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C-SAP OER2 collections project survey report
 

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Report on the findings from C-SAP (Higher Education Academy Subject ...

Report on the findings from C-SAP (Higher Education Academy Subject
Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) survey focusing on
patterns of use of online resources in social sciences

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    C-SAP OER2 collections project survey report C-SAP OER2 collections project survey report Document Transcript

    • Report on the findings from C-SAP (Higher Education Academy SubjectCentre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) survey focusing onpatterns of use of online resources in social sciencesAnna GruszczynskaC-SAP, August 2011This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 1
    • ContentsContents ..................................................................................................................................................2Introduction............................................................................................................................................. 3Information about the survey .................................................................................................................3Summary of the findings .........................................................................................................................4 Question 1. Main role..........................................................................................................................4 Question 2. Discipline area..................................................................................................................5 Question 3. Current teaching in terms of a research methods component .......................................6 Question 4. Approach to searching for learning resources online .....................................................6 Question 5. Most often used search sites ...........................................................................................7 Question 6. Any other websites used to look for learning resources .................................................8 Question 7. Initial approach to searching for resources ...................................................................10 Question 8. The relevance of information about creator of teaching resources .............................10 Question 9. Influence of disciplinary context in which the resource was originally developed .......11 Question 10. Usual strategies for using resources in teaching .........................................................12 Question 10a. Preference for downloading resources .................................................................13 Question 11. Preferences regarding the format of the resource .....................................................13 Question 12. Comments and ratings features ..................................................................................14 Question 13: Approaches towards copyright....................................................................................15 Question 14. Important features when searching for online resources ...........................................16 Question 15. Desired features of the methods collection website ..................................................16Conclusions............................................................................................................................................18References ............................................................................................................................................. 20This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 2
    • IntroductionThis report discusses the findings of the survey undertaken within the C-SAP (HigherEducation Academys Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics) project "DiscoveringCollections of Social Science Open Educational Resources". The project ran from August2010 - August 2011 as part of Phase 2 of the HEFCE-funded Open Educational Resources(OER) programme. The programme focused in particular on issues related to the discoveryand use of OER by academics and was managed jointly by the Higher Education Academy[HEA] and Joint Information Systems Committee [JISC].The C-SAP collections project sought to make available open collections of social sciencesresearch methods by embracing Web 2.0 technology and OER-related, sustainablesolutions. The rationale for the project stemmed from the recognition that there is now awide range of OER materials available to support social research methods. However, despiteadvances across the sector, academics and students often have problems locating andaccessing good quality, peer-reviewed resources appropriate for their particular needs. Thusthe project strove to examine which of the Web 2.0 technologies are best suited tosupport dissemination of research methods OERs. The overall aim of the project was toexplore how staff (and students to some extent) discover, use, and potentially re-adaptonline/digital materials in their