I’ve been going through Creswell again, in preparation for our final project (creating a research proposal) and was surprised at the new level of understanding I’ve gained over the course of the semester. I remember my first interaction with Creswell and his discussion on worldviews quite clearly, because I was very confused at the time. After reading the assigned chapter, I had no idea what my own worldview was and still wasn’t quite sure why I had to have one. Reading classmates’ comments about how they knew that they subscribed to one idea or another, or were certain that they were a combination of these two or those two, I felt very far behind and rather lost. I am proud to say that on this latest read through the material, my own ideas seem rather obvious to me now.
Overall, I feel I fit best into the Pragmatist camp. I definitely do not see the world as an absolute unity and often acknowledge that every situation is different and calls for a specialized interaction. I think that in my own future research this is how I will approach each situation, trying to figure out which methods will work best for the challenge at hand. I feel like mixed methods approaches will be my desired research methods, mixing equal parts of quantitative and qualitative research in an attempt to make sense of my findings in my own head and present as much evidence to others as I can. After this course, I have a much better understanding of how rich the qualitative research can be, allowing you to gain a level of insight that quantitative research just cannot touch. (As a side note, I never thought I would be saying that. Ever.)
For the research project in front of me, my approach will be from an Advocacy and Participatory worldview. My end goal would be a change in practice, making this my obvious choice for an approach. Creswell also says that this worldview “focuses on the needs of groups and individuals in our society that may be marginalized or disenfranchised” (pg. 9) and I do really believe that the youth I want to study fit very well into this group. Through my research I have strengthened my belief that Digital Natives learn differently than those who have come before them, and we need to make new technology equally available for all members of our society. Libraries really are, in my opinion, the best way to institute this idea. They are already organizations that are trying to level the playing field for everyone, giving equal access to books and other media, why not add video games to that mix? Many already have, and have seen success. Many don’t want to try because they don’t want to fail. This brings me to my initial idea for my strategy of inquiry for this final assignment.
Because of the Advocacy approach, I want to do a mainly qualitative study. My current thought is a case study of school libraries (middle and high school level) that have already attempted integrating video games into their collections and their learning environment, culminating in a list of best practices and things to avoid for schools that want to try similar programs. Many schools are interested in new technology and advancements in their curriculum, but simply don’t know where to start. My research could serve as a guide for them, showing them potential pitfalls and giving them a starting point for their planning. I was also interested in the Narrative Research approach, and would pursue this just out of personal interest. But I don’t think it would help to support my worldview and my own endgoal for the project. Ethnography was another choice, and certainly something that I’m still considering as I move forward with the project.
Before starting the final project, I was worried. My learning process this semester seemed so gradual that I felt (before sitting down with Creswell again) like I had no idea where to start for putting things together and coming up with a plan. But I haven’t even made it all the way through my second pass on the first chapter and I’ve already got a potential plan in place. I’m amazed at how my ideas on research have grown and evolved over the semester. In the beginning, research terrified me and all I could think about was writing papers. Now, I can see the process behind it and all of the details that have to go into consideration for even just the planning let alone the carrying out of the actual research. I definitely have a new appreciation for all of those research articles I have read and will continue to read in the future.
Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.