Researching Online and Online Learning Research
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Researching Online and Online Learning Research



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

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



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Researching Online and Online Learning Research Researching Online and Online Learning Research Presentation Transcript

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