Part I was designed to help students do a classroom-based
research project by guiding them stage by stage till the final
report of it. The emphasis was on the practical process. No
efforts were spared in making sure that the process was easy
for students to follow and operate in real context. There
is a price for this designed feature, though, namely that
little was said about the underlying theories or principles.
For one thing, they were dealt with in the previous courses,
viz. Language and Linguistics, and English Language
Teaching Methodology. For another, we believe that it
is perhaps more important for students to put what they have
learned there to real practice than to give them some more
theories, which often means more learning by rote than anything
Having said this, some more theoretical discussions are by
no means unnecessary or useless, particularly those concerning
the project design, the control of multiple factors, the nature
of data, etc., which have direct bearing on the project quality.
These are the issues to be dealt with in this Part.
Part II was specially designed for tutors, not for students.
If the latter choose to read it, they are welcome to do so,
but it is not part of the requirement of the course, and will
have little to do with their project assessment.
The contents of the units 2-5 are summarized below to give
you an overall picture of what you are going to read and work
Unit 2 -- What counts as research: towards an integration
of researching into teaching -- spells out the theoretical
framework for classroom-based research. Teaching involves
a bundle of activities, such as reading, talking, marking,
organizing, and so on. They are normally not counted as research
activities because we do not put them into a research framework.
Once we adopt a reflective model of teacher development, and
have a research-oriented mind with a researching eye, the
teaching process -- everything we do while executing our teaching
duties -- can be turned into a researching process. The moment
teaching is done, the research is also being carried out.
The classroom-based research project we supervise our students
to do is exactly an effort on integrating research into teaching.
Also dealt with in this Unit are the principles regarding
the qualities of research. They are: the originality principle,
the honesty principle, the data-driven principle, the standardization
principle, and the objectivity principle. These principles
act as general guidelines for you to supervise your students'
Unit 3 -- Coping with complexity and statistics -- teaching-learning
is an extremely complicated process involving multiple factors,
each of which, or some of which, or even all of which, may
contribute to effective teaching or learning. It will be very
naive to design a project with the assumption that there is
only one factor that is responsible for the result. Without
full awareness of the complexity, and some effective control
of the variables, the project is bound to be flawed in one
way or another.
This Unit first shows how to analyze the teaching-learning
complex. Then it discusses how to exercise control over multiple
factors. Statistic thinking is encouraged.
Unit 4 -- From data collection to data interpretation --
addresses the issues of data collection and data interpretation.
Classroom-based research is a kind of data-driven research.
Some understanding of the nature of data, e.g. types of data,
the collection of data, data storage, the utilization of data,
is obviously needed. Four general principles regarding the
collection of data are given: (1) the authenticity principle;
(2) the naturalness principle; (3) the maximum background
information principle; and (4) the minimum manipulation principle.
Learners are warned not to deliberately manipulate data, nor
to claim more than the data can warrant.
Unit 5 -- A suggestive procedure for the supervision of your
students' project -- outlines a general procedure to help
you supervise your students' projects. A word of warning might
be appropriate here: the procedure is only suggestive. You
should feel free to amend or readjust it to suit your own
needs or local requirements.