Making the Links: from theory to research design – follow-up qs


Making the Links: from theory to research design and back again

The video is a film of the lecture given by Professor Madeleine Arnot for the M.Phil, M.Ed, Ph.D and Ed.D courses on educational research. It offers students a chance to think about some recent debates about the role of theory in research, and the ways in which a theoretically informed study can be designed. The examples given derive from actual research projects.

Created: 2013-02-13 10:50 by Andrew Borkett

Keynote speaker: Madeleine Arnot

Publisher: University of Cambridge

You & theories

Category A – I have found theories (or a conceptual framework) I like which I am going to use.
Category B – I am worried because I don’t have a theory or conceptual framework, or can’t find one.
Category C – This is not relevant to me. I am a practitioner and want to improve practice not educational theories. I already know what I want to find out
Category D – I think theory- driven projects are biased and restrictive, I want to start with the data.

Concepts & methodology

Positivism, post-positivism, mixed methods
Surveys, data banks, tests, interviews,
Interpretivist methodology
Symbolic Interactionist
Phenomenology/grounded theory
Participatory/action research
Critical interpretivist traditions
Feminist methodologies
Critical policy research
Community studies/family studies
Youth cultural studies


-Have you considered how to “position” yourself? What does “positioning” entail?

-Why is it not enough to describe “the world”?

-What is the link between our RQ and theories? Is it one of those technical issues favoured by existing govt policies?

-What is the role of “grand theories”? Is there a grand theory particularly relevant in your research?

-“Life is messy message”. What do you take from this? What´s wrong with “patterns”?

-Theoretically-driven research vs grounded approach. How does this play out in your research?

-How useful are the models discussed by Prof Arnot for your research ( a>b, triangle, circular, deconstruction models)?

-Thinking conceptually and research designs. How does “concept” impact your research methods?