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This week I was able to find an interesting article from ETRD on conceptual frameworks for educational technology research.  I’ve been trying to follow the AECT lately and this was a nice, relevant find for this week’s topics.

Antonenko, P. D. (2015). The instrumental value of conceptual frameworks in educational technology research. Educational Technology Research and Development, 63(1), 53–71.

In this article, Antonenko argues for further work in developing conceptual frameworks in educational technology research.  He spends some time developing definitions of broad terms: theory, concepts, conceptual frameworks, theoretical frameworks.  Importantly, he distinguishes conceptual frameworks from theoretical frameworks in detail citing previous work cautioning against ‘conflating’ the two.  He describes conceptual frameworks as custom-build by researchers from the relevant theories in literature in a modular fashion.  He also argues for the value and utility of concept maps through the last few pages of the article.

In my view, some of the strong points of the article are his discussion of the literature review in educational research, his clarity of tone, and his rich variety of sources.  To start off the article Antonenko cautions against using the literature review as a ‘laundry list’ of previous related research, arguing for a “critical analysis of existing research to identify an important gap and present a theory-based and evidence-driven argument for the significance and rigor of the study” (p. 59).  Second, he covers broad ground and presents a clear argument without waxing overly analytical – the article is clear and purposeful.  Last, I felt he drew from a wide variety of well-known resources in educational research like McMillian and Creswell, synthesizing unique points in with concision.

I am lucky at my institution to have the general blessing to conduct educational research with the director of my department.  That said we have a lot of other projects and due dates so time is at a premium.  I am familiar with a few quantitative designs that I’ve used a couple times and I decided to use a qualitative design for my masters thesis work, but I think this article, and the articles from this week are helpful to inform my viewpoint as I take on more advanced research.  With my background in instructional design, I love a good framework too.