QUALITATIVE STUDY – DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
This chapter presents the qualitative research methods that were employed in this study in order to accomplish one of the research objectives. As explained in the introduction this study adopted a mixed research design using cross-sectional survey research in which factors impacting on students’ technology integration were investigated through survey instrument. However, the researcher used both quantitative and qualitative data approaches (Creswell 2009). This chapter will focus on the qualitative part of the study, addressing the objective of exploring student experiences in using technologies to support learning and teaching in a distance learning program at Africa Nazarene University. It gives the plan, structure and strategies that were employed to respond to the research questions.Qualitative data provides a rich, detailed picture to be built up about why people act in certain ways, and their feelings about these actions. This chapter covers the qualitative research design, research population and sampling procedure, ethical clearance, research instruments and data gathering procedure, and data analysis related to the qualitative part of the study.
From qualitative studies, the researcher can gained deep knowledge; however, this is often not generalizable. Qualitative research explores phenomena in specific contexts, articulates participants’ understandings and perceptions and generates tentative concepts and theories that pertain to particular environments (Creswell 2009). Qualitative research is a form of empirical study that aims at showing how individuals view their environment in which they live work and operate. The main aim of using qualitative methods is to give insight into the social reality of individuals’ classes and cultures. In most researches, qualitative approaches are used to explore the behaviour, perspectives and experiences of the population under the study (Holloway 1997). The researcher employed use of qualitative data to bring out the insights of the students perceptions and attitudes on the subject matter. Using qualitative methodology calls for inclusion of a variety of strategies for systematic collection, organization and interpretation of textual material gathered while talking with people or by observation (Malterud 2001). In qualitative approaches, the matter under study are studied in their natural set ups trying to make sense of phenomena in terms of the meanings individuals bring to them.
A qualitative method was included for this study because of the belief that it would bring original information on the issue under study, it would give in-depth information about the subject under study and that it would reveal the feelings, attitudes and opinions of the respondents in their natural environmental setting. It is hoped that the qualitative study will assist the Researcher to explore scenarios in particular contexts, articulate participants’ understandings and perceptions and generate apparent concepts and theories that pertain to the research’s particular environment. The major research question of this study was based on the assessment of the level of technology adoption in learning and teaching, identification of the learners’ perceptions and attitudes towards e-learning, and determination of factors affecting implementation of e-learning at Africa Nazarene University. The researcher felt that she could probe the respondents’ more deeply using qualitative methods to get the answers needed. With qualitative methods,evenbody language can be observed and noted therefore revealing qualitative information that is nonverbal and not written.
Denzin (1970) and Lincoln and Guba (1985) point out that in qualitative research, samples are usually small because the focus is not on the numbers but on how deep and rich the data collected from individual cases is. The aim is not to generalise but to understand an issue in detail. Unlike in quantitative studies where scholars concur over criteria for sample size, qualitative scholars have not generally agreed on adequate sample arguing that an appropriate sample size for a qualitative study is one thatsufficiently answers the research questions (Denzin & Lincoln 2000; Marshall 1996: 523). This has been attributed to different factors by various scholars. Such factors include heterogeneity of the population, selection criteria, multiple samples within one study, data collection methods used, budget and resources available (Ritchie et al. 2003: 5 as cited in Mason 2010); scope of the study, nature of the topic, quality of the data collected, design of the study and expertise in the chosen topic.
To explore the students’ attitudes and perceptions about using technology in learning and teaching, data was collected through Focus Group Discussions. These were used to probe and explore issues that are central to students’ understanding of technology usage for learning and teaching, results from the quantitative research were used to help identify patterns and extent of students’ actual technology usage in learning and teaching. The specific strength of qualitative data is its ability to relate the phenomena under study to other social and cultural phenomena. They are able to lift the veil by digging deep into the underlying issues while quantitative data reveals what the phenomena is all about on an aggregate level and can thereby allow the description of socio-cultural factors and behavioural intentions to use technology for learning (Kelle 2001). The idea is to better understand the detailed views of students in their understanding of learning and this will be achieved through qualitative data.
Judgmental and stratified sampling was used to select respondents who have various levels of understanding of the e-Naz from different department and schools. For Qualitative data analysis; an in-depth focus group discussion questionnaires was analysed manually to help in exploring the students’ attitudes and perceptions about using technology in learning and teaching. Transcriptions and summaries of emerging issues in the discussion were documented in line with Guba and Lincoln cited in Poggenpoel (1998: 238). The responses from students were grouped into themes. The recurring statements and narratives were then summarized and analysed, that is, categorizing and comparing units, integrating categories and their units, delimiting the construction and using external coder.
