The role of supporting technologies in a mixed methods research design
Keywords:Mixed-methods, e-research, technologies, learning design, educational research, case study, literature review, Delphi study
Nowadays, technologies play a key role in educational research processes, especially in the context of complex designs or integrative perspectives (qualitative and quantitative). Affordances provided by new tools and technological devices are constantly impacting the way educational research is carried out. Consequently, this growing importance (and dependence on) technology for educational research calls for a deeper reflection, not only about its clear benefits, but also about its potential drawbacks and limitations. This paper explores this tension in a specific mixed-methods research design aimed at understanding the barriers preventing the adoption of Learning Design (LD) tools/methods, a significant problem in the research field of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Different actors (teachers and researchers) were involved in the research design, which included a systematic literature review, a Delphi study and a case study. Such an articulated design required the adoption of technologies to support the process in all its phases. The paper describes the main methodological implications of the employed technologies in the different methods applied and in the overall research. The conclusions of the paper highlight that while technologies definitely support a higher level of complexity and articulation of the research design, they might also lead to superficial or biased results.