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Research is all about testing ideas. It can be done formally through structured studies, or informally through simple observations and passing conversations. It can be quantitative, in which the researcher acts as a detached observer of a singular reality made up of facts waiting to be discovered (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2009, p.15). Or, it can be qualititative, in which the researcher is typically immersed with reality revealing itself as the research progresses (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2009, p.15). Regardless of its form, research involves testing ideas to find out how things work or should work.

Much of my work in the ITMA program has directly or indirectly involved research of some kind. This work, and the Educational Research course in particular, has taught me to be a bit more skeptical in terms of accepting things at face value, especially things related to instructional technology. Additional work that I have done outside the ITMA program, including a study of Richard Mayer's E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, has reaffirmed the importance of applying principles based on sound research practices.

The following content provides evidence of my competencies within the area of Research.

Research Designs & Questions (Educational Research course)
In this document, I recommend an appropriate research design for a number of miscellaneous research questions. This demonstrates my awareness of various research approaches and the kinds of questions they are intended to answer.

Journal Article Critique (Educational Research course)
This artifact provides evidence of my ability to make sense of research and to review a source with a critical eye before accepting it as accurate. In this document, I critique an empirically based research article from the Computers & Education journal. The article discusses a study done on student satisfaction in a blended e-learning environment. I provide detailed information about the study, including the primary results, potential contributions it makes to advancing knowledge, flaws and limitations of the study, as well as how the study relates to my career.

Article Critique (Educational Research course)
This document demonstrates my ability to make sense of research that is presented by reviewing the information critically. In the document, I critique an article presenting an experimental study done on the effect of graphic format on the interpretation of quantitative data.

Article Conclusion (Educational Research course)
In this document, I provide a conclusion to an article entitled "Effect of Color-Coded Information on Students' Levels of Field Dependence." The conclusion was removed from the original article and I was asked to write a conclusion based on the information presented in the article, as well as the principles of interpreting research. This document provides evidence of my ability to read and make sense of research that I may encounter.

Instrument Validity (Educational Research course)
In this document, I discuss ways to ensure that an instrument will provide valid measures when employed in research. For three random scenarios, I discuss the objective and describe the instrument I recommend for researching the scenario. For each objective, I also supply a sample of what I envision the instrument looking like. I also describe ways to help ensure valid measures are obtained.

Research Report (Educational Research course)
This report presents research that I performed in the form of a Literature Review. My research question dealt with what instructional approaches have been proven effective in teaching users to correctly use software applications. In exploring this question, I reviewed a number of relevant articles from primary sources to see what kind of research has been done in this area. After describing the results presented in the literature, I provide a summary and conclusions in answer to the research question.

Fun & Learning II - Observation of Corporate Training Sessions (Learning Theories course)
For one of the sections of this assignment, I was asked to observe a live training environment. This document presents research I did in the form of observing a classroom setting. Beginning on page 4, I provide a table that describes the classroom events and instructor behaviors that occurred at each observation interval. Following the table, I interpret the data by answering a number of questions, followed by a visual representation of the data in chart form.

Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2003). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: McGraw Hill.

Fraenkel, J. R., & Wallen, N. E. (2009). How to design and evaluate research in education (M. Ryan & D. S. Patterson, Eds., 7th ed.).