research methods teaching.Information about the surveyThe purpose of the survey was to inform the project and gather information on ways inwhich academic staff working within the social sciences search for and evaluate onlinelearning resources. The C-SAP survey was adapted from a survey conducted in the contextof Organising Open Educational Resources (OOER) project in the pilot phase of UK OERprogramme (Davies, 2010) with kind permission of David Davies from University of WarwickMedical School.The survey was created using the Bristol Online Surveys platform and consisted of 17questions. It launched in December 2010 and closed at the end of March 2011, with 99respondents altogether. Information about the survey was publicised via C-SAP networksand included in C-SAP newsletter and e-bulletin, relevant mailing lists (such asMEDSOCNews, SOCIAL-POLICY, OPENED and e-Learning Research among others) as well asTwitter. In order to boost a number of responses to the survey, we also published a blogpost on the project blog, communicating early results of the survey (Gruszczynska, 2011),with a more extensive report published on project Slideshare account. As an additionalincentive, respondents had a chance to enter a draw to win Amazon vouchers. The next partThis content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 3
    • of this report provides an overview of the main findings, broken down by individualquestions.Summary of the findingsQuestion 1. Main roleQuestion 1 was aimed at gaining basic information about respondents’ role and overall, wemanaged to attract a wide variety of respondents at different stages of their academiccareers; the survey also includes the views of respondents who are in non-academicpositions such as learning technologists or administrators.1. How would you describe your main role? Professor 13.1% 13 Reader 3.0% 3 Senior Lecturer 25.3% 25 Lecturer 23.2% 23 Sessional Lecturer 3.0% 3 Research Fellow 10.1% 10 Learning technologist 2.0% 2 Administrator 1.0% 1 Other* 19.2% 19 Total 99*The responses included the following roles: research student, associate dean, e-learningdeveloper, course leader, Head of DepartmentThis content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 4
    • Question 2. Discipline area2. What discipline area do you work in? If you work in more than one area, please indicatethe area in which you spend the most time. Sociology: 26.3% 26 Anthropology: 8.1% 8 Politics: 12.1% 12 Criminology: 10.1% 10 Other* 43.4% 43 Total 99*The responses in that category included the following disciplines: education,environmental science, health sciences, nursing and allied healthcare, business studies,social policy, public policy, social work, Social psychologyOver half of the respondents aligned themselves with the social sciences disciplines directlywithin the remit of C-SAP (i.e. sociology, anthropology, politics and criminology). While atthe first glance this might suggest that the categories picked for the survey were notcomprehensive enough, at the same time, at the same time responses included in thecategory “other” suggest that the respondents cover a vast range of disciplines both withinand beyond social sciences and so it would have been difficult to anticipate the full range ofthose responses. Furthermore, the fact that a number of respondents identify themselves asaligned with a discipline outside of immediate remit of social sciences yet chose toparticipate in a survey looking at the use of social sciences online resources reflects thecross-disciplinary nature of social sciences research methodology. This finding also hasbroad implications for the collections project, for instance when it comes to issues arounddescription and discoverability of the resources.This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 5
    • Question 3. Current teaching in terms of a research methods component3. Which of the following best describes your current teaching in terms of a researchmethods component? I am not in a teaching-active role at the moment 21.2% 21 I am currently in a teaching active role but not 18.2% 18 involved in teaching research methods at all I currently teach on qualitative research methods 19.2% 19 courses onlyI currently teach on quantitative research methods 8.1% 8 courses only I currently teach on both qualitative and 28.3% 28 quantitative methods modules Other 5.1% 5 Total 99This question focused on respondents’ involvement in teaching research methods. It has tobe noted that we were interested in patterns of use of online resources in general and sowe did not specifically target lecturers teaching in this area. At the same time, over half ofsurvey respondents are involved in some form of research methods teaching (qualitative,quantitative or both) and so we believe this has been helpful in terms of gaining usefulfeedback to shape the development of a successful research methods collection.Question 4. Approach to searching for learning resources online4. Which of the following statements best describes your approach to searching for learningresources online? Im often searching for learning resources online, 30.3% 30 whether or not I have a specific or immediate need I tend to only search when I have a specific need 60.6% 60 for learning resources I seldom search online for learning resources 6.1% 6 Other 3.0% 3 Total 99This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 6
