Case Study Proposal for #INF537

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As part of this capstone subject to the Master of Education program that I am in the process of completing, I need to complete a Case Study.  My proposal is presented below:

Area of Interest: Student Personal Epistemologies and Technology Practices

The Proposal: 

Topic: Student beliefs about knowledge and how these beliefs affect their uses of mobile technology for learning.

Draft Research Question: What are Year 9 students’ beliefs about knowledge and how do they think these beliefs influence their use of technology when learning in a Year 9 science classroom.

Description of project including information, learning, social or organisational needs, problems or concerns to be addressed.

Education is short of classrooms that permit students to engage with technology in ways that prepare them to use technology in the real world (Ertmer et al, 2012). Teachers beliefs about knowledge influence how they integrate technology into the classroom (Ertmer & Ottenberg-Leftwich, 2010).

What students think knowledge is, is a critical component of student learning (Hofer, 2001) but there seems a paucity of research on how student knowledge beliefs influence technology use when learning.

Seeing through others’ eyes is one of the main tenets of qualitative research (Bryman, 2014). Therefore, this case study will explore students’ knowledge beliefs and how these students think their personal epistemologies affect their use of technology, in the science classroom.

Expected outcomes: –

Qualitative narrative data will be collected and coded using NVivo, a computer assisted data analysis tool (Bryman, 2012). Narrative data will be collected via a focus group to allow a viewpoint to be built up out of group interaction (Bryman, 2014). Emergent themes will be explored (Saldana, 2009). The outcome will be the researcher-practitioner critically reflecting on his own theory and practice. Starting from where the student is (O’Tools & Beckett, 2016 p.9) the goal is to “understand” (Bryman, 2014 p. 29) student relationships with knowledge and associated technology behaviors, thereby informing teaching practice in the science classroom.Case study plan


Table 1: Case Study Plan
CSU STUDY Week Date Research Activities
5 7th August Submit draft proposal (This document).

Post proposal to interact to gain peer feedback/comments.

Seek permission from Principal (Already done)

6 14th August Consult and review literature to seek further direction and provide solid theoretical foundation.

Begin to write interview questions for focus group.

Select student participants (4) and seek parental permission via CareMonkey & hardcopy.

Communicate to parents’ ethical framework to protect participant privacy.

7 21st August Continue brief literature review and refine research question

Design questions for semi-structured interview.

8 28th August Submit to School Principal proposed research question and questions for semi-structured interview.

Obtain final permission to proceed from school Principal.

(Assessment item 2 is due Monday 28th August)

9 4th September Away on Year 9 School Camp.
10 11th September Complete group interview on Year 9 Campus.

Record focus group discussion digitally (video) for future transcription. (Focus group, 1hr)

Begin transcription of interview data.

11 18th September Input data in NVivo Software and begin thematic coding

Follow up with focussed interview if required (and time permitting)

(School term break 23rd Sept – 8th October)

12 25th September Continue coding/report writing.
13 2nd October Continue with coding data/final writing.
14 9th October Submit case study Wednesday 11th October/ END.



Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th ed.). Oxford, UK: OUP

Ertmer, P.A., Ottenberg-Leftwich, A.T. (2010) Teacher technology change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 255-284

Ertmer, P. A., Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. T., Sadik, O., Sendurur, E., & Sendurur, P. (2012). Teacher beliefs and technology integration practices: A critical relationship. Computers & Education59(2), 423-435.

Hofer, B. K. (2001). Personal epistemology research: Implications for learning and teaching. Educational Psychology Review13(4), 353-383.

O’Toole, J., & Beckett, D. (2013). Educational research: Creative thinking and doing (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Sellar, S. & Cormack, P. (2006, November). (Re)conceptualising Middle Years Pedagogy. Paper presented at the Symposium “Pedagogical Reform in the Middle Years” at the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Adelaide.

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