What advice do you have for me for doing my own research?

Use QM Resources

While the data for research resides at your organization, QM has some resources to help you get started and provide some guidance:

  • The QM Research Library has numerous references that support the eight General Standards of the QM Rubric and comprehensive literature reviews to help with your own literature review, which lets you know what research already exists
  • Curated Resources lists existing research on the use of QM to help you see what research has been done and may be worth replicating or expanding upon
  • The QM Research Toolkit has explanations and examples to help you decide on a research question and methodology for your study
  • The Designing Quality Online Learning Research workshop allows you to develop a study with the guidance of a researcher familiar with QM
  • How to Reference & Use QM in Research provides some of the nuts-and-bolts information you will need for writing about and referencing QM in your study
  • Get support locally. A number of strategies that can help you do research on QM implementation include:
  • Doing a study that relates to the strategic goals of your organization or to solve a specific problem in your organization
  • Working with various departments and the administration of your organization to get access to the data needed
  • Getting the help of statistical and research experts to design the study and analyze results
  • Doing the opposite of the weaknesses discussed below by first ensuring there has been substantial implementation of QM, using a large sample, doing a longitudinal study, accounting for confounding variables, and using students as the measure (through propensity score matching, for example)

Understand the Challenges

Embarking on a formal educational research study can be daunting. Measuring the Impact of the Quality MattersTM Rubric: A Discussion of Possibilities provides a look at the roadblocks involved in educational research through the lens of a study on the effects of QM implementation. Further, How Will Unresolved Research Questions Get Answered goes beyond QM in discussing the challenges of educational research. Common weaknesses of research on QM include:

  • Investigator’s lack of familiarity with QM
  • Informal influence of QM prior to its “introduction” as an independent variable
  • Student characteristics
  • Small sample
  • Snapshot of “before and after” QM rather than being longitudinal
  • Lack of accounting for confounding variables
  • Hypothesizing major effects when QM has not been implemented broadly and deeply
  • Using courses as the measure vs. students