    • The next set of question was related to our aim of exploring patterns of use and reuse of online resources and by extension, OERs as well. Accordingly, question 4 enquired about the respondents’ approach to searching for learning resources online. An overwhelming majority of respondents (90.9%) did search for learning resources on a fairly regular basis and the most widespread approach seemed to be purpose-driven. That is, twice as many respondents (60.6%) who searched regularly for online resources chose to do so only when they had a specific need as opposed to those (30.3%) who undertook searches regardless of whether there was an immediate need. This finding stresses the relevance of the collections project, which offers research methods resources with an emphasis on principles of quality assurance and discoverability. Question 5. Most often used search sites As part of our inquiry into patters of use and reuse, we also wanted to find out about respondents’ preferences regarding the most commonly used search sites. As the respondents could choose more than one answer, the answers in the table below do not sum up to 100%.5. When searching for learning resources, which search sites do you use most often? Google 82.8% 82 Google Scholar 76.7% 76 Yahoo 2% 2 Bing 5% 5 Amazon 21.2% 21 Wikipedia 32.3% 32 JorumOpen 8.1% 8 Intute 22.2% 22 iTunesU 2% 2 Flickr 4% 4 YouTube 40% 40 Other* 17.2% 17 This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 7
    • Other category included the following resources: • Databases: SAGE, Springer, Wiley, Ingenta, etc. • HEA subject networks resources • Web 2.0 tools: Delicious.com, Diigo, links obtained via Twitter and Facebook • Media resources: BBC News, Guardian, Times Education Supplement, New York Times Perhaps not surprisingly, Google-based search engines – Google itself and Google Scholar turned out to be the most popular, with 82.8% and 76.7% respondents respectively choosing those two services. The preference for Google was quite pronounced given that the third most popular site, YouTube, was chosen by merely 40% respondents; and even more importantly, other dedicated search engines were chosen by far fewer respondents (Yahoo – 2%; Bing – 5%). Similarly few respondents chose to search for resources via dedicated educational repositories, with only 8.1% indicating their preference for JorumOpen. Some more unexpected research findings included respondents’ indication of Wikipedia (32.3%) and Amazon (21.2%) as preferred sites. After all, the academic use of Wikipedia continues to be a divisive issue among lecturers, especially when it comes to students relying on articles from Wikipedia in their assignments (Eijkman, 2010). It is also interesting that the users would find Amazon.com useful for finding teaching resources since this is a commercial and not an educational website; the popularity of the platform might be related to a well-developed rating and reviewing system. Finally, about one fifth of respondents mentioned that they rely on Intute, a curated resource gateway. Overall, the responses to that question indicate that users value first and foremost simplicity of design but also appreciate having access to resources which are personalised (for instance through ratings/reviews) or thematically organised (as is the case with Intute). Question 6. Any other websites used to look for learning resources The reliance on websites which provide thematically organised resources was also evident when looking at responses provided in question 6 where respondents were invited to offer details of any websites they find useful in their teaching. The long list of resources (reproduced below) was slanted towards websites devoted to specific research projects or pulling together resources on a concrete theme. Another significant finding was the reliance of users on social networking tools such as Facebook or delicious to obtain recommendations for teaching resources. This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 8
    • 6. Please list any other websites you use often to look for learning resources (if relevant,otherwise leave blank).A level sociology sites for teaching ideasBBC News Government statistical websitesBBC News, Guardian, Observer,C-SAP, HEA and methods@manchesterDelicious.com, subscribe to RSS feeds from journals databases (SAGE, Springer, Wiley,Ingenta, etc.), magazine RSS feeds,DiigoESDS, NCRM and JORUMFacebook links posted by my social network which contains a handful of quants methodslecturers - i would also use this to ask if they know of resources, and i have posted resourcesthat i have found. I "like" a number of pages on Facebook that give me material and ideas,e.g. the RSA etc. I also often follow links that have arrived in emails that I have received as aresult of being a member of jiscmail and other mailing lists, including a large number ofmethods mailing lists. I also use the web pages that are associated with the prescribed textbooks for the course.HEAHEA HEFCE YouTube.edu(education) Directgov Education database searchesHealthtalkonlinehttp://www.conceptlinkage.org/#demo http://www.restore.ac.uk/orm/http://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/realities/resources/toolkits/ http://www.v-resort.ac.uk/I also use training and learning sites like Trainers Library and Training ZoneI have a research resources database on my own website --http://www.arasite.org/RMdatabase/RMintro.htmlLexis UK Data Archive Google Trendsnytimes.comQAARadStats ESRC Quants Initiative ESDS European Social SurveyResearch methods network Online QDA at Huddersfield Also adapted some stuff at ESDSSCIE, research mindedness, SWAPSocial Research Update (Surrey)This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 9
