Thursday, January 29, 2009

Two documents for critiquing Research

I came across these two PDFs on the "Lancashire Care Library & Information Service" blog re: critiquing research.

I thought they might be useful.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Proposed Assignment Due Dates

Feb 10th -> Assignment 1.5 Quantitative analysis
Feb 24th -> Assignment 1.4 (First Draught)

Monday, January 26, 2009

My "proposal" for a study (GPowell)

Here is my attempt at writing an outline for my proposal. Feedback welcome!

Click here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What article do we have to read for this week

Hi everyone,
I was just wondering what article we had to read for this week's readings? I know that we have to read the chapter in the text, but she also told us to read someone's article. I think it was Al's and I read Al's but I am still unsure who's we were suppose to read. Does anyone know which one or who's we had to read?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do we have to read Al's article for this week's readings?

Do we have to read Al's article for this week? I just wanted to double check. Thank you

Monday, January 19, 2009

1.3: Determinants of success for online communities: An empirical study.

Lin, H., & Lee, G. (2006). Determinants of success for online communities: An empirical study. Behaviour & Information Technology, 25(6), 479-488. doi:10.1080/01449290500330422

Survey based design (N=165, within group), using a six-factor structural equation based on the updated DeLone and McLean information systems success model.


There has been little empirical research on the factors that make online communities a success. What research has been done is based on models that have not been thoroughly validated.

This study aims to add weight to the validity of the DeLone and McLean information systems success model while at the same time seeking to clarify the factors that make online communities a success.

What are the relationships between the various factors (system quality, information quality, service quality, user satisfaction, behavioral intention / engagement, and member loyalty) that constitute an online community?
Do these factors fit the model proposed by DeLone and McLean?

Hypothesis (if stated)
Not stated, but the model itself hypothesizes that there are relationships between these factors and that they are reliable determinants of the success of an online community.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Virtual learning environments: Enhancing the learning experience for students with disabilities "

Assignment 1.3
(Gordon Powell)

Study Title:
"Virtual learning environments: Enhancing the learning experience for
students with disabilities "

Author/Date: Catherine Gerrard (2007)

Research Design:
This study is essentially a case study, based on interviews with a focus group of students with disabilities.

Type of Research: Qualitative

Some of the features of typical “face-to-face” teaching environments do not meet the needs of some students living with a disability.

This study’s purpose is to investigate the impact of virtual learning environments (specifically, “Blackboard”, the environment being used by the University of Paisley, Scotland), on the learning experience of a specific group of students, with the goal of identifying “good e-learning practice to enhance the quality of the learning experience for students with disabilities”.

The study looked at three areas of possible benefits or enhancements:
a) pedagogical, b) practical and c) strategic.

  • A) Pedagogical: Does the use of a VLE enhance the quality of the students’ face-to-face learning experiences?
  • B) Practical: Does uniformity and simplicity of presentation in the VLE context provide ease of navigation and access for students with disabilities?
  • C) Strategic: How important is the concept of an “extended community” for these students? (i.e. one that would provide “recreational, academic and pastoral services and groups” in one central interface or umbrella?)

When the university adopted the use of Blackboard in 2002, there was an assumption that this VLE would address many of the issues students with disabilities were having as they accessed the curriculum. This study proceeds from the point of view that the VLE will be a benefit to these students and therefore all students with disabilities.

Gerrard, C. (2007). Virtual learning environments: Enhancing the learning experience for students with disabilities.
Campus-Wide Information Systems, 24(3), 199-206.

Effects of increasing the rate of speech presentation upon comprehension

Study: (Carver, 1973)

Descriptors: speech presentation rate, comprehension, auditory thresholds, listening comprehension, speech perception, speech rate

Research Design
This study is quantitative and seeks to measure outcomes of an Experimental Research Design.

Research Problem
A review of earlier research (Campbell & Fiske, 1959; Foulke & Sticht, 1969) suggests a maximum speech comprehension so that comprehension rapidly attenuates at speed above 275 words per minute. However, the employed methodology suggests a confounding of the research results with the method used for measurement. Thus, before building on this research and developing a theory, reworking earlier research results (by way of another methodology) are required.

Research Purpose
The purpose of this article is to reinterpret earlier studies and extend knowledge on how rates of speech affect comprehension. Moreover, this study seeks the verification of a threshold for comprehension and information storage.

