DEHubResearchProject/Charles Sturt University/Planning
1 Research Method and Procedures
Case Study Approach
The research adopted a "descriptive case study" approach (Yin 1981), using thick description (Merriam 1988) developed through primary and secondary data, including historical data with a focus on "the practice of practice" (van Manen, 1999). The research was "value-laden rather than value-neutral; subjectively engaged rather than objective; hopeful rather than pessimistic" (Childs, 2001, p.49) and reflected the "insider knowledge" and involvement of the researchers in the social and institutional milieu being researched. Six of the eight case studies were largely retrospective and historic, enhanced with limited primary contemporaneous data collection. Two of the case studies (CSU Teaching Fellows) were contemporaneous. The case studies were not evaluative, and considered the strategy from the perspective learning leadership.
The following "strategies" at CSU and MU were chosen as a focus for the case studies:
- The Teaching Fellowship Scheme (CSU)
- ePortfolios (CSU)
- Stream (Virtual learning environment, MU)
- Annual learning and teaching conferences (CSU)
- Course Team Sympsoiums (CSU)
The following case studies were developed:
Macro-level case studies:
- The Charles Sturt University annual Educational Conferences (CSUEDs) 2008-2010
- Stream @ The Faculty of Business (Massey University)
- Introduction of an ePortfolio tool (CSU, 2009-2010)
- The Flexible Learning Institute Teaching Fellowship Scheme (2008-2011)
Meso-level case studies
- Stream @ The Bachelor of Social Work (Massey University)
Micro-level case studies
- Dr John Rafferty, Murray School of Education, Charles Sturt University. Informal learning spaces-interactions between time, space and teaching and learning (2011)
- Brad Edlington, School of Policing, Charles Sturt University. Learning leadership through problem-based learning.
- Redesigning courses through course team symposiums (CSU, 2011)
Focus of the case studies
The following categories were used to structure each case study:
- Visions and initial targets
- Strategies and activities
- Challenges and limitations
- Connections, collegiality and networks
- Reflective practice & practice experimentation
- Reflections on learning leadership
Force field analysis
In order to understand the contexts within which each strategy and case study was developed, an analysis was also done of the changing nature of learning and teaching at Charles Sturt University and Massey University during 2008-2011, and the driving and constraining forces expressed through these changes.
Synthesis and Analysis
To be written.
1.2 Phase 2: Ethics
Charles Sturt University’s Ethics in Human Research Committee has approved this project. The protocol number issued with respect to this project is 2011/087. If you have any complaints or reservations about the ethical conduct of this project, you may contact the Committee through the Executive Officer, Ethics in Human Research Committee, Academic Secretariat, Charles Sturt University , Private Mail Bag 29, Bathurst NSW 2795, Tel: (02) 6338 4628, Fax: (02) 6338 4194. Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated fully and you will be informed of the outcome.
1.3 Phase 3: Data Collection
Data collection was developed in line with the ethics approval given for the project. At a general level for each case study, data consisted of: 1. Information about the case study available in the public domain (historic, retrospective). This may have included the following artifacts: reports, publications, statistical information, promotional materials, conference programs and so on 2. New information developed through interviews or questionnaires specific to this research.
Specifically, the following data collection was developed for each case study:
1.4 Phase 4: Data Analysis
Headings were developed to create a common structure for writing the case studies. These headings also established a thematic structure derived from the research teams situated understanding of each case study. The headings provided each author with an opportunity to provide an overview of each case study, as well as articulate aspects of the activity using existing data. Themes were derived from the cases, and these were developed as five findings. Theory formation was derived from the findings, and developed as three lessons learnt (principles).