Thursday, August 2, 2007

Quantitative Research yet Worthy?

I comment here in reaction to Will's post about Change at the University level. Also, my Scribefire decided to work finally, so this is a great excuse to try it out! (terrible motives, I know)
I just took an online course with a very traditional online industrial age professor and I so wish I had the web2.0 challenges mentioned here. I think I would have been able to do such a better job.
This begs the question, which tools need we implement and facilitate at the k12 level in preparation for the work world and/or the college/university world. familiarity with which tools is not essential at the k12 level?
I was speaking earlier with a gentleman looking for quantitative research data on the efficacy of web2.0 tools in the classroom. While a wealth of teacher observation exists, which personally is more valuable than cold science, peer-reviewed, published, quantitative research studies do not yet exist.
These are a relic of the industrial age. I wonder if they hold any water anymore? What do you think?
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Alec Couros said...

Having used both quantitative and qualitative research methods in regards to educational technology research, I agree with you when you say that qualitative is "personally more valuable". However, there is a place for quantitative in research as well. Universities, especially education has seen this real pendulum swing since the late 80's/early 90's where qualitative has really taken over. However, I see the pendulum swinging back now a bit, and note that many researchers in education are seeing the value of quantitative research (again), but now, very few know how to actually perform the research. I now prefer mixed methods (i.e., a bit of both). Quantitative results can be used to support qualitative conclusions and vice versa. Together, if used well, and balanced appropriately, they can be a very powerful duo.

Durff said...

Yes, for web1.0, but is the quantitative appropriate for web2.0? I have done both as well in the web1.0 world, but I'm thinking we may see something new emerge with which neither one of us is familiar...

Alec Couros said...

I think you are correct in saying that we may see something that neither of us will be familiar with (just look at the stuff we have today - who woulda thunk it?)

However, I just don't see the power of statistics and mathematics just disappearing. There will always be an appeal there to some, and not just for politicians and government. While I enjoy personal anecdotes, rich stories, multimedia, imagery, video, etc., I still see and enjoy the power of mathematical statistics ... and know there are many others that feel the same way.

I believe good research can appeal to and is usable to a wide audience. If quantitative research is done in a manner that is accessible to non-research communities, there is value. Is there more value? Interesting question that could be debated both qualitatively AND quantitatively. :-)

Cheers. Thanks for making me think.

Durff said...

While you are thinking...Troy Hicks was looking for research proving that web2.0 apps are effective. Know any? I didn't...