“Whether or not there is a threshold for comprehension or information storage [concerning the rate of speech delivery].” (P.119) Also, does reanalyzing the data (from previous studies) support a unified understanding (and theory) of thresholds for speech comprehension.

Non-directional Alternative Hypotheses
A reinterpretation of data (reanalyze) might show different results by reworking variables using the following structure:
Independent variable: Speech “rate” dimension (“units divided by time”) redefined as duration (“time divided by units [of understood words]”).
Dependant variable: Comprehension (using a better dependant variable)
Participants: 54 subjects
Key indicator: the word “reanalyze”, but the direction of change (positive or negative rates) is not specified.

Results of the study:
“…[I]f there is a threshold, it seems to have a range among individuals.” (P. 124)


Campbell, D. T., & Fiske, D. W. (1959). Convergent and discriminant validation by the multitrait-multimethod matrix. Psychological Bulletin, 56(2), 81-105. doi:10.1037/h0046016

Carver, R. P. (1973). Effects of increasing the rate of speech presentation upon comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 65(1), 118-126. doi:10.1037/h0034783

Foulke, E., & Sticht, T. G. (1969). Review of research on the intelligibility and comprehension of accelerated speech. Psychological Bulletin, 72(1), 50-62. doi:10.1037/h0027575

Friday, January 16, 2009

Using technology in the mathematics classroom

The title of the article : Beliefs about Using Technology in the Mathematics Classroom: Interviews with Pre-service Elementary Teachers.


Study Author (date): Cheng-Yao Lin (2007)

Research Design: Action research design

Research Approaches: Qualitative (more) and quantitative research

Problem: “Technology is essential in teaching and learning mathematics. However, many pre-service and in-service teachers are unfamiliar with the type of technology available to teachers. Many teachers lack the knowledge of how to properly incorporate technology” (p. 1).

Purpose: To design workshops with the primary purpose of instilling teachers’ confidence and improve their competency as well as fostering more positive attitudes toward using computers and Internet resources in the mathematics classroom. “To examine whether these workshops achieved their aim and how” (p 2).

1. “do pre-service teachers perceive the importance of technology in enhancing mathematics learning and supporting effective mathematics teaching?
2. how do pre-service teachers feel about using computer or Internet resources in teaching mathematics?
3. do pre-service teachers increase confidence and lessen anxiety toward using computers or Internet resources in teaching math attending we-based workshops on mathematics education?” (p. 2)

Hypotheses (if stated): -

Learning Online vs Live

Study: Learning About Screening Using an Online or Live Lecture
doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2002.10731.x.

Authors/Date: Spickard, Alrajeh, Cordray, Gigante (2002)

Type of research: Quantitative & Qualitative (I've assumed Qualitative from the description that says "they provided narrative comments about their experience with the live lecture and the online lecture").

Research Design: Mixed Methods

Problem: As part of their education, medical students are required to complete outpatient clerkships in an ambulatory setting. These facilities may be located a considerable distance from the campus where required lectures are given.

Purpose: To determine whether an online lecture would be as efficient and effective as a live lecture on screening, for medical students participating in outpatient clerkships

Questions: Is it feasible to deliver a medical course online so that students at distant ambulatory sites can attend? Will there be any gains in the efficiency of delivering the course online?

Hypothesis: As stated by the authors, "medical students could expend less time but demonstrate equal satisfaction and knowedge in participating in an online versus a traditional classroom lecture on screening."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

EDI link

Here is the link to UBC's Early Child Development (EDI) project

Assignment 1.3 preview: "Improving learning performance in laboratory instruction by means of SMS messaging"

Authors/Date: Martinez-Torres, M.R., Toral, S.L., Barrero, F., and Gallardo, S. (2007)

Research Design: Action Research (Practical)

Type of Research: Quantitative and Qualitative

Problem: Does a technologically improved laboratory instruction method have a notable influence on the students’ learning performance?

Purpose: To investigate the factors that lead to an increase in learning performance using the bidirectional short message service (SMS) interaction.

Questions: Does SMS lead to an improvement in learning performance? How can the results for interactivity be demonstrated through the three learning theories (behaviorist, cognitivisit, and constructivist)?

Hypothesis: Increased interactivity opportunities for students will lead to a positive attitude being reflected towards the laboratory learning experience. This positive learning attitude will encourage students to be successful in their laboratory performance.

