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Journal Article

Designing Questions for Research Design and Design Research in e‑Learning  pp13-24

Johannes C. Cronje

© Jan 2020 Volume 18 Issue 1, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Heinrich Söbke, pp1 - 115

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This paper presents a model for developing research questions that are aligned to research aims for research design in e‑learning. The model is proposed as a solution to the on‑going problem of heterogeneity of research problems. The model is based on Burrell and Morgan’s four social paradigms, and integrates four research aims, namely, explore, explain, develop and describe; four design positions, namely, formalist, populist, functionalist and conventionist; and four pursuits of (hu)mankind, namely, virtue, value, power and knowledge. Four of Roode’s (1993) research questions are mapped onto each of the consolidated paradigms. The feasibility of the model was tested against eight papers in previous issues of this journal. Two questions drove the study: what are the paradigms in which the selected articles can be classified, and how are these paradigms aligned to the research aims and research questions? The model was found to be useful in aligning the implied research aims and research questions of the selected papers. The model is proposed as a useful tool for supervisors and novice researchers to assist with the development of integrated research aims and research questions. Further research will include the development of generic question stems that can be used as the first few words of the questions that correspond to each aim.


Keywords: Research paradigm, research aims, research questions, design research


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Journal Issue

Volume 18 Issue 1 / Jan 2020  pp1‑115

Editor: Rikke Ørngreen, Heinrich Söbke

View Contents Download PDF (free)

Keywords: case study, development, educational change, e-learning, higher education, library, pedagogy, Research paradigm, research aims, research questions, design research, PBL, Medicine, Cloud-based learning, UNIO, Student-Run Free Clinic, Peer-assisted Learning, Web-based learning, Virtual Patient, Medical Education, Family Medicine, Information literacy, ICT4D, information access, contextualisation, education sector, game-based learning, educational games, learning games, framework, dimensions, factors, relations, game analysis, evaluation, design, digital and network society (DNS), open online learning (OOL), higher education (HE) curriculum, MOOC platforms, business model innovation, share economy, open education, Business Model Canvas


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