Research methodology resources

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This page is a resource page on social science research methodology with a special focus on approaches and methods used in various research types in educational technology.

See also: Methodology tutorial (a crash course with several modules).

Research methodology in educational technology

Educational technology uses the whole palette of social science methodology. Very few approaches originated in our field. One recent example is design-based research (DBR). But even DBR uses methods and techniques developed in other contexts. Of course edutech research does contribute to the evolution of various tools, e.g contributes to the methodology of log file analysis, dialogue and discourse analysis, observation of human-computer interaction, development of survey scales, etc.

See also: Educational technology research approaches for a discussion on what is considered to be good research.

  • Handbook of Research For Educational Communications and Technology is not primarily an introduction to research methods, but it does include 8 chapters on methods). In addition, it indirectly demonstrates how research methods are used in Educational Technology research. Edited by J. Michael Spector, M. David Merrill, Jan Elen, and M.J. Bishop, Fourth edition, ISBN 978-1-4614-3184-8, 1005 pages. You can buy this book, but if you become a member of AECT, it is free.


So far, we don't have a very complete inventory. In particular, good tutorials for qualitative methods are missing...

Literature and Bibliography

See literature review and citation articles

General introduction to research methodology

  • Bill Trochim's nice Knowledge Base. This web-based text-book is a good place to start for quantitative research (including statistics)
  • Research Methods, by Christopher L. Heffner. This ten chapter research methods text is written for both undergraduate and graduate students in education, psychology, and the social sciences. It focuses on the basics of research design and the critical analysis of professional research in the social sciences from developing a theory, selecting subjects, and testing subjects to performing statistical analysis and writing the research report.
  • Shields, Patricia and Hassan Tajalli. 2006. Intermediate Theory: The Missing Link to successful Student Scholarship. Journal of Public Affairs Education. Vol. 12, No. 3: 313-334. PDF reprint
  • Randolph, Justus J. (2007). Multidisciplinary Methods in Educational Technology Research and Development, HAMK Press, HTML / PDF. This is the only book that specifically focuses on educational technology, and it's free!
  • Methodology tutorial (our own crash course with several modules)
  • Research Methods Poster (Gregor Polancic, 2007, made for IT research, but also suitable for social science research).
  • Introduction aux méthodes de la recherche scientifique Teluq University.

See also the books section. There exist good introductory books !



There are loads of tutorials on the web. If you are not happy with this little choice, look this for example.

See also the SPSS entry.

Diagrams and charts for choosing a statistical method/test

Qualitative Research

Network Analysis

  • Link Analysis: An Information Science Approach" by Mike Thelwall. This site contains extra information related to the book. (webometrics). See also the SocSciBot3 software that can be used togetehr with the Pajek program
  • Pajek is a Program for Large Network Analysis (Wiki site)

Big web data

Design methodology

Educational design methodology is not indexed in this page, see instructional design method and its various incarnations, e.g. Instructional systems design

See also: design science and other articles targeted with design methodologies


Some day, I may add more things. In my group, we use mostly Atlas for qualitative and SPSS for quantitative analysis. Some QUAL software is described in Computer assisted qualitative research analysis software and content analysis. Also, follow-up resources in the links section.

Free statistics software
Other stuff
  • NetDraw Network Visualization. Free program for visualizing 1-mode and 2-mode social network data (made by Steve Borgatti and Roberta Chase, Analytic Technologies)
  • Ethno, is an on-line Java program that helps you analyze sequential events.
  • Microsoft Excel: Avoid whenver you can !: However if you really must (e.g. if you don't have cash for SPSS or you if you are too illiterate to download a free stats program), then search for "Using Excel for survey analysis". You then may find resources like:
Online tools
  • WEXTOR is a Web-based tool that lets you quickly design and visualize laboratory experiments and Web experiments in a guided step-by-step process.
  • StatsToDo provides over 200 pages of statistical programs and explanations for clinical research and quality control.

Books and articles


These books and articles should be suitable for beginners, e.g. MA and PhD Students. Before buying any book, you should read customer reviews in online bookstores or other sources. And of course, you shouldn't need more than two of these. Leedy and Ormrod is probably one of the best books to start with.

  • Bell, Judith (2005). Doing Your Research Project: A Guide for First-Time Researchers in Education and Social Science, 4th edition, Buckingham: Open University Press, ISBN 0335215041
  • Cohen, Louis , Lawrence Manion , Keith Morrison (2007). Research Methods in Education, 6th ed. Routledge, ISBN 0415368782.
  • Creswell, John W. (2002). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (2nd Edition), Sage Publications, ISBN 0761924426
  • Creswell, John W. (2004). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research, Prentice Hall; 3rd edition. ISBN 0136135501 - Companion web site
  • Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2005). Practical research: Planning and design (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education. ISBN 0131108956
  • Newman, Lawrence (2005). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, 6th edition. Allyn & Bacon, ISBN 0205457932
  • Newman, Lawrence (2003). Basics of Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. Allyn & Bacon, ISBN 0205355781

Dissertations / writing journal papers

  • Bolker, Joan (1998). Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing, Holt Paperbacks, ISBN 080504891X
  • Peters (1997) Getting What You Came For: A Smart Student's Guide to Earning a Masters or Ph.D.