ESL Students' CMC Practices: Context Configuration

Author: Dong-Shin Shin

Year: 2006

Data Design: Qualitative

Research Design: Ethnographic

Problem: Previous studies show that the occurrence of social interactions in language learning needs to be understood in relation not only to immediate situational contexts, but also to the broad cultural andsocial contexts shaping immediate situations. The conceptual complexity of context in language and literacy education can be captured by a definition that considers context as a relationship between a focal event and the field of action within which that event is embedded.As such, the conceptual complexity of context has been concerned with micro and macro dimensions of context since the beginning of CMC use in languagelearning and teaching practices.

Purpose: The paper explores how context is configured in ESL students’ language learning practices through computer-mediated communication (CMC). Specifically, It centers on how a group of ESL students jointly constructed the context of their CMC activities through interactional patterns and norms, and how configured affordances within the CMC environment mediated their learning experiences.

1. What kinds of interactional patterns are a group of ESL students jointly constructing?
2.What kinds of interactional norms are the ESL students establishing within computer-mediated social interactions?
3. How do the ESL students utilize CMC activities for their linguistic, social, and academic goal

Quick analysis of "Does the discussion help? The impact of a ..."

"Does the discussion help? The impact of a formally
assessed online discussion on final student results"

Authors: Stuart Palmer, Dale Holt and Sharyn Bray

Design: Longitudinal

Type of Research: Quantitative/Qualitative hybrid

Problem: Does participation in formally assessed online discussions enhance student learning?

Purpose; To “explore the forms of student engagement with online discussion, the impact of participation on the students’ final unit result, whether passive participation/lurking had any benefit, and whether any impact/benefit was separable from the students’ prior general academic performance in their studies.”

Does the use of discussion boards improve student performance?
Does passive reading of such posts improve results?
What are the “salient factors in online interaction that might enhance learning”? Does it make a difference if the interaction is optional or mandated?

Hypotheses: Students need to perceive the benefits of participating in the system as outweighing the cost of effort. There may be benefits in using the system despite motivating factors if this is the case.
Collaborative group work and individual development of metacognition in the early years. Research in Science Education

Author/Date - Larkin (2006)

Research Design - Longitudinal (1 academic year)

Data Design - Qualitative

Problem - Lack of understanding regarding the person, task, and strategy variables of Flavell's (1979) model of cognitive monitoring in the interactions between members of a collaborative work group that support an individual's development of metacognition.

Purpose - To explore the interactions between members of a collaborative work group and chart the progress of 2 members in terms of their individual metacognitive development.

Question - How do the interactions between members of a collaborative work group impact an individual’s development of metacognition?

Hypothesis - No hypothesis

A "learning revolution"? investigating pedagogic practice around interactive whiteboards in British primary classrooms.

Authors: Gillen, J., Staarman, J. K., Littleton, K., Mercer, N., & Twiner, A.


Research Design: Narrative

Type of Research: Qualitative

Problem: Strong claims have been made for the vale of Interactive Whiteboards (IWB) by both manufacturers and policy makers, however little research on how, if at all, they influence the established pedagogic practices, communicative processes, and educational goals

Purpose: The purpose of the article is to investigate how IWBs actually function as communicative and pedagogic tools in classroom interactions, how they are used by teachers to pursue their education goals and how they are used to build shared frames of reference and ‘common knowledge between teachers and pupils.

1. Ways in which the IWB functions as a communicative and pedagogic tool in the teacher–pupil interactions of the classroom.
2. Ways in which well-documented features of normal classroom interaction appear to be altered by the use of the IWB.
3. Ways in which the use of the IWB appear to encourage or discourage the active participation of children in the process of teaching-and-learning (or in any way to offer them new opportunities for participation).

4. The distinctive ways in which the IWB is used either to build a shared frame of reference between teacher and children or to build common knowledge amongst members of the class.

5. The extent to which potentially valuable affordances of the IWB are, or are not, used by teachers to pursue their pedagogic goals.

Hypotheses: No Hypotheses due to the fact that it is a qualitative paper.

Article Link

Adding APA References in Word 2007

As promised, here are instructions for adding APA format references in Word 2007.

