The future of practice-based research in educational technology

Small steps to improve generalisability of research


  • Sakinah Alhadad



Practice-based research, evaluation research, research methods, validity, measurement, generalisability


Implicit in the discourse of evidence-based practice are two fundamental concerns. One is the generalisability of research evidence where issues of external validity are integral to translation, relevance, and application in complex and multifaceted higher educational contexts. The other relates to practice-based evidence, where issues of internal validity impact on the design, interpretation, and dissemination of research. While practice-based research has an advantage in terms of high external validity, threats to internal validity can cause significant issues in terms of the subsequent inference, translation, and generalisability of findings. In educational technology, evaluation and research of e-learning in higher education is conducted by both practitioners and academics, each contributing different pieces of the puzzle towards a better understanding of the learning processes in complex real world settings. In this paper, I propose small, practical steps towards improving the generalisability of practice-based research.