OER1131 Symposium

Thursday 12 May 13.30 Breakout Room 6

Symposium Short Papers (5):

  1. Learning theory and RLOs. The REQUALLO experience. Graham Gibbs, University of Huddersfield & Colm Crowley, Greenwich University (OER1131a)
  2. OER in the Social Sciences: Tacit models of resource creation. Anna Gruszczynska, C-SAP, University of Birmingham (OER1131b) ppt
  3. The Victoria Climbié Corpus Project. Dawn Clarke & Graham Gibbs, University of Huddersfield (OER1131c)
  4. Qualitative Innovations in CAQDAS (QUIC). Christina Silver, University of Surrey & Graham Gibbs, University of Huddersfield (OER1131d)
  5. Developing an OER Resource for Methods Teaching. Isabelle Brent, C-SAP, University of Birmingham (OER1131e) pptx

Research Methods OERs in the Social Sciences

Chair: Graham Gibbs, University of Huddersfield

Conference Themes: OER strategy and sustainability; Academic practice and digital scholarship; Collaboration and communities

Intended audience: The symposium will principally be of interest to those from the social sciences, education, health studies and business studies who have an interest in the teaching and support of social research methods

Background & rationale: The social sciences is a diverse group of subjects but tends to share a common view about methods of research inquiry. Whilst not every research approach is used by every subject, there is enormous overlap and a 'family resemblance' between each discipline's approach. This is recognised, for example, by the ESRC research training guidelines which specify a common core of methods but also identify considerable overlap in the specialist guidelines for each discipline. These methods – surveys, interviews, experiments, case studies etc. are also shared with disciplines which often sit outside traditional social science faculties, for instance, education, business and computing. This diversity produces certain strengths. For example, research methods is often a core subject at undergraduate level and certainly at postgraduate level and there is a large and widespread need for resources in the area. However, diversity also brings certain problems. These include the need for resources on generic methods to use various substantial topic materials to match those in the disciplines and to respond to a wide range of pedagogic uses and the difficulty of discovering appropriate materials since metadata systems are often poorly designed to deal with the commonalities and commonness of research methods issues.

Main idea(s) to be explored: Papers in this symposium will report on a variety of projects that have been developing OERs for research methods in the social sciences. These will range from those focusing on just one level of student or one single methodological approach to those with wider remits both in terms of methods and in terms of levels. In addition, projects are adopting a range of approaches to dissemination and marketing of the materials they have produced and some are attempting to address the issues of how potential users can determine the appropriateness and quality of the resources they are considering. Presenters will report on their experience in addressing these issues.

How will discussion be facilitated? Discussion will revolve in part around these issues too, but we also want to draw on the experiences of those attending in addressing similar issues elsewhere. In particular we will discuss the following topics:
1. How will potential users find the materials (problems of metadata, subject specificity, adaptability)?
2. How will potential users make judgments and be able to draw conclusions efficiently about the quality, level and appropriateness of materials?
3. What pedagogic limitations are there? Can resources be used in what are predominantly classroom based subjects with mass numbers?

Keywords: social sciences research methods; resource discovery; dissemination; marketing; quality judgements; pedagogy