Research Summit - Part 2: Accelerating Education Research: Applying a 4-Step Process to Your Practice

Concurrent Session 7

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In this interactive application-based workshop facilitators will guide participants through the deconstruction of a systematic 4-step process for designing and conducting education research. Participants will utilize this process to construct their own education research project which they can implement at their home institution.


Paige McDonald is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Research and Learning at The George Washington University. She is currently working to promote blended learning and develop blended courses in Health Professions education. Paige's research interests include blended learning, collaborative learning, reflective practice, and course design for higher levels of learning.
Over 20 years in adult education and curriculum development. Online learning is my modality and I partner with e-learning developers to implement best practices in instructional design and educational pedagogy for teaching and learning.
Kim is the Anderson Distinguished Professor and the Associate Director of the Interprofessional Academy of Educators at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She has been involved in sonography education at UNMC since 1991 and has served as the Director of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography education program since 1998. Kim is a Fellow in the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, currently serving on its board of directors, the SDMS Foundation and multiple committees. She is an active member of the Nebraska Society of Radiologic Technologists, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences. She has authored more than 40 publications related to sonographic clinical practice and education and has presented at numerous state, national, and international conferences. Her research interests include open book testing, mindfulness in the classroom, and simulation in medical education.
Karen Schlumpf is an epidemiologist and biostatistician within the Department of Clinical and Translational Research at the George Washington University. She is the director of research curriculum within the School of Health Sciences. Prior to becoming full-time faculty in 2013, she served as an adjunct professor for 10 years. Ms Schlumpf's research experience include transfusion medicine, neurogenetic linkage and gene mapping, infantile feeding disorders, and health service utilization. She is currently working on her dissertation, exploring the sensemaking process of families experiencing terminal illness.

Extended Abstract


In this interactive application-based workshop facilitators will guide participants through the deconstruction of a systematic 4-step process for designing and conducting education research. Participants will utilize this process to construct their own education research project which they can implement at their home institution. Throughout the workshop presenters will introduce participants to education research tips, tools and strategies to accelerate and optimize research progress and outcomes. Participants will work independently and in small groups to hone their skills and prepare their research projects for successful implementation and scholarly dissemination. Opportunities for collaboration and community building around a given research topic or design methodology will also be shared. Please bring a device and an innovative idea or research opportunity.   

Problem & Relevance 

Educational innovation requires research to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of new methods of learning design and delivery. In 1991, Boyer defined the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) as the systematic study of the processes of teaching and learning. Shulman (1999) further distinguished SOTL as work that is made public, available for peer review and critique, and that other peers may build upon.  In essence, Shulman was describing how educational researchers can contribute to a body of science on teaching and learning. Within the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), we have an opportunity to lead the science of teaching and learning with technology (SOTLT).  However, in order to take this lead, we must develop a community of researchers skilled in educational research to generate evidence of effective models, frameworks, interventions, and practices for teaching and learning with technology. We must generate a body of knowledge that is public, available for critique by peers and capable of being built upon by other scholars.

We begin by designing and conducting high quality research, even from an action research perspective, to determine the effectiveness of innovations in pedagogical approaches, including innovative uses of technology. Much of our current research focuses on case examples of new and innovative approaches, but we lack sufficient data to demonstrate generalizable results to others contexts and learning environments. We need to be able to generate a larger “N” for educational research projects to move beyond pilot projects or case studies for generalizable results.

To achieve the goal of advancing a community of SOTLT scholars, faculty and instructional designers should consider research design in conjunction with the design of new courses, pedagogical approaches or technological innovations. Time, lack of knowledge of research processes and methods can inhibit the generation of evidence. Therefore, faculty, instructional designers, and researchers need a streamlined process for designing effective education research projects, research protocols must be implemented in conjunction with  pedagogical innovation, and structural assistance, such as an umbrella protocol for research on innovative learning design and delivery, are required to remove the barrier of time associated with education research.


Quick Start (Pre-Session)

Participants will be invited to  join our web-based, interactive platform (e.g. Padlet or Trello) which will be used for facilitating the session and dissemination of resources. Once connected to the platform, participants will respond to descriptive questions to help the facilitators ensure they know who is participating and how to tailor the session.   

Welcome, Objectives, and Introductions (10 Minutes) 

Facilitators will welcome participants, establish objectives, and create a learning environment by revisiting the quick start activity to explain how the interactive platform will be used throughout the workshop. 

Developing an Education Technology Research Protocol 

Facilitators will kick off the 4 Step process by creating a common language and differentiating amongst action research, education research, and program evaluation. During the micro-lecture and discussion portion of each of the 4 Steps an education research example(s) will be deconstructed to help provide a frame-of-reference for participants. 

Step 1: What is the Problem or Issue You are Trying to Solve? (15 Minutes) 

Micro-lecture & Discussion (Large Group): Developing A Question 

Protocol Development (Independent or Small Group)

Feedback (Partners)

Step 2: What data will inform you? (15 Minutes) 

Micro-lecture & Discussion  (Large Group): Data & Data Collection 

Protocol Development (Independent or Small Group)  

Feedback (Partners)

Step 3: How will you collect the data? (15 Minutes) 

Micro-lecture & Discussion  (Large Group): Methods

Protocol Development (Independent or Small Group)

Feedback (Partners)

Step 4: How will you make meaning of your data? (15 Minutes) 

Micro-lecture & Discussion  (Large Group): Analysis 

Protocol Development (Independent or Small Group)

Protocol Debrief: 5 Minutes of Metacognition with Partners (15 Minutes)  

Participants reflect on their experience and commit to follow-up actions as a result of their experience. 

Closing (5 Minutes )

Facilitators will close the session by summarizing workshop pearls and sharing next steps for implementation of the protocols including virtual collaboration space, coaching, and reporting back. 

Tangible Takeaways

At the conclusion of this session, participants will have: 

  • individualized education technology research protocol to implement   

  • access to a virtual toolbox with references and resources 

  • access to a virtual collaboration space



Ernest L. Boyer (1996) From Scholarship Reconsidered to Scholarship Assessed, Quest, 48:2, 129-139, DOI: 10.1080/00336297.1996.10484184

Shulman, L. S. (1999). Taking learning seriously. Change, 31 (4), 10-17. Retrieved from