Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Redefining the Research Question

The project outline shown in the previous post is a development of an earlier idea. After reflecting on a discussion with my tutor about the initial project proposal, I realised that the outline that I had previously produced had not entirely captured my research interests. I wanted to convey more of a focus on learning in relation to the Masters course and to clarify my interests in wider context. Reading around the topic was a useful way to help refine my ideas and map out more meaningful research questions. The literature I looked at covered broad themes of collaborative learning, social learning, and connectivism along with case study examples of using social media tools as a learning technology. I also looked at literature on the process of action research, which I found both insightful and inspirational. A literature review will be included in the final report.

These articles and studies have helped to strengthen the focus of my inquiry and informed the refined project question. The main research question/hypothesis that I will be testing is:

How can opportunities for collaborative learning between Masters students/staff be enhanced, by using Diigo and Twitter to share knowledge, information and learning resources?

This action research project will test the hypothesis above by addressing these key questions:

What are the key concerns or barriers to participation in social bookmarking and Twitter activities? What training, guidance or support would address this?

What would motivate and increase participation in Twitter and Diigo activities? For example, assessed activities, specific subject/topics, timing of activities?

The questions outlined below will form the basis of the questionnaires and interviews. Some of these questions will be explored through a literature review.

What are the benefits of using Diigo and Twitter on the Masters programme?
What is collaborative learning? Is it important?
How do other UK Higher Educational Institutions incorporate social bookmarking/ micro-blogging into undergraduate or postgraduate programmes?
What are student/staff concerns/barriers regarding participating in Masters social bookmarking and Twitter activities?
What would motivate/increase participation in Twitter and Diigo activities? For example, assessed activities? Specific subject/topics? Timing of activities? Synchronous or asynchronous activities?
What are the training needs for students/staff?
What methods are currently used to share knowledge, information and learning resources? Do student/staff use any of these?
Evaluate the effectiveness of Diigo and Twitter as the main tools used.
Establish opinion on a defined/restricted/recommended folksonomy for Diigo/ Twitter?


  1. This is a lot of questions. Do you intend using theseon a questionnaire? Can you answer them all in your dissertation?

    What is your key question? Is it that in your stakeholder analysis? [How can collaboative research...?] If so, break this down into 2/3 key sub-questions, maybe around barriers and participation. You can then ask the detailed questions in interviews etc. to answer these core, themed questions.

    Make sense?


  2. You have raised some helpful points regarding my enthusiastic questioning! I have amended the original post and I hope that my research intentions are now clear. Thank you. Your feedback is really helping me to focus my ideas and refine the written proposal.