Archive for the ‘Research Method’ Category

New Eyes

A New Baby

Walking through in the dark

Neutral, comfort, and warm

Nothing is good and nothing is bad

Everything is sameness

My surroundings are the same

Climate, pattern, and texture

There is no friction, no sensation

I can see but there is nothing interesting

I felt nothing from within myself

Living in isolated environment

Untouched and untouchable

I want to outgrowing, but the nature rejected me

I want to sustain my independent life

I want to see the world

The other climate, pattern, and texture

I have brain to think critically

I have heart to feel the difference

I have skin to keep me warm

I have muscles to keep me moving

Someone shows me, there is the other world

More exciting, interesting, and challenging

Different world, eligibility, freedom, equality

My neuron is working, my heart is beating, and my skin is tremble

Can I move to the other world?

The layer is opening, slowly, slowly, and moving

I am moving smoothly, regularly, gradually

I am moving towards the new way of life

But the my comfort area must diminish

Open my heart to receive the other sight

Keep it tight to remind me in the long way

Even it is still in limited space

I still can move with my struggle

However, my journey is not quite over yet

Someone remind me, I have to back

Not to be influenced but I have to be the wax in the dark

I have to struggle with my new world and the previous one

To living safely here and there

My new life-support system will help me to survive

Effort still have to be made

Effort which may or may not be painful as we know pain

The effort to be a struggle baby

Realizing that journey is still in the long way

Perhaps I will struggle

Perhaps someone will help me to be an initiator

Inspired by baby’s journey to life in the “Baby & child: From birth to age five”, Penelope Leach, 1977.

My eyes are open to see the other view of educational research. It is not only the simple way to control human behaviour. It also involves the ethical issues. I realize that it does not I have to stand only in one paradigm, but at least I know what the best way to create the improvement and the changes. I want to do the research which is useful not only for my professional context, but also for other. Creating the meaningful activities is my direction to interact with others. It is not only in educational research, but also in my teaching and learning process. However, it is a conflict within my heart; can I apply all of the new things in my world? I am only like a baby, just born with less experience. I need to be struggling to bring the new paradigms in my world, which is positivist, and science is the truth. Therefore, I still have to think, what are the strategies that I have to create to help me survive?


Ethical Issues in Educational Research

Ethics concern with all the human interaction, including human research (Australian Vice-Chancellor’s committee, 2007). Educational research is a part of human research which has potential ethical problems. Therefore, “Each stage in the research sequence may be a potential source of ethical problems (Cohen,, 2000, p.49). There are “three primary ethical principles: (1)autonomy and self-determination, (2) beneficence, (3) Justice” (Antle & Regehr, 2003, p.136). “Ethical concerns arise in connection with core values the researcher holds, as in the case of honesty or justice (Kakabadse, Kakabadse, & Kouzmin, 2002, p.107). Therefore, the researchers feel that the ethical rules will limit their effectiveness doing research (Burns, 1996). However, the ethics is the part important of the research process. Therefore, in my research, I try to investigate it carefully to cope with the ethical problems. There are several ethical issues while I am conducting my research: access and acceptance, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, misinterpretation and misrepresenting of data.

The first ethical issue is access and acceptance. “The initial stage of research project-that of access to the institution or organization where the research to be conducted, and acceptance by those whose permission one needs before embarking the task” (Cohen,, 2000, p.53). Furthermore, “access to personal records, both as a primary or secondary source of data, must be approached both ethically and legally (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998, p.21). In this research, I will investigate the laboratory activities in my university, interview my colleagues, analytical chemistry lecturers, students, my assistants, and laboratory staff, analyze some official documents such as a practicum book and students’ experiment report. Therefore, I need to get the permission from my head department to do this research. I will inform the information about the aims, nature and procedures of this research (Cohen,, 2000). I hope that the information will help me to get access and acceptance to my research. Through this access and acceptance, I can do the interviews which will be done through the emails, and my assistant will send the documents and the practicum book through mail. I also need stories from others who help me apply green chemistry approaches and metacognitive skills. Therefore, I need to get access and acceptance. I realize that “achieving goodwill and co-operation is especially important where the proposed research extends over a period time” (Cohen,, 2000, p.54).

The informed consent (see appendix 1.) will offer the information to the participants about “the nature and the purpose of the research, the risks, and benefits” (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998, p.18). Furthermore, “Informed consent is a central canon of research ethics policy ( Halse & Honey, 2005, p. 2148). According to Anderson & Arsenault (1998), my informed consent will involves the purpose of the research, risks and discomfort, benefits, participant’s right and statement. I realize that my informed consent have to “ensure the individual’s mental capacity, disclose sufficient information, provide suffiecient time and privacy, provide the safeguard, ensure the individual’s awareness” (Antle & Regehr, 2003, p.137).

My research will involve the semistructured interviews such as participants’ opionion, subjectivity, relationship, and life story. I try to meet the ethics requirements through giving list of interview questions for my participants (see appendix 2 for interview protocol). I also will give information of the time consuming and the process of interviews.

Privacy and confidentially need to be addressed. I will explore the phenomenon of my students’ opinions and behaviours when I applied metacognitive skills and green chemistry approaches. Some stories will be related with their personal experiences, such as their misunderstanding. Therefore, I have to respect their individual privacy. “It is the duty of researcher to protect the identity of individuals, there is a distinction between one’s public role and private life” (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998, p.21). I also have to be aware with my institution privacy, because I will describe some of the weakness of the laboratory in my department such as safety and management. “ Having emphaty can be beneficial in research…if [the confidential information is] not handle correctly, can cause discomfort and even a job loss” ( Goffee & Jones, 2000 as cited in Kakabadse, Kakabadse, & Kouzmin, 2002, p.122). Keeping the participants and institution as anonymous as possible, using the promise of confidential (Anderson & Arsenault, 1998; Cohen,, 2000). I also have to protect my privacy which related with my professional development. The risk that I will face is investigating the background of applying green chemistry approaches. I need to describe how the weakness of safety and management in laboratory, such as using the dangerous chemical substances. The story will relate to the reputation of university and some people who include in this story. It is also related to my professional development as a lecturer when I am back to my university. However, the story is very important because the accident which caused me poisoned, motivated me to improve the quality of the laboratory such as using green chemistry approaches. Therefore, I need to use the appropriate language to describe it properly. I also need to protect the name and the way to access the private information. In addition, I will use pseudonym through changing my participants’ name. Hence, the information will not be published or used for any other purposes from this research.

Adequate interpretation and representation of data must be addressed. My subjectivity can influence the research process and the possibility of interpretation and respresentation of data (Kakabadse, Kakabadse, & Kouzmin, 2002). I realize that I have to remember my experiences one year ago when I applied metacognitive skills and green chemistry approaches. It is not only difficult for me to interpret my experiences but also other peoples’ perspective and behaviour. Therefore, I will ask them to write the stories on the same phenomena to check my stories from a different perspective. This form of member checking will be important to avoid the misinterpretation of my stories. This collaboration will reduce “the potential gap between narrative told and narrative reported” (Clandini & Connelly, 2000 as cited in Creswell, 2005, p. 483). The narrative inquiry is the predominant method that I will use in this research. Therefore, my stories and other people’s stories will be represented to answer my research questions. I have to be aware that I cannot only focus to answer my research questions but also I have to outweigh the risks and benefits to professional development, my institution participants, and myself. Therefore, I will ask my participants to comment on relevant parts of my report which represent their perceptions, behaviour and cultural context (Cohen,, 2000). Therefore, I need to “be compassionate to individuals and avoid language that discriminates on basis of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnic group” (Creswell, 2005, p.11). The appropriate language will help me to avoid this conflict.

Epistemological, Ontological, and Methodological

There are three assumptions in research: epistemological, ontological, and methodological. Epistemological refers to the ways to acquire the knowledge (Alan Bryman, 2001). The knowledge those are acceptable in certain paradigms. For example, epistemological in the normative paradigm is how the social world can investigate as natural science. Hypotheses have to test by empirical approaches. The results have to be objective through scientific method. In contrast, epistemology in interpretive is acquire the knowledge by investigate the phenomena in many ways, because the social context is different from natural science. Therefore, investigation the social phenomena can result many interpretations. Furthermore, in critical theory, practical issues can construct the knowledge. It tends to change the certain conditions through criticizing the practical, politics, and social issues. Therefore, the results can be subjective.

Furthermore, ontological assumption concerns on the nature of the world and human being in social contexts (Alan Bryman, 2001). There are different assumptions to see the world as outside individual. Therefore, ontology in normative emphasis that social phenomenon is independent from other factors. The world is one that there are no other perceptions. In contrast, interpretive emphasize that the world in social phenomena has different meanings. One factor influences the change in social context. As a result, different researches can have different conclusions for one observation. On the other hand, critical theory paradigm tends to see the world as something that has to change. It involves criticizing and the social phenomena and changing it based on the interrogations of the phenomena both social and individual.

Finally, methodological assumption focuses on analysis of the methods used for gaining the data (Louis Kohen, Lawrence Manion, Keith Morrison, 2001). In normative paradigms, scientific method, quantitative is used to observe the objects. It uses mathematics calculation to generalize the finding and test the theory. In contrast, an interpretive paradigm uses observation, fieldwork note to investigate the object. In short, an interpretive paradigm tends to use qualitative methods for observation. As a result, the findings can be open to many interpretations. On the other hand, methodology in critical theory tends to use both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Quantitative to control the social setting when doing the actions and qualitative to observe the changes that happened after the actions are given.

The Nature and Characteristics of Educational Research

The nature of educational research is analogous with the nature of research itself, which is systematic, reliable and valid to find the “truth”, investigates knowledge, and solves problems (William Wiersma, 1991). Moreover, educational research process involves steps to collect the information in order to investigate problems and knowledge. However, the educational research is more complex because it can use various approaches and strategies to solve problems in educational setting. It also can involve many disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, behaviour, and history. In addition, educational research is important because of contributing knowledge development, practical improvement, and policy information (John W.Creswell, 2005). Therefore, educators can use those research findings to improve their competences and teaching and learning process.

Furthermore, the characteristics of educational research are a part of its nature. According to Gary Anderson (1998), there are ten characteristics of educational research. I tried to classify those into three categories, which are the purpose of research, the procedures of research, and the role of researcher. The purposes of research are to solve the problems, investigate knowledge, and establish the principles in educational phenomena. In short, it focuses on solving the problems and developing knowledge. Furthermore, procedure is an important characteristic of educational research, which involves colleting data with accurate observation, objective interpretation, and verification. Finally, researchers need to be experts and familiar with their field of study, using the data to develop solutions and increase knowledge. The researchers also need to be patient and careful to use every step of research’s procedures to achieve the purpose of research.

Research Paradigms

There are three research paradigms in educational research: normative, interpretive, and critical theory. Each of those paradigms has advantages and limitation. The normative paradigm is one paradigm, which tends to control the research condition such as human behaviours through scientific methods (Douglas,1973). Because it is controlled, normative paradigm tends to generalize the findings with one truth. The advantage is easy to be objective in normative research because it is very structured and clear. The weakness is not all phenomena in education can be investigated as well as nature phenomena such behaviour, motivation, values, etc. Related to positivism and post positivism paradigms, normative related to positivism paradigm because it concern to find the truth with controlled condition, observable in scientific way. Even though it is very difficult to find the “one truth” in social context such as education, for example students’ achievement cannot be influenced by one factor. It is difficult to isolate people and control the result exactly as well as nature phenomena

However, Interpretative is one paradigm, which studies an individual with their characteristics, human, has different behaviours, opinions, and attitudes (Louis Kohen, Lawrence Manion, Keith Morrison, 2001). The advantage is finding meaningful observation of objects. The meaningful will be more valuable than one generalization. However, the weakness is the results can be more complex to analysis and interpret those objectively. In addition, it is more subjective to interpret the phenomena. However, it is more difficult to be objective in human research than science setting. Therefore, for post positivism paradigms, it tends to be subjective. In addition, data analysis have to use the logical reasoning (a thinking process) and explain those with generalization. In educational research, generalization is also difficult because of the complexity of educational phenomena. Related to positivism and post positivism paradigms, interpretive is part of post positivism paradigms, because it uses many perspectives to study the phenomena. Its very natural research, it can observe the situation with different view to solve the problems. Therefore, it results many solutions and interpretations.

Finally, critical theory is “explicitly prescriptive and normative, entailing a view of what behaviour in a social democracy should entail” (Fay, 1987:Morison 1995). It considers the power of social politics and ideology, which influence the educational research. The advantage is the improvement that it done. In critical theory, finding the issues is important and more subjective. Because the main objective is to improve the practical field, change the situation with the action such as action research. The action can be change everyday to improve the quality, change and solve the problems. Therefore, the solutions are constructed by the reality. The weakness is its also difficult to conclude many interpretations. It is also need great skills to aware about the changes which use as next actions. Related to positivism and post positivism paradigms, critical theory can use both positivism and post positivism paradigms, because it uses positivism to control the environment to observe the change and post positivism to interpreter their object.

see the overview of research paradigms