When our Educational Design Research course began a mere 15 weeks ago, I struggled to grasp both the formatting of EDR articles and the components that comprised the methodology. Though the purpose of EDR as an application of theory to real world settings was clear, the types of cycles, phases, and theoretical underpinnings mystified me. After reading numerous EDR studies and undergoing the difficult challenge of preparing my own EDR proposal, I am left with a deeper understanding of the method. That being said, I still have plenty to learn about the complexities of design in EDR.
An EDR Dissertation?
When this semester began I could not foresee any way of using EDR for my dissertation. At first glance it seemed too lengthy and cumbersome a method to undertake as a culminating doctoral program study. Many EDR studies take place over the course of many years – a time frame no doctoral student hopes for in the dissertation process.
Throughout my tenure in the Ed Tech doctoral program, I have written numerous research proposals meant to take place theoretical settings. Having been an educational consultant, instructional coach, and professor, I have a preference for intervention based, qualitative research. Each time I wrote a proposal, I would find myself worrying about how I would make these studies happen when the time came to conduct research on my own. Who would I contact to participate? If not nearby, how would I get to them?
Though it seems frowned upon, I have always wanted to study my local area – my students, my courses, and my designs. I wanted to be both the researcher and the practitioner. After all, many educators act as defacto researchers in their classrooms, continually adjusting lessons and assessments based on student need. Who wouldn’t want to use that work to develop relevant, publishable research? Before EDR, I didn’t think such a study would be possible.
I am intrigued by the possibility of studying an intervention in a local context through successful completion. I see this as one of the most relevant contributions to research an educational technologist can make to the field. At this point, I’m stuck as to whether I want to pursue EDR for my dissertation. I’m not ruling it out but I do think that I would have to develop a more thorough understanding of study design before proceeding. I worry about my tendency to get lost in ideas – an issue that could prove disastrous when paired with the large scale of many EDR studies.
In order to make such a decision, I would have to explore EDR further. Even after writing a proposal, I know I have deficiencies in understanding how to craft a theoretical foundation from the literature (especially when the literature lacks empirical studies) and in the detailed design of the micro cycles. Though I was able to develop these in my proposal, I believe I would need even more development to implement the study successfully.
Thoughts on Peer Review
This semester, each of us conducted a total of four peer reviews of the EDR proposals generated this semester. I felt that learned more from this activity than any other with the exception of drafting mo]y own proposal. Writing an EDR proposal is no easy feat due to the complexities and detail of the study design. At times, I struggled to maintain clarity while conveying detailed information. Being able to see how others organized and developed their proposals helped me tremendously. Receiving feedback from my peers about areas needed clarity helped to guide my writing and revisions.