Distance Education Teaching/Learning

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Chapter 1 provided general information related to the problem to be researched on and its background information. Chapter 2 describes the research methodology deemed suitable for the kind of research carried out and the data collection and analysis methods that suit a case study.
The chapter also deals with quantitative methods that would support the mainframe of the research, which is the case study design, that can be viewed as a subunit of the more thorough and time consuming ethnographic study. Among other things, the chapter pays particular attention to:
ƒThe research design that was utilized,
ƒThe sampling method that was adopted,
ƒData collection methods that were employed, and
ƒData analysis methods that were used.

THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The study aimed at assessing the suitability of the BEDEAPPS degree offered by the Zimbabwe Open University as a further teacher education programme for trained primary school teachers in Zimbabwe. The suitability level would eventually be determined by the degree’s ability to address professional inadequacies of trained primary school teachers as well as its ability to strengthen the professional skills trained primary school teachers already possessed.
The study would also determine, to a limited extent, the effectiveness of the open and distance learning model through which the programme was delivered to students.

THE RESEARCH DESIGN

The research process or practice becomes a purposeful, meaningful and systematic exercise if it is carried out within the realms of a distinct and definable mode of investigation, which researchers call the research design. The research design becomes the researcher’s plan of action that will provide the researcher with a framework of operation that will steer the process through stages that are research worthy and that are in agreement with the genre of the research design guiding the process.
Borg and Gall (1983), Kerlinger (1964), Leedy (1980), Cohen and Manion (1985) and Trussel (1981) among others, describe various research designs that a researcher can employ and these include the case studies, historical designs, experimental designs and survey designs. Though the list is not exhaustive, it, however, shows that research designs are various and varied.
The case study design was utilised to carry out the study on provision of teacher education in the context of open and distance learning in Zimbabwe.

The Case Study

Frazier (1973: 127-156), Merriam (1988: 2-5), Stenhouse (1985) and Thomas (1998: 81-132)describe a case study as a systematic and in-depth study of a single case, which could be an individual person, a group of persons, an organisation or an institution (schools included). Thomas (1998: 81-132) in particular includes systems, methods and events in his definition of single cases that a case study can be utilised to study. Frazier (ibid) mentions a person or an individual as an example of a single case that a case study can be used to provide an in-depth study on.
Sturman (1999: 103-109) makes interesting observations on what he calls case study methods. He sees the term case as a generic term for the investigation of an individual group or phenomenon whose intended objective is to provide an indepth study of that
individual or phenomenon. The explanation by Sturman (ibid) is further supported by Wamahui and Karugu (1995: 114-120) who view a case study approach to research as one that aims at providing a detailed study of an individual unit, be it a family, a person, a clique, a group, a school or a community.
The case study’s ability to provide an in-depth study on a phenomenon and an ability to generate detailed information about he phenomenon made it a suitable design for the study that was carried out. It is, however, critical to point out that while an ethnographic design would have provided an even more in-depth study, a case study was settled for because of the relatively less time demands associated with it in comparison to time demands associated with an ethnographic study, (Sturman, 1999: 103-109).

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Subsidiary designs

While the case study was the main research design for this study, the researcher will also utilise the survey and the historical designs to augment the case study’s efforts. The survey design was utilised during the data collecting process since questionnaires were used as some of the data collecting instruments. The use of the historical design became prominent when the researcher looked at documents related to the formation of the ZOU and any other documents, including modules that were related to the institution.
Sturman (1999: 103-109) argues that ethnography, action research, evaluation research and educational case studies are the various sheds of this generic term called case study.
It is evident from the contributions by Frazier (1973: 127-156), Merriam (1988: 2-27), Stenhouse (1985), Sturman (1999: 103-109) and Thomas (1998: 81-152) that a case study could be preferred for this study because it has the effect of singling out one case and providing a chance to have an in-depth understanding of the case’s hitherto hidden characteristics. These characteristics of a case study make it suitable for this study as it aimed at singling out a programme on offer at the Zimbabwe Open University in order to generate a theory out of the characteristics that the case study would reveal.

CHAPTER 1: Introduction
Background
The Statement of the Problem
Sub-problems
The Aim of the Study
Hypothesis
Scope of the Study
Assumptions
Abbreviations and Definition of Terms
Method of Research
Research Design
Data Collecting Instruments
Conclusion
CHAPTER 2: Review of Related Literature
Introduction
Distance Education Teaching/Learning
Distance Education
Open Learning
Open Access
Distance Learning
Distance Teaching
Open and Distance Learning
Characteristics of Open and Distance Learning
Open and Distance Learning Models
Teacher Education
What is Teacher Education
The Role of the Teacher
Approaches to Teacher Education (Pre-service and in-service Teacher Education)
Cases of Asian Countries
Latin America
Role of Open and Distance Learning in Teacher Education in Africa
Teacher Education
Case Studies of Teacher Education Programmes offered through Open and Distance Learning
Critical Theory or Thought in Teacher Education
Use of Technology in Open and Distance Teacher Education
Observations
Challenges for Teacher Education Offered Through Open and Distance Learning 83
Conclusion
CHAPTER 3: Research Design and Methods of Data Collection
Research Methodology
The Purpose of the Study
The Research Design
The Case Study
Subsidiary Designs
Justification for the use of the Case Study Design
The Sampling Strategies
Data Collecting Methods
Reliability and Validity
Data Analysis Method
Limitations of the Study Methodology
Conclusion
CHAPTER 4: Data Presentation And Analysis
Introduction
Data Presentation
Questionnaire for Education Officers
Presentation of Data Collected Using Structured Interview Schedules
Data Analysis
Introductory Remarks
Data for the Questionnaire for BEDEAPPS Graduates
Data Analysis for Questionnaire for current BEDEAPPS Students in their
First Year of Study
Data Analysis for Questionnaire for Education Officers
Data Analysis for the Write up for BEDEAPPS Graduates
Data Analysis for Programme Lecturers
Data Analysis for the Write up for Heads of Schools that have BEDEAPPS
Graduates on their staff
Data Analysis for four Interviews
Research Theory
Conclusion
CHAPTER 5: Summary of Findings and Recommendations
Findings from the related literature
Findings from the Empirical Investigation
Comment
Recommendation
Conclusion
References
Appendices
Research Summary
Key terms
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Teacher Education within the Context of Open and Distance Learning in Zimbabwe: A Case Study

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