A key part of any research project is getting workable data from the general population. Without this, your research is shallow, one-sided and lacking in any real proof. It is for this reason that some form of sampling is generally carried out, and one of the most popular sampling methods is a process known as purposive sampling. When carrying out purposive sampling, the researcher chooses specific people within the population to use for a particular study or research project. Unlike random studies, which deliberately include a diverse cross section of ages, backgrounds and cultures, the idea behind purposive sampling is to concentrate on people with particular characteristics who will better be able to assist with the relevant research. In this study, the researcher opted to choose targeted individuals to participate in the focused group discussions. Distance learners from the academic departments and schools were chosen to participate in this research initiative. Traditional conventional students were excluded. The focus group comprised of twelve distance learning students of six men and six women.
Three focus group with four members each were selected and put in different rooms where the moderator used the focus group discussion guide to lead the discussion. The discussion guide was derived from the objectives of the study to probe more deeply into the students’ attitudes and perceptions about using technology in learning and teaching. Accessing the participant’s perspectives and attitudes through interviews was important to the study in revealing how the participants interpret the concept of technology integration and how their understandings influences their behaviour.
Focus groupswere interviewed to obtain the relevant qualitative information. A focus group in this case refers to a group of six to ten individuals led through an open discussion by a skilled moderator or facilitator. The group needs to be large enough to ensure rich discussion but not so large that some participants do not contribute to the discussion. A Focus Group interview refers to a type of interview where respondents sit in a group with the researcher to discuss a topic of interest. Focus group interviews can yield rich detailed information and deep understanding on the subject under study. If properly applied, a Focus group may create an all-inclusive accommodative environment that helps the respondents feel free, enabling them to thoughtfully respond to questions in their own words, therefore making their answers more meaningful. There are many benefits that come along with the use of a Focus Group. Focus Group interviews offer an in-depth revelation of issues at hand based on different contributions of the respondents. They give better quality data in its natural format as compared to other forms of interviews. Focus group interviews also promote active participation and objectivity as the contributors are assured of anonymity.
The Focus Group Guide (Appendix B) consists of recommended questions based upon the general topic areas and structure of the survey. With intention to ensure that the focus group members addressed particular topics, the interview was guided by a schedule. The focus group guide for this study was designed specifically to obtain in-depth information that concerned the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of technology adoption by students of ANU.
Eight questions in total were included on the guide, in line with the objectives of the study. Sample questions from the instrument were “Briefly describe your rating and experience on the level of usage of e-Nazplatform, the Virtual learning environment at Africa Nazarene University; Kindly explain how students use technology in learning and teaching processes in ANU and compare the online discussions as opposed to Face-to-Face instructions that you have had in your courses at ANU; Discuss how Africa Nazarene students’ attitudes and perceptions have influenced your usage of eLearning technological tools available in ANU; From your online education experience, discuss the relationship that exists between technology users attitude/ perception and adoption of technology for learning and teaching; and From your experience and challenges, explain factors influencing implementation of technology to support learning and teaching through e-Naz and other online platforms you have used before at Africa Nazarene University”. The development of this instrument was inseparably tied to the survey to ensure accurate triangulation of data.
Three focus groups were also used to help generate responses in relation to students’ experience on the use of technology for learning and teaching. Twelve students participated in three focus groups. The three focus groups were conducted with a mixture of students of different demographic characteristics such as age, department of study, school, gender, possession of computers among others. The interviews lasted from one and a half to two hours. When the researcher conducted these focus groups in ANU, she was under the impression that the younger students that she would be talking to would find technology issues easier than those who were older in age and therefore more comfortable with the discussion. Although they were comfortable and contributed during the discussion, the mature students seemed more focused and serious, possibly with the hope that the challenges they raised could be handled for effective online learning.
They were also asked to explain how distance students were using technology, the extent to which they were using technology for learning and teaching, the students’ attitudes and perceptions in using technology for learning, and factors influencing the implementation of technology to support learning and teaching. Discussion followed.
