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LRC 605 - Qualitative Research

Dr. Eliane Rubinstein-Avila

Course Description​ - This course introduces doctoral students to the theoretical, epistemological and methodological underpinnings that inform qualitative inquiry—with a focus on education.  Students will be exposed to conceptual/theoretical frameworks, epistemologies, methodologies, and the researchers’ positionality shape the research process and “product.” Students will learn an array of methodologies and data gathering techniques under the qualitative research umbrella: ethnography, action research, case study, oral history, cultural studies, etc. Throughout the course students will be guided (step-by-step) in designing an individual qualitative research proposal.  


Learning Objectives - Explain the multiple roles qualitative inquiry play in educational research.  Describe and apply several qualitative research techniques. Plan and design a viable/doable/coherent qualitative research proposal. Apply new knowledge to dissecting and critiquing data-driven qualitative research articles.

Making Connections:

An Investigation in the Motivation of Gaming and Learning

My Learning Objects:


          This research study will investigate adolescents who play World of Warcraft and how they successfully navigate the complexities of the virtual environment.   The study will probe deeper by trying to understand what motivates these young players to persist in completing quest and achieving higher levels of competency. 

            The primary research question in this study will be how do young players of the World of Warcraft successfully navigate the complexities of the game? There are two supporting questions that will assist in exploring this issue. The first question is framed around the learning, how do adolescent players learn how to complete “quest” and “achieve higher levels” in World of Warcraft?  The second question addressed motivation and asks, what motivates adolescent players to persist and move to higher levels of competence in the game?

           Online games and virtual worlds have opened up new opportunities to enhance the educational experience through media-rich immersive learning (Wagner, 2008).  It is important for researchers to make the connection between these media-rich immersive environments together with learning and motivation.  Online games can range from simple text games to games with complex graphics and virtual worlds with multiplayer interaction. The influence of the online gaming culture on the classroom could have a dramatic impact on the paradigm of the current teaching and learning practices.  For when people interact with video games, they are learning in deep ways and game design can leverage deeper learning as forms of pleasure in everyday life (Gee, 2007).  The learning experience that happens in these games is usually focused on exploration and activities that both engage and motivate students (Turkay, 2010). Yet there has not been much research conducted on the connection between gaming, learning and motivation and how this can be implemented in the classroom environment.

            One of these media-rich immersive gaming environments is called World of Warcraft (WoW).  World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG).  This particular game has players assume the role of a character in a fantasy world and through quest and experiences achieve higher levels (Blizzard, 2010).  There have been several studies conducted on World of Warcraft from investigating the impact of game culture and play (Dickey, 2011) to using communities of practice to explain how people learn from play (Oliver & Carr, 2009) to learning experiences with virtual worlds (Wagner, 2008).  Most of these studies have been conducted on adults, who engage and navigate these virtual worlds for enjoyment, yet learning, collaboration and motivation are happening, too.

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