What will I research for my dissertation? Since there’s a lack of K-12 research on educational gaming, I want to address this important vehicle for instruction. Besides, gaming as an instructional strategy is a hot topic now. I’ve blogged about the empirical evidence of how gaming improves vocabulary development. See Gaming as an Instructional Strategy for Language Learning.
Here’s a list and brief description of the five types of qualitative research with examples of possible gaming studies:
- Case Study- This looks at a particular situation known as a bounded system. For instance, a researcher could study a class or grade level’s use of a particular educational game. Educational case studies serve as examples of a particular tool or strategy.
- Ethnography- This studies the culture and beliefs of a people. For example, a researcher could study the children’s games particular to the Choctaw Nation by focusing on the attitudes, material used, practices, and values associated with their game play. A best practice is to include someone from within the target population on your research team. Educational researchers engage in ethnography studies that relate to learning.
- Grounded Theory- This is an exploratory research study that inductively generates a theory based on data collection. One could collect data on teachers who use gaming with children for instructional purposes and postulate a theory on the type of teacher who is most likely to use gaming in the classroom. This is a type of action research that is ongoing. Each new study could develop into more ideas for inquiry based on the previous patterns observed.
- Historical- This is also called narrative research. It’s a chronological study of the accounts of a particular concept. For example, one could study the historical use of computer-based gaming for educational purposes in primary schools. Historical studies can begin where others have left off, or perhaps revisit past accounts for new revelations.
- Phenomenology- This is basically the study of a particular phenomenon. A researcher could capture teachers’ responses to well-designed educational games by having the teachers experience the game itself (not just read or hear about it). Then describe their experience through descriptive analysis.