Data was collected from 12 respondents through Focus Group Discussions from three focus groups (three groups with four students each – two males and two females in each group).Twelve students participated in three focus groups. Each group consisted of a mixture of students from the two schools (Business and Law) and four faculties (Computer Science, Religion, Education and Environment) sampled for the study. These respondents were selected using stratified and purposive strategy. At Africa Nazarene there are 12 Academic departments and so each of the 12 respondents represented each academic department. Out of the 12 respondents 6 were male and 6 were female. Out of the twelve respondents three groups were constituted as follows: –
Group one was made up of, –Respondents 1, 2, 3 and 34). Group two was made up of – Respondents 5, 6, 7 and 8). Group three was made up of G- Respondents 9, 10, 11 and 12. All students were studying at African Nazarene University’s Institute for Open and Distance Learning at the time of data collection. Focus groups took place in a face-to-face session in a class. Chairs were arranged in a circular position in order to eliminate any feeling of authority or superiority. Research assistants collected data and they were trained to ensure that they understood what the study was really about and what each of the questions meant. The research assistants were picked from Africa Nazarene University who could be reached easily and had worked as researchers in other similar assignments before. The researcher worked with the assistants in the distribution of the consent forms amongst the respondents and students were requested to read and sign it as it outlined the goal of the research and showed the voluntary nature of their participation in this study. Students were also assured that the discussion was confidential and they needed not to worry that it could reach the administration and cause them any harm. It was explained that the presence of the facilitator was just to listen and record. It was stressed that the presence of the Facilitator was also to enable the respondents to ask any questions that they may have and to offer clarification for any concern that the respondents may have.
Focus group members were selected and put in groups of four where the research assistant used the focus group discussion guide to lead the discussion.
Immediately after that, one student with a concern said, “but assuming I have a point to raise or contribute which has the exact names of those who were involved in my development of negative attitude towards online and distance and I mention the name of let me say one of my lecturers, as an administrator wouldn’t you use it to castigate the lecturer?” The student was assured that for the sake of avoiding such circumstances, they all needed to refer to the Lecturers as Mr. X, Ms. Y or Mrs. Z instead because pseudo names are safer.
All questions that the entire discussion was based on were read to the students. This is because it was good for them to know the questions on which our discussion would be based in advance of the discussion. The students were assured that they did not need to remember the questions as the same questions would be asked one at a time and the discussion would move on to the next question only after the group had exhaustively discussed the previous question. Emphasis was put on the fact that the question that was to be keenly dealt with was “How Africa Nazarene students’ attitudes and perceptions have influenced their usage of eLearning technological tools available in Africa Nazarene University (ANU)”.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION.
1.2 CONTEXT OF THE STUDY.
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.5 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES.
1.6 THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS
1.7 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.8 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE DISSERTATION
CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 CONTEXTUALISING DISTANCE LEARNING
2.3 DISTANCE LEARNING IN KENYA
2.4 USES OF TECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
2.5 USES OF TECHNOLOGY IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
2.6 STUDIES OF ADOPTION OF TECHNOLOGY
2.7 KNOWLEDGE GAPS
CHAPTER THREE THEORIES AND MODELS
3.2 ADOPTIONS OF INNOVATION MODEL
3.3 INNOVATION DIFFUSION THEORY.
3.4 THEORY OF REASONED ACTION
3.5 THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOUR.
3.6 DECOMPOSED THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOUR (DTBP)
3.7 TASK-TECHNOLOGY FIT THEORY (TTF)
3.8 HUMAN-TASK-TECHNOLOGY INTERACTIONS AND PERFORMANCE MODEL
3.9 TECHNOLOGY ACCEPTANCE MODEL
3.10 ENHANCED TECHNOLOGY ACCEPTANCE MODEL (TAM 2)
3.11 AUGMENTED TAM OR COMBINED TAM AND TPB (C-TAMTPB).
3.12 UNIFIED THEORY OF ACCEPTANCE AND USE OF TECHNOLOGY
3.13 THE THEORY OF TRANSACTIONAL DISTANCE
3.14 SUMMARIZED COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE MODELS
3.15 LIMITATIONS OF PREVIOUS THEORIES AND RESEARCH FINDINGS.
3.16 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER FOUR QUALITATIVE STUDY – DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
4.2 FOCUS GROUPS
4.4 DATA ANALYSIS
CHAPTER FIVE QUANTITATIVE STUDY
5.2 Quantitative Study
5.3 DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT.
5.4 VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY IN QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH
5.5 DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURE
5.6 DATA ANALYSIS
5.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER SIX.DISCUSSION OF QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE FINDINGS
6.2 DISCUSSION OF QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS
6.3 DISCUSSION OF QUALITATIVE FINDINGS
6.4 THEMES GENERATED FROM THE FINDINGS
6.5 PROPOSED SIMPLIFIED MODEL FOR TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING IN AFRICA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY
6.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER SEVEN CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
7.2 KEY FINDINGS FROM THE STUDY
7.4 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY.
7.5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
THE ADOPTION OF TECHNOLOGY TO SUPPORT TEACHING AND LEARNING IN A DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMME AT AFRICA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY