Research methods in open education: Insights from the Global OER Graduate Network

Speaker: Dr Robert Farrow

This session will present an overview of the Global OER Graduate Network research methods handbook. The handbook is being developed by members of the network who are researchers in open education, and will serve as a useful starting point for anyone wishing to do research in education with a focus on OER, MOOCs or OEP.

To contextualise this approach, an accessible and brief description of the types of methods typically used in research into education and educational technology will be provided. Some of the contrasting philosophical, epistemological and ontological commitments of different research paradigms will be used to differentiate alternative methodologies. Theoretical perspectives will be outlined but not fully explored.

State-of-the-art approaches will be explored and their relevance for open education explained. The presentation will use examples of current doctoral research to highlight the use of different methods, and will convey insights into using different methods as shared by the researchers. This includes reflections on using different methods, and advice for conducting similar work.

Finally, the presentation will offer up for discussion a provisional model of open scholarship including open practices (agile project management; directly influencing practice; radical transparency; sharing research instruments; social media presence; networks); open science (open access; open data; open licensing); digital innovation (HCI; data science; open source technologies); and normative elements (challenging dominant narratives; promoting social justice; and reducing barriers to educational access).

Presentation slides can be found at Computers and Learning Research Group: Research methods in open educ… (

GOGN Handbook: Research Methods Handbook | GO-GN (



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