A Critical analysis of research trends in educational technology theses and dissertations in Turkey

Kara Aydemir, Ayşe Gül
The first aim of this study is to explore the current research trends in the context of graduate programs in the field of Educational Technology in Turkey, and uncover the possible factors that influence these research trends from the perspective of faculty members working at Educational Technology graduate programs. Secondly, this study aims to understand faculty members’ expectations for the future of the field, and their suggestions on how to make Educational Technology field better than as it is today. This study is informed by critical theory. To achieve the aims of the study critical inquiry method is used. Two different data gathering techniques were used sequentially. In the first phase, content analysis technique is used to explore current research methods and topics trend in theses and dissertations completed in Educational Technology graduate programs in Turkey. In this phase, 705 theses and dissertations were analyzed from 1996 to 2016. In the second phase of the study, in-depth interviewing technique was used to uncover factors that have been influential on educational technology research trends, and to understand faculty members’ expectations for the future of the field. Interviews were conducted with eleven faculty members working in Educational Technology graduate programs. The findings of the content analysis indicated that Educational Technology research is dominated by quantitative research designs. However, qualitative research designs have gained the attention of researchers in the last ten-years. The current study addressed that critical methods in the examined theses and dissertations were overlooked. The most preferred research topics were identified as learning environment, delivery method of training and instruction, emerging technologies and acceptance of emerging technologies. The results also showed that social, cultural, and political issues have been largely silenced in the examined theses and dissertations. The findings of in-depth interviews showed that the factors that have been influential on Educational Technology research trends are motivational factors, and influence of the way of thinking about technology. Besides, the interview findings present suggestions for better educational technology research, and predictions for the future of the field in Turkey. The results of this study presents implications for research as well as educational technology graduate students, educational technology scholars, policy makers and practitioners for better educational technology research by addressing blind spots of the field and provides suggestions on how it could be better than it is today.