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Exploring online research methods - Incorporating TRI-ORM

TRI-ORM - Project overview

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TRI-ORM was a project which ran from 2007 to 2009 under the [External Link - opens in a new window] ESRC Researcher Development Initiative (Award ref: RES-035-25-0002).

Open/close headingAim

The main aim of TRI-ORM was to stimulate the careful and critical uptake, and further sophisticated use, of Online Research Methods (ORM) and to work towards mainstreaming these innovative methods by building a national and virtual network of research training in ORM. The TRI-ORM page on the RDI website ([External Link - opens in a new window] http://www.rdi.ac.uk/projects/round2/17.php) provides a useful summary of the key achievements and outcomes.


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Open/close headingTraining

The training programme included three strands (hence TRI-ORM):

  1. A series of 6 introductory one-day face-to-face workshops based in ESRC Regional Training Centres to cater for researchers still relatively unfamiliar with online research methods. These workshops focused particularly on 'training the trainers' with the hope that the enhanced knowledge would 'trickle down' to research staff and postgraduates through follow-on teaching and supervision.
    See Training: Workshops for information about these workshops and for online information packs and videos of workshop contents.
  2. A 15 credit M-level module in advanced online methods for active online researchers. This online training module was designed for more experienced users to enable them to develop and hone their skills in particular ORM of value to their own research. The module was designed to encourage participants to develop 'communities of practice' through shared interest, peer-support and feedback. It was envisaged that these communities of practice would continue to develop and evolve beyond the life of the online training module and that such engagement would further support and contribute to the long-term professional development of participants in ORM.
    See Training: Online courses for information about the online course and for archived course materials.
  3. A final strand of TRI-ORM was to enhance methodological understanding and practice of online research methods through self-directed learning via this website which was enhanced and developed in order to increase its reach and effectiveness as a resource for trainers and self-directed learners. The aim was to ensure that this resource would provide support for both the face-to-face training and the online training module, and would also provide initial and continuing professional development routes for individuals who prefer to study independently, or who were unable to either attend the face-to-face events or participate in the online training module. It was also hoped that the production of training guidelines would allow trainers to make more effective use of the learning activities and case studies embedded within the site.
    See the 'Self-study' area as well as the 'Resources for learners' and 'Resources for tutors' sections.


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Open/close headingTarget audience

The training delivered through the project was targeted at established researchers, junior researchers, research assistants, research supervisors, and postgraduates (ESRC and non-ESRC). TRI-ORM was thoroughly interdisciplinary and although it targeted the social science community, it also aimed to be attractive to participants from the medical sciences, government research organisations and the university administrative sector.

The range of training activities offered aimed to ensure that TRI-ORM would cater for varying levels of knowledge, varying stages of career development and different learning styles and opportunities to take part in regular formal study.


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Open/close headingDissemination

The training programme was promoted through:


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Open/close headingEvaluation

The training programme was evaluated from the outset by an independent Evaluation Consultant, Julia Meek who has a wide range of experience of evaluating learning technologies in Higher Education.

The purpose of this external evaluation was to provide timely feedback to the project team on how delivery of the project's objectives could be improved within the lifetime of the project (formative evaluation). It also aimed to evaluate whether the project's outcomes had been delivered by the end of the project and whether they had produced lasting value for the social science community (summative evaluation). See the 'Evaluation' page for details about the evaluation process.


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