Starting to think about research methods

Introduction to Social Research Methods

I’ve recently started with the MOOC- Introduction to Social Research Methods to learn about research methods. My main focus here is to familiarise myself to research methods and research in social sciences in general.

In this post I’m reflecting on the materials and online discussions from week 1, trying to think about topics I would like to research and exploring what research methods I would like to explore over the coming weeks on the course.

I’m a programmer primarily but also currently branching out into Teaching, Design and Web Development. I also find Open Source(OS) and Data(OD) very interesting. So these are the areas I am interested in researching- Education, Design and Technology, either education with technology or a combination of all three. Perhaps even research topics with a focus on OD and OS.

Initial research questions can be design focused of Education Technology or something along the lines of studying the use of various OS frameworks on GitHub. I’m also considering leveraging developer tools by Facebook and Twitter but as I’ve seen from previous projects, it’s quite limited. As I’m still unsure how to formulate a good research question I’ll be spending some more time on this.

The research methods that I think might help me gather useful information include: surveys(I might be a bit too lazy for this 😛); interviews and ethnographic approaches, however, my current knowledge and understanding of these research methods is very limited.

Potential challenges I can foresee include formation of an appropriate research question and data collection from tedious methods, Although I do look forward to using developer tools from OSNs to study social phenomena.