See also literature review


(This list could be much longer of course)

Quasi-experimental research
  • Cook, Thomas, K. and Campbell, Donald T. (1979). Quasi-Experimentation: Design and Analysis Issues for Field Settings, Houghton Mifflin Company, ISBN-10 0395307902
  • Campbell, Donald T. and Stanley, Julian (1963). Experimental And Quasi-experimental Designs For Research, Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0395307872. (Very old, but still relevant)
Experimental research
  • Box, George E. P.; William G. Hunter; J. Stuart Hunter and William Gordon Hunter (2005). Statistics for Experimenters: Design, Innovation, and Discovery, 2nd edition. John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0471718130. (Rather difficult reading).
Survey research
  • Fowler, Floyd, J. (2001) Survey Research Methods, Sage Publications, ISBN 0761921915
  • DeVellis, R. F. (2003). Scale development: theory and applications. Applied social research methods series Volume 26. Thousand oaks, London, Delhi: Sage Publications.
  • Field, A. P. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS (second edition). London: Sage publications. ISBN 0-7619-4452-4. (Good introduction to statistics book for beginners, and help with SPSS too).
  • Hinton, D. P. R. (2004). Statistics Explained: A Guide for Social Science Students (2nd ed.). Routledge. ISBN 0415332850
Qualitative research
  • Denzin, Norman K. and Yvonna S. Lincoln (eds) (). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, Sage Publications. ISBN 0761927573
  • Miles, Matthew B. and Michael Huberman. (1994) Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook, Sage Publications. ISBN 0803955405
  • Dey, I. (1993). Qualitative Data Analysis. Routledge, London.
  • Marshall, C. & Rossman, G. B. (1995) , Designing Qualitative Research, second edition, Sage, London
  • Hoepfl, Marie C. (1997). Choosing Qualitative Research: A Primer for Technology Education Researchers, Journal of technoloy education, Volume 9, Number 1. HTML.
Case study research
  • Merriam, Sharan B. (1997) Qualitative Research and Case Study Applications in Education, Jossey-Bass, ISBN 0787910090
  • Stake, Robert Earl (1995). The Art Of Case Study Research, Sage Publications, ISBN 080395767X
  • Yin, R.K. (2002) Case Study Research - Design And Methods. Third edition. Sage Publications, ISBN 0761925538 (first edition was in 1984).
Mixed Methods
  • Johnson R.B., Onwuegbuzie A.J., Turner L.A. (2007). Journal of Mixed Methods Research, April 2007 vol. 1 no. 2 112-133. Abstract/PDF
  • Johnson R.B. Comments on Howe: Toward a more inclusive "scientific research in education", (2009) Educational Researcher, 38 (6), pp. 449-457. Abstract.
Applied computer science
  • Pertti Järvinen: On Research Methods. Tampere: Opinpajan Kirja, ISBN 952-99233-1-7 . (This seems to be the only useful general methdology book related to design-oriented technology research. Very dense reading, but worth to buy, directly from the this bookstore or from Granum (tested by me).
Data science

To sort out

  • Fraenkel, J., & Wallen, N. (2006). How to Design and Evaluate Research in Education with PowerWeb (6th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Steiner, E. (1988). Methodology of Theory Building. Sydney: Educology Research Associates.

Methodology Links

(dig around and you will find it)

More General

Qualitative Research

(both formal/structured and unformal)

  • QualPage by Judy Norris. Very good site.

Network Analysis

Quantitative Research

  • Statlib, datasets, scripts for various packages, routines for programmers who want to hack it their own way, etc.
  • Methods in Behavioral Research by Paul C. Cozby. Good structured links for experimental research (according to chapters of his book)
  • The Quant Corner INDEX by Bobbi Kerlin
  • A few links related to Statistics Education by Juha Puranen. Large list of some useful links related to Statistics Education - Online Statistical teaching material, courses , handouts, exercises, articles, datasets. This is the best index I am aware of.
  • Questionnaire (Wikiversity)

Experimental research

  • The web experiment list, University of Deusto. Intended to be the world's most comprehensive archive of current and past psychological Web experiments. So these are good examples.

Associations, Journals, Forums on-line

Data and Question Archives and repositories

Other sorts of data:

  • Data Store. All sorts of data (published by the Guardian newpaper). Some available through a Google spreadsheet.
  • Simon Rogers's Delicious Bookmarks. A few hundred bookmarks on data that are of interest to journalists and others ...

Finding information on the Internet

It is increasingly easy to find academic materials on the Internet. However, for many resources you (or your institution) has to pay.

See also: literature review

Open access

Commercial offerings

There are many, here are just a few: