual records available online or in digital libraries or archives. Once information and data has been collected, participants organize, prioritize and describe relationships between key ideas.
  3. Converting conceptual understanding to skills: The above activities are of little use unless students can synthesize and make sense of what they’ve studied. What can they do with what they’ve learned– either to further academic study or to develop practical solutions using these new findings? A first step may be a discussion that where individuals or teams share what they’ve learned and invite new insights from others in the class. At this point they may identify new questions or topics for future inquiry.

Why are inquiry models important today? Educators engage learners when learners are engaged in true inquiry. In the digital age we overwhelmed with information, some of it vetted by editors or reviewers, but much of it made freely available by anyone with a point of view and a smart phone. It is ever more important to develop the skills needed to focus on specific questions and discern relevant and credible evidence as needed to address them. Research activities invite students to build critical thinking skills at the analysis and synthesis level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Whether students or participants are preparing to be scholars or professionals, research skills are essential and modern life. By integrating research experiences into content courses across the curriculum (rather than offer them in methods classes exclusively), students can learn to research and research to learn.

Where can I learn more? Join me for a free webinar: Learning to Research, Researching to Learn on February 5. Enroll here for the Connecting Online for Instruction and Learning Conference to participate in this and other sessions with educators from across the globe. See Doing Qualitative Research Online (2016) and Qualitative Online Interviews (2015), and companion websites, for more assignment suggestions you can adapt to your class.

 

References

Bloom, B., Engelhart, M., Furst, E., Hill, W., & Krathwohl, D. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Book 1, Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay and Company.
Salmons, J. (2009).E_Social_Constructivism_and_Collaborative_E_Learning. In J. Salmons & L. A. Wilson (Eds.), Handbook of research on electronic collaboration and organizational synergy (Vol. II). Hershey: Information Science Reference.
Salmons, J. (2015). Qualitative online interviews. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Salmons, J. (2016). Doing qualitative research online. London: SAGE Publications.
Weil, M., Joyce, B., & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching (8th ed.). Boston Pearson.

 

Find assignment ideas here. Find a discount coupon for purchasing Doing Qualitative Research Online here.

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Learn how to create your own virtual book tour!

TAA

Go on the (Virtual) Road to Promote Your Book

TAA Blog post: 6 Key takeaways from the TAA webinar, ‘Go on the (Virtual) Road to Promote Your Book.’ The recording is online in the member resources. If you are an academic writer, consider joining!

 

road-tripWhether ​ you are self-publishing or working with a major publisher, you will need to actively promote your textbooks and encourage faculty to adopt them. Traditionally, writers have taken book tours and given talks, but textbook publishers are unlikely to fund world travel. Why not offer a book tour online? With the Doing Qualitative Research Online Virtual Book Tour I did just that. While some “virtual book tours” simply place guest posts or advertisements on potential readers’ sites, my highly interactive approach includes webinars and online discussions with groups or classes. In this one-hour webinar, I will share tales from the virtual road and steps you can take to launch your own tour.

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Teach Doing Qualitative Research Online

If you teach research methods and want to update your course– or perhaps add a whole course focused on digital approaches– see this syllabus for ideas. Plug a few units into an existing course or teach the whole class as outlined.

A course syllabus using Doing Qualitative Research Online is available for download here. Find more assignment suggestions here. Still haven’t purchased Doing Qualitative Research Online? Here is a discount coupon.

How can you use mixed & multi methods online?

If you have access to the Oxford Handbooks through your library, you can now read my chapter “Conducting Multimethod and Mixed Methods Research Online” in The Oxford Handbook of Multimethod and Mixed Methods Research Inquiry.
See: http://bit.ly/1ZTr6Fc.

Abstract
This chapter discusses uses of technology in collection of data for multimethods research designs (i.e., research using more than one approach within a qualitative or quantitative paradigm) or mixed methods studies (i.e., research designs that use both qualitative and quantitative approaches). As selected exemplars show, researchers use a wide range of information and communications technologies such as web and videoconferencing conferencing, e-mail, social media, and mapping tools in studies that may occur in a local community or across the globe. Through an analysis of a set of exemplars and a meta-synthesis of the collection, This chapter examines ways that the unique characteristics of communications technologies influence the experiences of researchers and participants and the phenomena being investigated.

Doing Qualitative Research Online

Doing Qualitative Research Online is now available for order from SAGE Publications!

Use this book to think through the options and ethical implications for designing and conducting your own online research using extant, elicited or enacted approaches. Or teach it, and update your research methods course materials. The companion site includes syllabi, articles, media and lots of assignment ideas.

 

Social Research Methods for a Social Age?

Social Research Methods for a Social Age?

Social Media in Social Research is an e-book assembled by the UK NatCen. It brings together short pieces by a global group of scholars, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Hear from some of the authors here: http://youtu.be/GalSXmm4LWs and find the e-book on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1xcOPoo.

I am pleased to be a part of this innovative project! My chapter, “Online Research Ethics: Questions Researchers Ask, Answers Guidelines Provide” is the result of an in-depth qualitative study of our network members’ ethical dilemmas and an analysis of research ethics codes to see whether and how they address social media and online research. I’ve posted a list of codes and resources. Here is a short introduction to my chapter: 

I hope that after you read the book you will join in the network activities. I’ve posted information about coming Tweetchats. The next one is on November 17, on “Ready, set, research!: accessing funds and data.”

 

New text: Entrepreneurial Women

New text: Entrepreneurial Women

Entrepreneurial Women: New Management and Leadership Models is now available in print, e-book is coming soon. The book is available from the publisher, Amazon and your favorite bookstores.

I contributed a chapter, “Putting the ‘E’ in Entrepreneurship: Women Entrepreneurs in the Digital Age” to this 2-volume set. Learn more, and find a discount coupon Entrepreneurial Women.

Online Interviews for Active Learning Webinar (Archive)

View the recorded webinar here.

See sample exercises: E-Interviews for Active Learning in Class Projects.

Communications technologies allow us to keep in touch with far-flung friends and family, to work remotely, and to teach and learn online. We probably make different choices for the technology we use when we want to see the new baby across the country, versus when we are trying to finish a report we are writing with a colleague who is in another part of the world. Similarly, when we decide to use online communications technologies for research interviews, we need to make numerous decisions about which mode best supports the goal of the exchange. Then, we need to decide how to go about conducting the interview given that technology– how to create trust, develop rapport, and ask questions that will generate rich answers. Even though we may feel comfortable with our skills to communicate online, doing interviews requires another level of thinking and planning. How do we learn such skills? The availability of online communications tools means we can use e-interviews as experiential learning exercises in classes to achieve curricular goals as well as to develop online research skills.

This session will focus on use of online interviews in a) research methods courses to give students practice in planning and conducting interviews and b) in courses on other topics, where instructors want to bring real-world expertise into the discussion by having students interview practitioners. In either case, students are learning scholarly research skills and developing digital literacies in addition to gaining real-world perspectives on course content. Sample exercises will be offered that you can adapt for your own classes.

 

Qualitative Online Interviews: Online Book Launch Events

Free webinars, discussions and tweetchats about using e-interviews in research.

Qualitative Online Interviews is now available in May from Sage Publications or your favorite bookseller. A series of online events will celebrate this book launch with far-reaching dialogue and exchange. See a video introduction to the new book and find more information posted on this site, including sample course outlines with assignments and learning activities ready for you to adapt to the needs of your own classes. For a limited time, you can use this Online Interviews Promo discount from Sage for Qualitative Online Interviews and/or Online Interview Research.

Free Synchronous & Asynchronous Events!

  • Online Interviews for Active Online Learning: Free webinar with IT4ALL
     June 7 at 11 AM EST
    http://blog.wiziq.com/start-summer-moodle-mooc-4 Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning, or IT4ALL founder Dr. Nellie Deutsch contributed to Cases in Online Interview Research. IT4ALL offers professional development and exchange for educators who use online technologies.
  • e/merge Africa Events,  July 21-25: Use What You Have: Online, Hybrid and Low-Bandwidth Option  Details TBA. e/merge is an educational technology network that offers professional development and exchange for educators and students throughout Africa.

Learn more and keep in touch!

“This book is ahead of its time. It tackles the complicated matter of merging technology with research in a rather lucid manner.” —David Lee Carlson, Arizona State University

“The text is an excellent example for providing effective and efficient instruction. Learners can easily navigate the various components, and it can be used for self-study. . . . Marvelous depth of coverage on the online interview process. It is at the leading edge of thinking in the field of e-research.” —Anne-Marie Armstrong, Colorado Technical University

“[This is] a very thoughtful and engaged text on very important 21st century issues. Concepts, even very difficult ones, are explained clearly and gracefully.”—Laura J. Hatcher, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Follow me on @einterview, Linked In or Facebook for event announcements. 

Tag Cloud for Qualitative Online Interviews manuscript
Tag Cloud for Qualitative Online Interviews manuscript