    • the free dictionary onlineVimeo ESRC Research Methods Centre ESRC Data Archive Jorumwww.tes.co.ukQuestion 7. Initial approach to searching for resourcesThe next question focused on respondents’ behaviour while undertaking the actual search,with the results indicating that there is an even split between a strategy based on inputtinggeneric search terms (43.9%) and using more targeted phrases as part of more refinedsearch strategy (43.9%). A small minority (10.2%) indicated that they might have somedifficulty with defining their search terms; this might be an issue worth addressing viaadditional training.7. When searching for learning resources, which of the following statements best describesyour initial approach?I try short descriptive phrases or keywords such as 43.9% 43 conducting focus groups I try mixing phrases or keywords to add context 43.9% 43 such as focus groups sociology undergraduate I dont always have a clear idea how to describe 10.2% 10 what Im looking for Other 2.0% 2 Total 99Question 8. The relevance of information about creator of teaching resourcesThis question was aimed at eliciting information about people’s behaviours when it comesto making judgements about the quality of teaching resources they find online especiallysince quality concerns come up frequently in the context of sharing educational resources(McGill et al., 2008). Responses to this question also provided us with some insight intowhether people perceived information about the creator of the resource as an essentialpart of the resource description.This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 10
    • 8. When choosing a learning resource from search results, how influenced are you by whocreated it? Its highly important to me 57.6% 57 It is somewhat important to me 30.3% 30 Its not very important to me 6.1% 6 Its not important at all 3.0% 3 Other 3.0% 3 Total 99An overwhelming majority agreed that the information about the creator of the resource (ifit was provided) was important to them, with 87.9% respondents overall agreeing that itwas highly or somewhat important. The relative importance attached to this informationmight suggest that wherever possible, it should be included as an element of resourcedescription.Question 9. Influence of disciplinary context in which the resource was originallydevelopedOverall, the answers to question 9 indicate that the respondents do not perceiveinformation about the disciplinary context in which the resource was created to be a crucialelement of resource description and for the most part view it as useful, but not essential(74.7%). This finding has further implications for the description of resources curated via thecollections website. Given that it is quite likely that a politics lecturer would be interested infinding and repurposing a resource originally created in the context of sociology orcriminology courses, resources placed on collections website need to be described in a waywhich enhances their discoverability.This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 11
    • 9. When choosing a learning resource, how influenced are you by the disciplinary context inwhich the resource was originally developed(provided this information is available)?Its highly important to choose a learning resource that has been used within a context similar to 15.2% 15 mine Its useful to know the original context, but not 74.7% 74essential for me when choosing learning resources I would not choose a learning resource outside of 0.0% 0 my own discipline I dont need to have access to this information 6.1% 6 when choosing a learning resource Other 4.0% 4 Total 99Question 10. Usual strategies for using resources in teachingAs mentioned previously, one of the aims of the survey was to learn more about userpreferences in order to inform the development of the collections website. Thus inQuestion 10 we wanted to find out whether users preferred to signpost the students to theresource by offering a link or whether they would rather choose to download a copy fortheir personal use. Preferences were split quite evenly, with about a third of respondentschoosing either of these options and a further third stating that they had no preference.10. Once youve found a relevant learning resource, which of the statements below bestdescribe your usual strategy for using the resource in your teaching? I prefer to offer a link to the resource 32.3% 32 I prefer to download a copy of the resource for 34.3% 34 use elsewhere I have no preference 28.3% 28 Other 5.1% 5 Total 99We included a follow-up question for those who indicated their preference for downloadinga resource as this is the only option which opens up a possibility of repurposing and forinstance changing the format/granularity of the resource, adding further elements to it etc.This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 12
