Educational Technology Research That Makes a Difference

Roblyer, M. D. (2005). Educational technology research that makes a difference: series introduction. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(2), 192-201.

Roblyer (2005) clearly takes a lead in describing what is not working for educational technology research studies and what solutions would improve their usefulness for the next line of study and their reputation in the world of data collection and generalizability. He charts the complaints against research done so far and then lists a series of models for better quality study options and what makes them so. His strong outline format includes five pillars of good educational research and four types of studies that would increase cumulativity and move the field forward—much as the study of the science of medicine did after 1910.

Both the five pillars of good educational research and the four study models provide ample guidance for researchers now and in the future. Those of us in this field should follow his lead and partake heavily in increasing the significance of our studies, take as our rationale the need to develop and build upon a foundation of quality theory, decide our questions and decide on the best approach (ignoring the advice of voices that would have us limit those approaches), produce comprehensive reporting and strive to encourage cumulativity so that our field would be respected more. We need these ideas so that we have a “lineage that looks to the future as well as builds on the past” (197).

As a practitioner turned researcher, guidance such as this is invaluable. Without such wise counsel, I could easily fall into the “single study syndrome” (197) that would validate the complaints of those who say that educational technology research is weak. With Roblyer’s outline, I can help create the “more organized and persuasive body of evidence on technology’s benefits to [improve] classroom practice” (192).

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