Web resources for experienced researchers
Overview of contents
This resource has drawn together a selection of materials on qualitative research that could be helpful to educational researchers at different stages of their careers. The resource, however, has been updated as Research Methods on IER's GLACIER site (Guidance, Learning and Careers at IER).
Intute is a free online service which aims to provide a trusted source of selected, high quality Internet information for students, academics, researchers and practitioners in a wide range of subjects: see also, Intute: Research Tools and Methods and the sections on quantitative methods and qualitative methods.
ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
The ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) facilitates workshops and other activities in relation to a wide range of research techniques, and the National Centre for Research Methods and its nodes offers educational research communities the opportunity to engage in capacities building activities alongside colleagues from different disciplines. You can subscribe to receive information on developments and events in research methods, including a quarterly research methods e-newsletter; a monthly e-bulletin of forthcoming events, courses, training opportunities and so on, offered by ESRC, NCRM, the Research Methods Programme, the Researcher Development Initiative, and related groups. The NCRM also operates a number of nodes on the following topics:
Bayesian methods for combining multiple Individual and Aggregate data Sources in observational studies (BIAS): the aim of BIAS is to develop a set of statistical frameworks for combining data from multiple sources to improve the capacity of social science methods to handle observational data.
xLearning environment for multilevel methodology and applications (LEMMA): focuses on the quantitative multilevel analysis of data with complex structure that mirrors substantive research questions.
xDeveloping Statistical Modelling in the Social Sciences is developing and extending statistical methodology and models concentrating on substantive problems in the social sciences related to social and developmental change.
xMethods for Research Synthesis Programme: before undertaking any new policy, practice or research or making personal decisions in our lives it can be useful to find out what others already know about the issue. Research synthesis can assist such processes by providing a method for identifying and synthesising the findings of primary research.
xQualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: Innovation, Integration and Impact (QUALITI) focuses on the innovation, integration and impact of qualitative research methods, paying particular attention to the social contexts in which research methods and methodologies are situated.
Real Life Methods aims to pioneer research methods that can grasp the multi-dimensionality of everyday real life. The approach is qualitatively-driven, whilst spanning and transcending the qualitative/quantitative divide.
The Research Methods Programme aimed to improve methodological quality by funding research that directly enhanced methodological knowledge and developed tools to enhance research quality. It also disseminated methodological developments and good practice through training courses, on-line resources, seminars and awareness-raising events. It ran from 2002 - 2007. For an overview of resources, see: http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/methods/
The National Centre for e-Social Science (NCeSS) is funded by ESRC to investigate how innovative and powerful computer-based infrastructure and tools developed over the past five years under the UK e-Science programme can benefit the social science research community.
The ESRC Researcher Development Initiative supports the training and development of researchers in the social sciences at all stages of their career, and produces and deploys a range of activities and resources, including student-led activities; training for research students and researchers throughout their career; regional training events; and the development and use of new tools and packages for training purposes.
There are a number of not for profit research organisations that produce publications which may of interest: see, for example, the National Centre for Social Research and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Research in Practice is the largest children and families research implementation project in England and Wales and the website includes a section designed to help users find and evaluate research supporting evidence informed practice with children and families. The Chronic Poverty Research Centre have developed a research toolbox in order to provide a guide to the variety of approaches and methods available and how they can be mixed to produce both rigorous and policy relevant research. The TLRP Research Capacity Building Network was established to facilitate the sharing of research skills, knowledge and expertise, largely by providing and brokering needs-directed research capacity-building activities on a voluntary and career-development basis.
The Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) "supports and develops the effective use of research and evidence in education in order to improve practice and policy and to help raise standards." It aims to make research and evidence useful and attractive to practitioners and policy makers. It produces publications that may be of interest for reseachers: see, for example: their publications and resources sections.
Also on the Internet there have been attempts to reproduce complete textbooks on Research Methods in a web-based format: one example of this is the Research Methods Knowledge Base which is a comprehensive web-based textbook that addresses all of the topics in a typical American introductory undergraduate or graduate course in social research methods.
For additional material on research methods, see:
This resource has drawn together a selection of materials on quantitative research that could be helpful to educational researchers at different stages of their careers. The resource, however, has been updated as Quantitative Methods on IER's GLACIER site (Guidance, Learning and Careers at IER).
The 'Longitudinal Data Analysis for Social Science Researchers' project, funded under the ESRC Researcher Development Initiative, produces a range of resources: for example, Paul Lambert (2006) has produced The British Household Panel Survey: Introduction to a longitudinal data resource [Working Paper 2 of ‘Longitudinal Data Analysis for Social Science Researchers’, ESRC Researcher Development Initiative training programme]. The paper is intended to familiarise social scientists with the BHPS survey resource, to introduce the main practical issues as they are typically experienced by researchers new to the survey, and to provide some brief examples of analyses using the BHPS over a range of its data resources.
The Centre for Multilevel Modelling has a range of resources on Multilevel Modelling made available as part of an ESRC funded initiative whose aims include " ... the development of statistical models for the analysis of hierarchically structured data, training in the use of such models, and the provision of appropriate software."
Steph Gray (2003) of MORI raises interesting questions around the implications for researchers of mixing quantitative survey methodologies: Is It Safe To Combine Methodologies In Survey Research?. Given different groups use different communication modes, one common approach is to use different modes of research for different audiences, combining the results from telephone, face-to-face, or self-completion postal/online questionnaires among the different survey populations. But what are the implications of combining different modes of research on the validity of the data that is gathered? How comparable are telephone and online surveys, and can the results of one ever be reliably combined with the other?
King's College London have produced quantitative materials that use a series of datasets (from questionnaire-based research, from experimental work, etc) and take the learner through the analysis of this material using SPSS (the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences): see Quantitative research methods and SPSS by Peter Skehan.