Challenges to Online Teaching

More on the research front of online teaching and learning today…

Here are some challenges that I will need to look into as I continue to develop my literature review for online teaching and learning

  • faculty time to develop new online content
  • faculty and student need for technical support
  • perception by many that online content is not rigorous
  • identifying ways to assist faculty in organized online teaching workshops
  • training faculty in pedagogical theory (Lorenzetti, 2009)

Lorenzetti, J. P. (2009). The virtual faculty lounge: Providing online faculty development for adjunct instructors. Best Practices for Training and Retaining Online Adjunct Faculty, Distance Education Report. Retrieved from

Questions to Assist in Validity of Data Collection Instrument

To aid in the securing of validity for quantitative research here are a few questions to ask during the creation of a quantitative study:

  • what prior studies have used this particular instrument?  What were the outcomes?
  • Is the use of my instrument for data collection of similar purposes?
  • Do my interviews verify my data collection instrument? (Creswell, 2012, p. 163)

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Addison Wesley.


Reliability and Validity

Often times in quantitative research, we can confuse reliability and validity since they can be quite interwoven in their implications toward each other. From Creswell (2012), I have found the following delineations:

Reliability – scores or indicators need to be consistent and found similar when they are testing the same things (p. 159).

Validity – is the evidence that the test is measuring what it is supposed to measure (p. 159).

In the big picture, we need to have consistent scores (i.e. reliability) that assist with evidence that we are measuring what we intend to measure (i.e. validity).


Ways to adhere to reliability (notes from Chapter 5 in Creswell, 2012)

1. Test-Retest Reliability – this indicates the stability of testing over a time period.

2. Alternate Forms Reliability – use of two-test testing the same variable.

3. Inter-rater Reliability – this is used in observations in behavior. I.e Observer scores are compared to each other for similarities and differences.

4. Testing of Responses for Reliability Suggestions:

  • internally consistent (i.e. the subject’s answer to question #1 is the same answer as found in question #10)
  • Kuder-Richarson Split Half test (KR-20 and KR-21)
  • Spearman-Brown formula
  • Co-efficient alpha testing

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Addison Wesley.

Creditability and Reliability

As outlined by various researchers (Phelps et al 2005; Gall et al 2007; Phillips 2007), providing creditability and reliability of research methods will promote strength of data findings as well as strengthen the application of findings to other music research.

Gall, M. D., Gall, J. P. & Borg, W. R. (2006). Educational research: an introduction (8th edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Phelps, Roger, Sadoff, Ronald H., Warburton, Edward C. and Ferrara, Lawrence. (2005). A Guide to Research in Music Education. 5th ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, Inc.

Phillips, K. H. (2008). Exploring research in music education and music therapy. New York: Oxford University Press.

Starting to gather themes for literature review

It’s amazing what we find when we start looking into research. Yesterday I was looking at some research studies in more than “scanning” detail and I came across some interesting ideas to pursue. To that extent, here is a sample of how my literature review research could unfold:

Literature Review

Using a keyword database search on the terms, “online music education,” “music education philosophy,” “online teaching practices,” database sources (i.e. RILM, IIMP, JSTOR, and ERIC) will provide initial resources for primary and secondary resources. Searching these resources for common terms will aid in additional database searches for deeper depth and breadth of information to be contained within the Literature Review.

The Literature Review would be written in a thematic approach that assists in providing documentation that warrants the study of online music education while providing insight into past methodologies and significance for continued study. Possible themes that may arise include: music as social significance; qualitative methodologies; learning impact of online education; motivation and self-efficacy.

Sources included in this section would display both primary sources (i.e. journal/blogs, interviews, video footage, autobiographies, past and current research studies etc.) and secondary sources (i.e. newspaper articles, journals, biographies, research reviews etc.) that were likely obtained from initial database and bibliographic research.