    • Question 10a. Preference for downloading resources10.a. If you prefer to download learning resources that you find, why do you prefer thismethod? I like to have more control over how my students 17.6% 6 access a learning resourceSometimes the learning resource I find disappears 29.4% 10 or moves if I dont download it Sometimes I only want a part of a learning 11.8% 4 resource, not the whole thing I sometimes like to reformat or split apart a 20.6% 7 learning resource I find Other 20.6% 7 Total 34Overall, the preference for downloading a copy of the resource rather than just offering alink was connected to the expressed need for having more control over the resource. Someusers wanted to be able to regulate the way in which students access the resource (17.6%),others expressed concerns related to the longevity of the resource, with links becomingbroken or resources disappearing altogether (29.4%) and finally others wanted to be able touse only part of the resource (11.8%) or reformat it altogether (20.6%). In the freecomments section, some users also mentioned problems with not always reliable universityIT network which discouraged them from relying solely on the link to a resource during alecture.Question 11. Preferences regarding the format of the resourceIn general, users did not seem to have a strong preference for accessing resources in aparticular format, with only 14.1% incorporating a preferred format into their searchstrategy. A majority of respondents (67.7%) did not consider format to be a relevant aspectof the resource and 14.1% argued that format was irrelevant because they felt competentenough to reformat the resource if needed. A small fraction (3.0%) mentioned that theylacked the skills to search for a resource in a particular format and so it might be worthincluding that information with any materials that address the issue of searching for onlineresources.This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 13
    • 11. Regarding the format of learning resources you find, which of the following bestdescribes your experience? Please interpret format in whichever way makes most sense toyou, for example type of file, whether a learning resource is on a web page, in a MS Wordfile, PDF, etc. I often have a clear idea of the format I want so I 14.1% 14 incorporate this in my search I dont mind what format the resource is in, as 67.7% 67 long it is a good quality resource I dont mind what format the resource is in, as I can easily get it converted to the specific format I 14.1% 14 need myself I dont know how to search for resources in a 3.0% 3 particular format Other 1.0% 1 Total 99Question 12. Comments and ratings featuresAs mentioned earlier, quality is quite a high-priority concern for (re)users of OERs and sowhen designing the survey, we were hoping to find out how lectures make judgementsabout the quality of resources that they find online, which is why Question 12 specificallyasks about respondents’ attitudes towards reviews of learning resources.12. How influenced are you by users comments or ratings (if they are available) aboutlearning resources that you find? If user ratings are available I tend to use them to 19.2% 19 make up my mind before using a resource I seldom rely on user ratings as I dont know the 26.3% 26 context in which the comments are made User ratings dont really matter to me provided 37.4% 37 the resource is fit for my purpose I would not use a resource that had a bad review, 2.0% 2 rating or comment The websites I most frequently use dont have 14.1% 14 user ratings Other 1.0% 1 Total 99This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 14
    • About one fifth of the respondents (19.2%) declared that they would take user ratings intoaccount when deciding whether to use the resource for their own teaching. at the sametime, a somewhat similar proportion of respondents (26.3%) expressed a mistrust of userratings, arguing that they were reluctant to rely on user ratings because their provenancecould not be trusted. Over a third (37.4%) of respondents argued that user ratings wereirrelevant provided that the resource was “fit for purpose” and so an assumption could bemade that users themselves would be making judgements about whether the resource wasfit for purpose or not. On a related note, only a very small minority (2%) claimed they wouldnot use a resource that had a bad review and so this implies that users are unlikely to relysolely on reviews/ratings when deciding whether a resource would be useful for theirteaching. Finally, 14.2% respondents viewed ratings as largely irrelevant due to the fact thatthe websites they most commonly accessed to search for resources lacked the rating andreviewing features.Question 13: Approaches towards copyrightIn general, copyright