I have started to prepare the results from my research project with the working title “Pedagogical Affordance of Networked Learning in Swedish Upper Secondary Schools” and will in this blog-post scrutinize my research methodology and conceptual framework.  The purpose of this study is to find out how educators use web tools with attention to how opportunities and challenges caused change in their teaching practise within the concept of ‘Networked Learning’. 

Action research falls under the qualitative research paradigm and can include research journal, document analysis, participant observation recordings, questionnaire surveys, structured and unstructured interviews, and case studies.  I applied reflecting-on-action from an approach of ‘Activity Theory’ in order to identify larger patterns and connections from my position as an upper secondary school teacher, i.e. ‘Reflective Practitioner’.  It involved a spiralling process of action, observation, recording, reflection and new action to discover an understanding of a more meaningful or effective practice and to develop insightful research questions (Hillocks, 1995; Schön, 1987).  My analysis includes personal narratives and a structuralist approach to activities among practitioners.  The hypothesis is that different patterns of perceptions are recognisable as deep structures by which meaning is produced and reproduced within the culture.  Rather than progressing in a linear and continuous way, the idea is that ‘Paradigm Shifts’ open up new approaches to understanding that wasn’t considered valid before (Kuhn, 1962).  My ethnographic fieldwork included analysis of conversations or transcripts from recordings as well as a survey questioning attitudes to the shared discourse about the nature of ‘Networked Learning’.  The strength of ethnography often lies in the surprise finding, which encouraged me to take an innocent approach where I don’t know in advance what will turn out to be important or interesting…

(…next step forward is qualitative software applications to assist data analysis, e.g. Atlas Ti or Nudist Nvivo)