April 15, 2024
Blog / PhD

Research Methods

I am just revisiting some of the papers that I did for Part One of my PhD and popping them on blog posts. Here is the first one that I did for the Research Methods Module.

Open Digital Badge Implementation and Grounded Theory


Open Digital Badges and Micro Credentialing provide a way of documenting learning accomplishments and skills. This qualitative study was conducted to explore the experience of staff in relation to Open Digital Badges in terms of their understanding, use and future potential of such badges within a university setting. Participants were interviewed using semi-structured interviews and the resulting data analysed using a Grounded Theory method. Results of the study indicated five broad themes in relation to perception and usage. Overall, participants had positive perceptions of Open Digital Badges and could see potential uses for them in their own and other areas including Professional Development, but there is still much uncertainty in relation to storage and sharing of badges. Other findings indicate that badge appearance is a vital component in relation to the perceived authenticity and credibility of the badge and that external judgements including employer perception will also impact on credibility of badges.

Key Words : Open Digital Badges, Micro-credentialing; Higher Education, Professional Development

My Reflections

Research Methods was the first module that I did for the PhD. This was terrifying in a number of ways. I had no idea of whether or not I had what it takes to do ‘PhD’ Level thinking. I remember being really worried of handing it in. It took me so long to do it. But the way the course was structured meant that I had feedback from two of my peers and also my tutor and could then revise it before handing in the final paper. It also meant that I had to provide feedback for two papers from my peers. That turned out to be a really valuable exercise, one which I really wish I had written about at the time but sadly I don’t think I did. My advice to anyone doing a similar programme is to blog about all sorts of things as you go along. On reflection I actually wish I had sought feedback sooner rather than later …

I’m not sure I really did ‘grounded theory’ and on reflection it probably wasn’t the best choice. I tried to come up with an ‘Integrative diagram’ and tried to draw together various categories, themes and relationships and link these with my initial research questions. Not convinced that worked either but seemingly it was good enough for the assignment as I passed.


Strauss, A.L. and Corbin, J. (2015) Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques, 4th edn. London: Sage

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