issues are the defining feature of OERs which should be licensed insuch a way as to allow use, re-use and re-purposing (Yuan et al., 2008). Accordingly,question 13 was meant to elicit information about academic practices related to sharingresources and general awareness of copyright issues.13. When you have found a learning resource that you would like to use, which of thefollowing statements best describes your approach: I tend to look for learning resources which are 18.2% 18 licensed under Creative Commons I normally ask the author for permission whether 4.0% 4 or not theres a clear licensing statement I dont really pay attention to the licensing of the resources as I only intend to use them for 54.5% 54 educational purposesI dont think it is necessary to ask for permission as 12.1% 12 the resource is online anyway Other 11.1% 11Less than one fifth of respondents to the survey (18.2%) indicated that they are purposefullyseeking out resources that are licensed under Creative Commons; these licenses provide aThis content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 15
    • clear indication of conditions under which resources can be re-used and shared. A smallfraction of respondents (4%) went even one step further and declared that they wouldnormally ask the author of a learning resource for permission to use it regardless of itslicense. While entering in such a dialogue might be useful for both parties, it is neverthelessquite consuming and even unnecessary if the resource is CC-licenced and so this particularresponse might indicate some level of misunderstanding of issues around copyright andlicensing. At the same time, it is really concerning that over a half of respondents believethat copyright issues are largely irrelevant either because they intend to use the resource inan educational context and so presumably need not address copyright issues (54.5%respondents) or because the resource has been published online and by implication can befreely re-used (12.1%). Those responses indicate quite a low level of awareness of copyrightissues and indicate that there is still a lot of work to be done to remove barriers in sharingcontent in order to change academic practice which to a large extent relies on tacitassumptions about copyright and licensing with regard to educational resources (Littlejohnet al. 2010).The remaining questions in the survey were open-ended and aimed at gaining feedback asto what the features of the collections website should be.Question 14. Important features when searching for online resourcesOverall, the key message from the respondents was that resources should be of high qualityand meet the criteria of “fitness for purpose”. Importantly, teaching materials need to berelevant to users’ teaching needs as well as reliable and accurate, especially when it comesto subjects such as social policy where guidelines etc. change quite quickly thus makingsome teaching resources obsolete (at the same time, the nature of research methodsresources overall means that they should not go out of date so rapidly). Users alsoemphasised the need to be able to find the resources quickly and easily as indicated by oneof the respondents: Being able to find resources quickly. This requires that they are tagged with the keywords that I can think of using and it would also be useful if short summaries of the resource were readily available via the search engine so that it is possible to evaluate whether they are appropriate without having to go through in detail.Thus the level of description provided should be “user friendly” and offer adequate detailswithout overburdening the user.Question 15. Desired features of the methods collection websiteThis content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 16
    • In response to Question 15, users were invited to offer their ideas as to what features theywould like to see in an “ideal” collections website if there were no restrictions on time andresources available to create such a website.In terms of overall needs, users indicated that they would like to see a resource thatsignposted them to a variety of resources which were fit for purpose and addressed theirspecific teaching needs. They also indicated that the resources should be adequatelydescribed with details about author, discipline and possible learning uses and finally, thatthe resources should be in a format which is easy to access and/or amend.Other comments focused on pedagogical issues and so users would like to see a collectionthat offered information on ways in which resources are integrated in the actual teaching.Some user also mentioned that they would appreciate being able to access resources whichwere targeted at students of varying levels of ability and pre-existing knowledge of researchmethods.Generally, in terms of how the ideal collections website should be organised, the preferencewas for a research methods gateway which would offer case studies of implementingresearch methods in practice. The gateway would be organised thematically so that userscould access resources which address issues that frequently come up in the context ofresearch methods (such as ethics) across different social science disciplines. Furthermore, anumber of users indicated that they would like to see elements of various Web2.0applications that they have come to appreciate mostly in the context of social networkingwebsites: 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. 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.A number of users also indicated their preference for including videos as part of theresearch methods resources collection: 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?)This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 17
