A reflection on data collection, specific tools, and questions that could lead to more research

The twitter session this week really got me thinking about the tools I would use for data collection and to focus on being more specific in my methods.  I also was reminded about keeping the “flow” of my research documents and making sure they build on each other throughout this process.  Posting each part as a separate blog helps me to quickly go back and review each part to make sure I am consistently focused on one research problem.

It can be tempting to collect a lot of data so I have been struggling to focus on specific tools to use.  Reading other posts and learning about tools used in each study has prompted me to examine each tool in the context of my research question and whether it is the best use of my time.  Suggestions and feedback I received from others helped me narrow my list of tools and create simpler protocols and documents for data collection.  It has been difficult this week to give specific feedback on some of the data collection methods of my peers because they seem to already be very focused.  I also found that when I don’t know much about the topic they are studying, it’s difficult for me to know what questions to ask or to recognize gaps in their approach.  I found that giving feedback on the protocols and documents is somewhat easier but also helps me to understand how their research will be conducted and the specific parameters they plan to use.  I have the opposite problem of having too much data collection time; after I find out information about the game schedule this week, I hope to specify a time each day to observe an individual teacher.

While there are many themes and topics to focus on during the Givercraft experience, I want to be disciplined in my approach and not project any assumptions based on my previous experiences monitoring students in the MinecraftEdu game world.  My data collection will only focus on teacher strategies and use of tools to monitor behavior and evidence from students about how they reacted to the teacher’s game management strategies and use of MinecraftEdu teacher tools.

I have also spent time developing the teacher training module on behavior management in MinecraftEdu; this helped me to narrow down my teacher interview questions.  I hope that these will help me get an informal baseline about each teacher’s understanding of MinecraftEdu tools and how they view classroom management in a virtual environment.

Through this research process, I might also be able to see whether the teacher training was effective and whether the tools and strategies are easily adapted or integrated into each teacher’s existing classroom management plan.  I have continued to search, without success, for other articles, resources, and discussion forum topics related to managing behavior in the MinecraftEdu game world.  I will be interested to see through this research process if maybe my assumptions from the previous experience, that teachers needed specific tools and strategies, was not accurate.  It’s possible that other factors impact student misbehavior in the game but that they don’t last beyond the initial stages of the experience.

It’s been interesting to focus on a very specific aspect of this game because it helps me to dig deeper and ask other questions that deserve their own research studies.  I have begun to write some of them down to include in my paper so that others may pursue them in their own work.

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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