ETEC 500: Research Methodology in Education


There is a new expectation in education that programs and practices be grounded in scientifically-based evidence. Hunches and traditions are to be replaced by data-driven decisions that follow logically from rigorous research completed in educational contexts. ETEC 500 (Research Methodology in Education) covers how that evidence emerges and how to evaluate its meaningfulness.

This research methods course is particularly designed for learners in the Master of Educational Technology program. While it investigates how educational research is conducted across the major traditions (quantitative, qualitative, mixed method, and action research), it is particularly focussed on topics of relevance to educators and practitioners engaged in using, managing, or developing educational technologies. A major course goal is to make research accessible to the MET audience and to equip you with the skills and understandings that enable the evaluation of published research. The course is oriented toward the consumer of educational research and brings a thinking-skills approach to the coverage of major ideas. It takes the perspective that what is important in today’s changing education landscape is the ability to think clearly about research methods, reason through complex problems, and evaluate published research. Topics include scientific reasoning; types of variables and hypotheses; sampling; data collection and instrumentation; control procedures; common experimental, non-experimental, qualitative, and mixed methods research designs; data analysis; and research analyses and critiques. In addition, you will consider research ethics guidelines for education research and will practice critical literature search, citation, and review skills that are an essential foundation for further study.

ETEC 500 introduces you to a range of research and analysis skills and practices that will improve your work in other ETEC courses. You will find it beneficial to take this course (ETEC 500) earlier rather than later in your program, and many previous students have stated that taking this course first in their program is extremely beneficial.

All learning activities in this course are related to its major goals:

  • Understand the scientific research process and its integrated components
  • Describe the guiding principles of research ethics
  • Understand how the research process applies to education and to the field of educational technology
  • Understand the relationship between research questions, designs, and methodologies
  • Understand different research designs and methods, such as correlational, experimental, and ethnographic
  • Hone library search skills and knowledge about resources for locating research articles and reports
  • Know how to think critically about the research process in education
  • Conduct analyses of published reports

Learning Objectives

After completing ETEC 500, you will be able to:

  • Apply critical thinking skills to the process of research
  • Describe major constructs applied in diverse research methodologies
  • Describe significant steps in the process of research across major traditions
  • Describe bias, control, sampling, and measurement concepts across research traditions
  • Describe and evaluate experimental, non-experimental, and qualitative research designs
  • Write a research analysis and critique of published research in the field of educational technology


This course will require you to complete assigned readings, watch assigned videos, complete a UBC library tutorial, complete a research ethics tutorial, use course modules as a resource for summary of concepts covered in each module, complete activities and assignments, and respond to other students’ questions and comments. The course is closely tied to the textbook content and reading assigned chapters from the textbook is essential to understanding the topics covered in each module. The instructor will post regular communication about your questions, assignments, and engagement with the course.

Discussion Forums will be used extensively to support sharing, exchange, and collaboration on assignments. In addition to sharing your responses, you will be asked to respond to your peers’ responses to selected assignments. Your postings should be thought-provoking, insightful, and helpful to your colleagues in furthering their mastery of course content and thinking through challenging research issues.

Readings & Resources

ETEC 500 requires a textbook (available to you online via the UBC Library) and a variety of other readings and resources. All will be available online through the course website.

Required textbook

This eBook is available to you online via the UBC Library. You can choose to read it online or to download PDF copies of chapters to read, save, print, or annotate as you choose.

Examples of other required resources

  • Office of Research & Doctoral Services. (2015, January 23). Introduction to research design [Video]. YouTube.
  • Creswell, J. (2013, March 1). Telling a complete story with qualitative and mixed methods research [Video]. YouTube.
  • Creswell, J. W. (2003). Chapter one: A framework for design. In Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications.
  • Yanchar S. C., Gibbons A. S., Gabbitas B. W., & Matthews M. T. (2017). Critical thinking in the field of educational technology: Approaches, projects, and challenges. In M. Orey & R. Branch (Eds.), Educational media and technology yearbook (Vol. 40, pp. 127-147). Springer International Publishing.

Examples of additional resources

Assignments & Assessment

Tasks 40% of total
Task 1: Develop and format a relevant reference list (5%)
Task 2: Compare contradictory research studies (discussion) (12%)
Task 3: Canadian Course on Research Ethics (CORE) Online tutorial (10%)
Task 4: Explore the role and value of action research (discussion) (6.5%)
Task 5: Discuss qualitative methods (discussion) (6.5%)
Assignment 1: Dissection of a published study (in four parts) 30% of total
Assignment 1A: Research distinctions (4%)
Assignment 1B: Constructs, variables, and hypotheses (10%)
Assignment 1C: Control, sampling, and measurement (11%)
Assignment 1D: Analyzing research design (5%)
Assignment 2: A research analysis and critique 30% of total

Minor course topic, activity, reading/resource, and assignment details may change from year to year.