More readings on case study research

Additional information on case study research can be gleaned from the following texts:

—Stake, R. E. (1995). The Art of Case Study Research. SAGE.
—Ragin, C. C., & Becker, H. S. (Eds.). (1992). What Is a Case?: Exploring the Foundations of Social Inquiry. Cambridge University Press.

Case Study Research – Questions in Reliability and Validity

Firmly based in context-dependent knowledge (i.e. rule-based knowledge to virtuoso/expert) Flyvbjerg (2006) presents 5 challenges to our misunderstanding of case study methodology.  While large samples of research data can develop a breadth of knowledge, individual case studies can present a larger work of depth on a specific point of study.  Various established researchers in the field of research methodology (—Campbell, 1975; Eysenck, 1976; Ragin & Becker, 1992) have seen through the challenges of reliability, theory and validity posed to case study research and begun to establish the meaningful research outcomes of the case study methodology.

The main contention found by various researchers is that the case study methodology presents issues with validity of research. As we can see from the visual reminder below, the virtuoso, or expert, comes to be an expert in a field through individual case knowledge. From specific cases that demonstrate both individuality for a study and possible connections to other research studies, a person becomes an expert in a knowledge field with the increased number of individual case studies that contain knowledge connections.


By challenging previous ideas of mis-understandings on case study research, it can be posited that like the natural sciences, the case study and how it is chosen is the objection really for generalizing for validity. Therefore, it is problem dependent and can use “falsification” (Popper, 1959) to generalize. Once we introduce the use of falsification to our research problem, a stronger case (no pun intended) can be made for the strength of case study research.



Pre-conceived research ideas

We all come to our research with previous knowledge and ideas. Sometimes our information is helpful for digging into the research and sometimes our pre-conceived ideas are mis-aligned or facts without all of the details.  I came across the latter this week as I got into a few articles on research method, specifically case study.

The specific reading that challenged my previous ideas on case study research from researcher Bent Flyvbjerg (2006).  Prior to my reading, I have to admit that I had a leaning towards qualitative research as a “more scientific” method of research. Built upon numbers and statistics, probability and scientific design, I thought that quantitative research would likely be the method for my own PhD research. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have all the right answers, and after reading Flyvbjerg’s article, my position has changed to a more open acceptability towards case study research.

Now having said that I am open to case study research, I feel that I need to qualify that statement by adding that case study research does need to include obvious rigor, falsification of the problem, clarity of narrative outcome and that the researcher has to re-examine preconceived notions (i.e. biases) and theories throughout study. For the next few posts I am going to go a bit more in depth on my findings for the method of case study research.

What pre-conceived research biases do you have as you begin your research study?

Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219–245. doi:10.1177/1077800405284363

Overcoming Writer’s Block

I think it can be safe to say that writing comes in waves; some days are better writing days than others. Thankfully, when we have a troublesome writing day there are a couple of ways to move through the mental block and, hopefully, onto some great writing output. To that end, I’ve added a few helpful items from my reading this week (Creswell, 2011) to remind myself of how to navigate those waters when they come.

1. Find a template and use that as a guide.

Creswell (2011) has a great template example on how to write a five paragraph statement of the research problem. By referencing other literature, statistical trends and a quote or two a template can quickly become a well developed piece of writing that may inspire you onto the next writing section. 🙂

2. Read other research studies.

What better way to write well than to immerse yourself in other well-written research studies. The more we surround ourselves with great models, the more likely we will begin to take on similar traits and habits. Needing a place to start? I have found a wealth of great doctoral studies from the site as well as through Proquest doctoral searches.

3. Just write.

We can always find a way to procrastinate but in the end it really doesn’t make us feel any better about not having gotten any writing done for the day. Just grab your computer (or pick up a pen and feel the old-school vibe!) and write something. Writing in a stream of consciousness for a few minutes might just trigger those research writing skills back in action.

Ok, speaking of procrastinating, I need to get back to my own research. 🙂

Happy researching!

Creswell, J. W. (2011). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Addison Wesley.
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