    • 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.At the same time, preference for video might be connected with the fact that it offers ameans of catering to different learning styles (Kuhn et al., 2010); this is helpful especially inthe case of teaching research methods where the content can quite often be abstract(Macheski et al., 2008).ConclusionsThe survey was part of the effort of the C-SAP collections project team to define the focusand scope for a collection of research methods in social sciences and accordingly, itspurpose was to gather information on ways in which academic staff working within thesocial sciences search for and evaluate online learning resources.First and foremost, the survey provides substantial evidence for the need to address issuesaround copyright and especially the assumption that if the resources are used foreducational purposes, copyright does not apply. This approach presents significant barriersto the uptake of OERs; increasing awareness of Creative Commons licenses and OERs couldhelp encourage more academics to share and re-use already existing resources.Overall, the key message from the respondents was that resources should be of high qualityand meet the criteria of “fitness for purpose”. At the same time, users seem to trust firstand foremost their own judgement and so appreciate being able to access resourcesdescribed in a way which speeds up that process; therefore striking a balance in terms ofproviding descriptions which are not overly detailed yet not too limited is vital. The surveyresults emphasise the relevance of including elements of pedagogical description with theresource given that a number of users indicated a need for resources that match theirteaching needs and are pitched at a level which is adequate for their students.The concept of “fitness for purpose” also extends into other aspects of user behaviour;respondents mentioned that they prefer to search for resources when they have a specificneed and therefore value being able to access resources which are curated and/ororganised around the model of a gateway. Furthermore, user preferences are stronglyinfluenced by features embedded within existing commercial websites (such as Amazon)and Web 2.0 applications (such as Facebook or diigo).This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 18
    • Overall, the survey has given us better insight into academic practice that informsacademics’ approach to digital resources in general and OERs in particular. As much aspossible, the C-SAP collections team will strive to incorporate the conclusions from thesurvey into a resource being developed as part of the project an interactive researchmethods website hosted at methods.hud.ac.uk.This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 19
    • ReferencesDavies, D. 2010. OOER resource discovery/re-use survey. Available: http://www.medev.ac.uk/ourwork/oer/survey_analysis/ [Accessed 17 July 2011].Eijkman, H. (2010). Academics and Wikipedia: Reframing Web 2.0+as a disruptor of traditional academic power-knowledge arrangements. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 27(3), 173 - 185.Gruszczynska, A. (2011). C-SAP collections survey: A very special preview. Available: http://csapopencollections.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/c-sap-collections-survey-a- very-special-preview/ [Accessed 7 July 2011].Kuhn, K.-A., Russell-Bennett, R., & Rundle-Thiele, S. (2010, 26 - 29 May). Promoting student learning with online videos: a research agenda. Paper presented at the 2010 Academy of Marketing Science Annual conference, Portland, USA.Littlejohn, A., Falconer, I., Smith, K., Milligan, C., Carroll, C., Beetham, H., et al. (2010). Subject strand - Cultural issues. Available: http://www.caledonianacademy.net/spaces/oer/index.php?n=Main.SubjectStrand- CulturalIssues [Accessed 3 July 2011].Macheski, G. E., Buhrmann, J., Lowney, K. S., & Bush, M. E. L. (2008). Overcoming Student Disengagement and Anxiety in Theory, Methods, and Statistics Courses by Building a Community of Learners. Teaching Sociology, 36(1), 42-48.McGill, L., Currier, S., Duncan, C., & Douglas, P. (December 2008). Good intentions: improving the evidence base in support of sharing learning materials: JISC.Yuan, L., MacNeill, S., & Kraan, W. (2008). Open Educational Resources - Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Education. Available: http://learn.creativecommons.org/wp- content/uploads/2008/09/oer_briefing_paper.pdf. [Accessed 10 June 2010].This content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK:England & Wales http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ 20