Editorial 30(5)

Sue Bennett, Barney Dalgarno, Gregor Kennedy, Michael Henderson


In this editorial we consider some of the strengths of case study research in educational technology and some of the challenges it presents in reporting. Case study approaches are popular in educational technology research, as in education more broadly. This is in part because of the widespread acknowledgement that context plays such an important role in educational experiences. The versatility of the case approach allows researchers to explore the impact of a ‘naturally occurring’ phenomenon, such as the introduction of a new institution-wide technology tool or policy, or to investigate a technology-supported learning experience designed specifically for the purposes of the research. The multiple data sources associated with case study research can lead to a comprehensive dataset enabling greater analytic depth and richness than other approaches. Some of the best case studies in educational technology draw on observations, interviews, and student work products to explore relationships between perceptions, behaviours, and outcomes. Although case studies lack the kind of generalisabilty we associate with high quality experimental and survey research, they can be used for theory testing and theory building (Eisenhardt, 2002; Yin, 2009). The case study approach also takes many forms, including nested designs and mixed methods, and has much in common with formative research (Reigeluth, 1999) and design-based approaches (McKenney & Reeves, 2014).

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2231