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Research Methodology and Philosophical Assumptions Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Apr 30th, 2021

Philosophy of the Methodology

The concept of flipped classrooms in the EFL context along with the challenges of teachers while implementing this practice in higher education can be discussed and researched in a variety of ways. During the last several years, the idea of design-based research has proved its potential and the possibility to unite different environments, including education, investigation, technology, and other real-life problems (Kennedy-Clark, 2013).

This paradigm is defined as flexible, systematic methodology with the goal to improve existing educational practices through the prism of researchers’ collaboration and its main characteristics, also known as cycles like analysis, design, development, and implementation (Wang & Hannafin, 2005). The strength of this research approach is the possibility to reflect on each cycle following nine main principles to plan and implement new technological approaches.

A design-based research approach can be used for different purposes. For example, Herrington, McKenney, Reeves, and Oliver (2007) state that this method helps incorporate several solutions to one particular problem that exists in learning environments with the identification of the most appropriate design principle. Cotton, Lockyer, and Brickell (2009) underline the possibility for practitioners and researchers to improve their interactions and achieve direct benefits with the chosen research context.

According to Wang and Hannafin (2005), design-based research can be properly integrated into technology-enhanced learning environments where students gain new skills, receive academic help, and use different technological resources. This research method was chosen for this project to create a solid background for learning and improving a real-life problem of the lack of knowledge about flipped classrooms among both EFL teachers and students.

The discussion of ontological and epistemological issues cannot be neglected in this project as it helps to make a correct decision and understand the essence of the chosen systematic design-based research approach. Ontology aims at discussing the type of reality that can be inherent to current research. Epistemology, in its turn, focuses on the measurements of this reality and the methods of its interpretation. There are several paradigms with its characteristics according to which researchers should work: positivism (one reality is supported), constructivism (several truths are based on individuals’ opinions), or pragmatism (new realities are possible regarding unpredictable situations).

In this case, the ontology of research is based on the necessity to work with new ideas because of new achievements and discoveries. The epistemology of research is to concentrate on solving problems and promoting change by designing new approaches and ideas. It means that the current research topic has to be discussed through a pragmatism paradigm where the solution to the problem (the lack of knowledge and experience) can be made.

The combination of design-based research and pragmatism paradigm creates many opportunities for researchers. For example, it is possible to use different methods and interventions to discuss the activities and find a possible solution to the already identified problem (Shattuck & Anderson, 2013). This approach allows analyzing, designing, implementing, and evaluating various ideas at different periods of time. In this research project, mixed methods will be applied to gather both qualitative and quantitative data to obtain profound outcomes and give the answers to research questions (Dieronitou, 2014).

Triangulation is the method that helps to mitigate biased threats and remove irrelevant subjective opinions (McKenney & Reeves, 2012). Interviews with teachers, classroom observations, and questionnaires for students will be developed to gather enough information and complete each stage of the design-based research approach successfully.

There are four main stages of the current research approach:

  1. Need and problem analysis is required to understand recent learning environments, students’ expectations, and teachers’ challenges in implementing flipped classrooms;
  2. Introduction and development of a new platform that is based on special web tools is an option that cannot be ignored;
  3. Evaluation of a flipped classroom in EFL higher education promotes new needs’ identification and refining the design principles;
  4. Documentation and reflection on a new design help identify final improvements and continue its integration.

Ethical Considerations

One of the crucial parts of any research is the consideration of ethical principles. It is required to obtain ethical approvals to solve the educational problem within the frames of the design-based research approach. First, the appropriate research ethics committee has to be involved. Then, the approvals from the University of (insert the title) and the University (insert the title) as the direct participants of the study should be received.

All stakeholders must be informed about research goals, activities, and duration. They need to know what kind of personal information can be available to all readers, and what data may stay confidential. Their participation is voluntary, and they can withdraw the study anytime they find it appropriate. The roles of a researcher and a teacher have to be clearly identified before the study. Finally, all the participants should leave their feedback to promote changes and improvements and make sure that all objectives and procedures are followed and properly organized according to the established ethical standards of a design-based research study.

References

Cotton, W., Lockyer, L., & Brickell, G. J. (2009). A journey through a design-based research project. In G. Siemens & C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of world conference on educational multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications 2009 (pp. 1364-1371). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

Dieronitou, I. (2014). The ontological and epistemological foundations of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research with particular reference to content and discourse analysis of textbooks. International Journal of Economics, 2(10), 1-17.

Herrington, J., McKenney, S., Reeves, T., & Oliver, R. (2007). Design-based research and doctoral students: Guidelines for preparing a dissertation proposal. In C. Montgomerie & J. Seale (Eds.), Proceedings of world conference on educational multimedia, hypermedia and telecommunications 2007 (pp. 4089-4097). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.

Kennedy-Clark, S. (2013). Research by design: Design-based research and the higher degree research student. Journal of Learning Design, 6(2), 26-32.

McKenney, S., & Reeves, T. C. (2012). Conducting educational design research. New York, NY: Routledge.

Shattuck, J., & Anderson, T. (2013). Using a design-based research study to identify principles for training instructors to teach online. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(5), 187-210.

Wang, F., & Hannafin, M. J. (2005). Design-based research and technology-enhanced learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(4), 5-23.

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