Preliminary survey results: Online social sciences resources


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This documents presents preliminary results of a survey being conducted by C-SAP, targeted at academic staff working within the social sciences. Its purpose is to ask how academic staff search for learning resources online, the sources they use, and how they evaluate the results you find. We are defining learning resources in the broadest sense, any online resource that can be used to support learning.

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Preliminary survey results: Online social sciences resources

  1. 1. Selected preliminary findings from C-SAP survey on the use of online teaching resources in social sciences (13 Jan 2011, on the basis of 58 respondents, aiming to get at least 100 responses by end of February) For more information about the survey, visit The results of the survey will inform the project currently undertaken by C-SAP (the Higher Education Academy's Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) within the national Open Educational Resources programme: "Discovering Collections of Social Science Open Educational Resources" (for more information on the project see Main role Professor: 6.9% 4 Reader: 3.4% 2 Senior Lecturer: 24.1% 14 Lecturer: 24.1% 14 Sessional Lecturer: 5.2% 3 Research Fellow: 8.6% 5 Learning technologist: 1.7% 1 Administrator: 1.7% 1 Other*: 24.1% 14 *The responses included the following roles: research student, associate dean, e-learning developer, course leader, Head of Department Copyright C-SAP, 2010. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales 1
  2. 2. Discipline area Sociology: 19.0% 11 Anthropology: 10.3% 6 Politics: 19.0% 11 Criminology: 13.8% 8 Other*: 37.9% 22 *The responses included the following disciplines: education, environmental science, health sciences, nursing and allied healthcare, business studies, social policy, public policy, social work, Social psychology Copyright C-SAP, 2010. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales 2
  3. 3. Involvement in research methods teaching Not in a teaching-active role 24.1% 14 In a teaching active role but not involved in 25.9% 15 teaching research methods Teaching qualitative research methods only 19.0% 11 teaching quantitative research methods only 1.7% 1 Teaching both qualitative and quantitative 24.1% 14 methods Other 5.2% 3 Which of the following statements best describes your approach to searching learning resources online? I'm often searching for learning resources online, whether or not I have a specific or immediate 39.7% 23 need: I tend to only search when I have a specific need 51.7% 30 for learning resources: I seldom search online for learning resources: 5.2% 3 Other: 3.4% 2 Copyright C-SAP, 2010. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales 3
  4. 4. When choosing a learning resource, how influenced are you by the disciplinary context in which the resource was originally developed (provided this information is available)? It's highly important to choose a learning resource that has been used within a context similar to mine: 12.1% 7 It's useful to know the original context, but not essential: 79.3% 46 I would not choose a learning resource outside of my own discipline: 0.0% 0 I don't need to have access to this information: 5.2% 3 Other: 3.4% 2 When searching for learning resources, which search sites do you use most often? (answers add up to more than 100% as it was possible to select multiple options) Copyright C-SAP, 2010. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales 4
  5. 5. Google: 79.3% 46 Google Scholar: 81.0% 47 Yahoo: 3.4% 2 Bing: 5.2% 3 Amazon: 20.7% 12 Wikipedia: 31.0% 18 JorumOpen: 6.9% 4 Intute: 25.9% 15 iTunesU: 3.4% 2 Flickr: 6.9% 4 YouTube: 46.6% 27 Other: 19.0% 11 *Other field included the following resources: • Databases: SAGE, Springer, Wiley, Ingenta, etc. • HEA subject networks resources • Web 2.0 tools:, Diigo, links obtained via Twitter and Facebook • Media resources: BBC News, Guardian, Times Education Supplement, New York Times When choosing a learning resource from search results, how influenced are you by who created it? It's highly important to me: 62.1% 36 It is somewhat important to me: 27.6% 16 It's not very important to me: 6.9% 4 It's not important at all: 0.0% 0 Other: 3.4% 2 How influenced are you by user's comments or ratings (if they are available) about learning resources that you find? If user ratings are available I tend to use them to 20.7% 12 make up my mind before using a resource: Copyright C-SAP, 2010. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales 5
  6. 6. I seldom rely on user ratings as I don't know the 27.6% 16 context in which the comments are made: User ratings don't really matter to me provided 32.8% 19 the resource is fit for my purpose: I would not use a resource that had a bad review, 3.4% 2 rating or comment: The websites I most frequently use don't have 15.5% 9 user ratings: When you have found a learning resource that you would like to use, which of the following statements best describes your approach: I tend to look for learning resources which are 19.0% 11 licensed under Creative Commons: I normally ask the author for permission whether 5.2% 3 or not there's a clear licensing statement: I don't really pay attention to the licensing of the resources as I only intend to use them for 50.0% 29 educational purposes: I don't think it is necessary to ask for permission as 13.8% 8 the resource is online anyway: Other: 12.1% 7 IDEAS FOR A RESEARCH METHODS COLLECTION (In response to the following question asked in the survey: As part of the C-SAP OER project, we are building an online collection of social sciences research methods resources. We are still in the early stages of designing the collection and so your feedback would be very appreciated. This is your opportunity to tell us what would be helpful in your particular context - what sort of materials you like to see in such a collection, how should the resources be presented etc.? Feel free to engage in some blue skies thinking!) Overall needs • Variety, and a good range of resources from various sources • Fitness for purpose, good value for money, addressing the learning need we have identified • Quality, reliability, tracking of the context of provenience (author, discipline, purposes, etc.) Copyright C-SAP, 2010. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales 6
  7. 7. • Relevance to topic and the teaching context • User friendly and in a format which is easy to access/amend Focus on students • For students it would be useful to have comments, critiques and analyses of sources posted by users • How are the resources used and presented to students; how are they integrated in the actual teaching. • Creative format to help students' ability to relate to and understand the message A research methods gateway • Interesting research examples, particularly looking into the problems of doing research such as ethics, but from lots of different social science disciplines. • As there are so many portals/gateways for subjects, it is useful to know if there is a central social sciences one that offers links out to all. Social networking model • A Facebook page which we could "like" which would alert us to new resources that have been newly added to the collection in our news feed; an "account" on your website where we could collect together the resources from the site that are most useful to us • An Amazon style algorithm running which suggested new resources to us based on the ones we had moved to our account, or that other account holders who had also selected that resource had used. • Something akin to the Diigo education group would be useful as resources could be added by users as well as C-SAP, and the tagging and comment functions, as well as being able to post topics, would help create a more dynamic and interactive resource. • You tube clips - I have found some great resources being generated by respected academics in the US, could we have the same here (e.g. some big names doing two minutes clips on their speciality?) • Short videos (or other material, but something visual would be useful) demonstrating how to use software such as SPSS - very small, max 5 minutes on specific features of SPSS, so that we can pick and choose the ones we need. This is the sort of material that can take a long time for individual lecturers to prepare; but which would be very useful to support teaching. Copyright C-SAP, 2010. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales 7