Researching Online and Online Learning Research


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Presentation during the Workshop on "Researching Distance and Online Leanring" on 23rd Feb. 2008.

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Researching Online and Online Learning Research

  1. 1. <ul><li>Researching Online and Online Learning Research </li></ul>Sanjaya Mishra, PhD
  2. 2. Objectives of the Sessions <ul><li>Explain the meaning of online research; </li></ul><ul><li>Identify different types of ways to do online research; </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss issues related to online research; </li></ul><ul><li>Design online research; </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct research and/or construct online research instruments; and </li></ul><ul><li>Use online research resources. </li></ul>At the end of the combined two session, you are expected to be able to:
  3. 3. Researching Online <ul><li>Doing research using online technologies, essentially to collect data </li></ul><ul><li>Needs understanding of the technologies used </li></ul><ul><li>Research methods and design remain the same, it is only the use of technology that makes the process of research different </li></ul><ul><li>But, without a strong background on research methodology, use of technology alone would not be useful </li></ul>
  4. 4. Online Learning Research <ul><li>Research on online learning as a theme/topic </li></ul><ul><li>This could be done both online and offline </li></ul><ul><li>Mostly use online research, but not necessarily so </li></ul>
  5. 5. What you have learned so far? <ul><li>Identified research areas/topics </li></ul><ul><li>Developed research designs </li></ul><ul><li>Clarified about methodologies </li></ul><ul><li>Developed instruments </li></ul><ul><li>Used statistical packages </li></ul><ul><li>YOU can do all these using online technologies. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why Online Research? <ul><li>Saves time </li></ul><ul><li>Saves money </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of data processing </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic error checking </li></ul><ul><li>Option of putting questions in random </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia capabilities of the web </li></ul><ul><li>Sensitive topics can be handled in confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Can handle large number of individual subjects </li></ul><ul><li>Increase respondent’s motivation to participate </li></ul>
  7. 7. Types of Online Research <ul><li>Non-Probability Approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Entertainment survey (e.g. single question surveys on websites, polls, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-selected web surveys (use of open invitation on portals, websites, mailing list based, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteer panel of Internet users (e.g. Zoomerang) </li></ul><ul><li>Probability Approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Intercept surveys (e.g. pop-up window polls given to every 7 th visitor of a site) </li></ul><ul><li>List-based samples of respondents (e.g., email collected with consent to participate) </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-recruited panel with web access (e.g. expert groups) </li></ul><ul><li>Mixed-mode designs with choice of completion method </li></ul><ul><li>Probability sample of full population (pre-recruited panel given technology access) </li></ul>Source: Couper, M.P (2000) Web surveys: A review of issues and approaches, Public Opinion Quarterly , 64, pp.464-494.
  8. 8. Types of Online Research Technologies <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Email attachment </li></ul><ul><li>Web Forms (widely used) </li></ul><ul><li>One-to-one Text interview (chat) </li></ul><ul><li>One-to-one A/V interview (chat) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus group discussion via chat </li></ul><ul><li>Focus group though collaboration software </li></ul>
  9. 9. Issues in Online Research <ul><li>Sampling issues </li></ul><ul><li>Response rates </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical issues </li></ul><ul><li>Design issues </li></ul><ul><li>Technical issues </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sampling Issues <ul><li>Sample selection bias due to: </li></ul><ul><li>Access to Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Comfort with Internet survey format (preference for print over online response) </li></ul><ul><li>Effect of self-selection (as opposed to random selection) </li></ul><ul><li>Validity of respondents (their eligibility to respond to a survey) </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple responses from the same respondent </li></ul>
  11. 11. Response Rate <ul><li>What is a response rate in online research? </li></ul><ul><li>Poor response rate like mail survey </li></ul><ul><li>Improves considerably due to constant online reminders </li></ul><ul><li>Fast response (average response time within 10 days) </li></ul><ul><li>Low effect of social desirability </li></ul><ul><li>Non-response or incomplete response problem (progress indicator suggested) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Types of Respondents <ul><li>Unit non-responders </li></ul><ul><li>Complete responders </li></ul><ul><li>Answering drop-outs </li></ul><ul><li>Lurkers </li></ul><ul><li>Lurking drop-outs </li></ul><ul><li>Item non-responders </li></ul><ul><li>Item non-responding drop-outs </li></ul>Source: Bosnjak, M.M. and Tuten, T.L. (2001) Classifying response behaviours in web-based surveys, Journal of Computer Mediated Communication , 6 (3), Available at
  13. 13. Ethical Issues <ul><li>Informed prior consent </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy: confidentiality and security </li></ul><ul><li>Incentives to respondents </li></ul><ul><li>Use of online student data, and their work </li></ul><ul><li>Time spent to make observations in chat rooms and discussion forums </li></ul>
  14. 14. Design Issues <ul><li>Use welcome screen to introduce and motivate the respondents </li></ul><ul><li>Design the forms appropriately </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid using drop down menus </li></ul><ul><li>Use conventional format as a printed form </li></ul><ul><li>Break long surveys into parts to avoid scrolling </li></ul><ul><li>Use open ended questions sparingly </li></ul><ul><li>Use incentives to get people to respond </li></ul><ul><li>Use progress bar </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid force questions </li></ul><ul><li>Give an estimated time to complete the survey </li></ul><ul><li>Allow an alternate mode of response </li></ul>
  15. 15. Technical Issues <ul><li>Knowledge of HTML and form design </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of server side administration for data capturing </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of databases </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of statistical software </li></ul><ul><li>All the above or just knowledge of Internet access to use online survey software </li></ul>
  16. 16. A Framework for Online Research Survey Or Interview Sampling Technology Administration Design Analyses
  17. 17. Online Learning Research Trends <ul><li>Student experience and satisfaction of online learning environments </li></ul><ul><li>Comparative experimental studies on online learning, traditional distance learning and classroom learning </li></ul><ul><li>Content analysis of computer mediated communication </li></ul><ul><li>Interactions in discussion forum and online communities </li></ul>
  18. 18. Research Framework for Online Learning Supporting discourse Setting climate Online Experience Teaching-learning Process Adapted from: Garrison, D.R. and Anderson, T. (2003) E-Learning in the 21 st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice, RoutledgeFalmer: London SOCIAL PRESENCE TEACHING PRESENCE COGNITIVE PRESENCE
  19. 19. Online Research Resources <ul><li>Sample only </li></ul><ul><li>Use online databases (Pro Quest , EBSCO, IEL Online, J-Gate, ACM Digital Library) </li></ul><ul><li>Search COLFinder, GoogleScholar </li></ul><ul><li>Starting points for Internet research ( </li></ul><ul><li>Web survey software (Surveymonkey, QuestionPro, HostedSurvey, WebSurveyor) </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>THANK YOU </li></ul><ul><li>Your comments and questions are welcome, before we break for practical work. </li></ul><ul><li>After practical work, please re-assemble in the plenary and show your work to the group. </li></ul>
  21. 21. ACTIVITY (45 min) <ul><li>Design a 10 item questionnaire on a topic of your choice using an online survey software and distribute it to a group of sample respondents. </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct interview of two persons on issues related to accreditation of degrees in distance education using a messaging tool. </li></ul>
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