ERIC Number: ED383331
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Questioning the Questions of Instructional Technology Research.
Reeves, Thomas C.
This paper explores the issue of the social relevance of instructional technology research, and examines the state of research in the field today. A modification of Dick and Dick's (1989) research article classification scheme is used to categorize the field's research literature. This new classification scheme represents an effort to distinguish between the goals of research and the methods of research. It is proposed that most research studies in instructional technology can be classified according to the six research goals defined in the paper: theoretical; empirical; interpretivist; postmodern; developmental; and evaluation. The proposed methodology classification includes: quantitative; qualitative; critical theory; literature review; and mixed-methods. Matrices of research goals by research methods are provided for 104 articles published in "Educational Technology Research and Development" from 1989-1994, and 129 articles published in "Journal of Computer-Based Instruction" from 1988-1994. The most common type of article in either publication is empirical in intent and quantitative in method. The next largest subset can be classified as theoretical in intent and employing literature review as the primary method. There is a paucity of interpretivist articles, developmental research studies, and a complete absence of any articles that are postmodern in intent or that employ critical theory as a methodology. The quality of contemporary research in the field is criticized, with many articles being characterized as pseudoscience, having the following characteristics: specification error; lack of linkage to robust theory; inadequate literature review; inadequate treatment implementation; measurement flaws; inconsequential outcome measures; inadequate sample sizes; inappropriate statistical analysis; and meaningless discussion of results. It is proposed that meaningful research can be conducted provided the sterility of existing research is acknowledged, and the profession builds anew from a foundation of sound learning theory and rededicated concern for the social impact of research. Data is illustrated in four figures. (Contains 54 references.) (MAS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Proceedings of the 1995 Annual National Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), (17th, Anaheim, CA, 1995); see IR 017 139.