To add a new citation to your document:
  1. Click the position in your document where you want the reference to occur.
  2. Click the References tab.
  3. In the Citations & Bibliography section, select APA from the Style drop-down menu.
  4. Click Insert Citation.
  5. Click Add New Source.
  6. Select the Type of Source from the drop-down list.
  7. Select the Show All Bibliography Fields box (bottom left-side corner of the window).
  8. Fill in the fields. Note to Windows users: You can copy from a web page by selecting the text and clicking Ctrl C keys to copy and Ctrl V keys to paste.

To add an existing citation to your document:

  1. Click the position in your document where you want the reference to occur.
  2. Click the References tab.
  3. Click Insert Citation
  4. Click the Citation from the list.

To automatically generate a list of references:

  1. Click the position in your document where you want to place the list.
  2. Click the References tab.
  3. In the Citations & Bibliography section, click Bibliography.
  4. Select one of the examples and your list will be automatically generated in that format, or click Insert Bibliography to generate the list without a title.

Hope this makes sense.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Assignment 1.3: "An Investigation of Communicative Competence of ESL Students Using Electronic Discussion Boards"

Authors/Date: Shenghua Zha, Paul Kelly, MeeAeng Ko Park, and Gail Fitzgerald (2006)

Descriptors: ESL learning, electronic discussion boards, communicative competence, peer interaction

Research Design: This is an expanded case study (qualitative), with experimental research design (quantitative). The intervention included a one-week training period, followed by three communication and writing activities in an electronic discussion board. Each activity lasted two weeks consecutively. The three activities, whose guideline for design is: 1) language learning occurs through meaningful social and cultural interactions; and 2) ESL instruction should provide students with authentic tasks and audience to interact socially and negotiate meanings, are listed as follows:

1. Activity 1— Creating Clubs

2. Activity 2— Recommending a Holiday Menu

3. Activity 3— Planning a Party

Type of Research:
Qualitative and Quantitative

According the authors, abundant studies have been conducted to investigate advantages of language learning using peer social interactions in CMC. Students in those studies are involved in either collaborative learning tasks (Belz & Kinginger, 2002; Chun, 1994; Lam, 2000; Singhal, 1998; Warschauer, 1996) or class/group discussions with individual assignments (Beauvois, 1992; Beauvois, 1994; Kern, 1995). However, none of these findings compared the effect of collaborative versus individual CMC learning tasks on students’ communicative competence. Thus, the problem of the research is that what the effect of collaborative versus individual CMC learning tasks on ESL students’ communicative competence is.


1. To examine the patterns of K–12 ESL students’ communicative competence through peer interaction in collaborative versus individual learning tasks in CMC, with particular attention to appropriate use of language for social purposes.

2. To investigate improvements in communicative competence within CMC environments.


1. What is these ESL students’ qualitative improvement in their use of English through the three consecutive activities?

2. What are the changes of children’s communicative competence measured by the ESL Standards in the three CMC activities?

Participants: 28 elementary-aged (grade 2-5) ESL students (956 messages)

Research Site: In seven ESL classrooms in six primary schools in a suburban area in a mid-western metropolitan U.S. city

No obvious hypotheses due to the fact that it is a case study. However, with reading through this research, I kind of perceive that the author implicitly had the hypothesis that “meaning was more important than the structure of language and that the primary goal of language learning should be the development of communicative skills (Krashen & Terrell, 1983)” (P.1)

Coding nodes (in qualitative analysis): With the national ESL standards for PreK-12 students, nineteen competence indicators from four areas were used. The four areas are: (P.5-7)

1. use of English to participate in social interaction

2. use of written English for personal expression and enjoyment

3. use of learning strategies to extend communicative competence

4. use of appropriate English variety, register, and genre according to audience, purpose, and settings

Variables (in quantitative analysis): frequencies of children’s use of language coded under specific indicators in the ESL Standards

Result: Changes were found in children’s use of language for social purposes and appropriate use of language in different social and cultural settings


1. design of online discussion activities

2. peer assistance in language learning

Download the Article

McCreary in the news

In light of our discussions Tuesday evening, I was interested to hear a news item on the Wednesday edition CBC morning show "The Early Edition" about an analysis of a 2006 study on aboriginal youth. What caught my ear was a mention of the McCreary Society. (The story mentioned that the original study was not solely about aboriginal youth.) I wondered about the active consent of the participants of the original study. This is a real life example of a secondary study based on what might be data from a "tainted" source. The podcast of today's show should be available shortly from the CBC site.

An interesting detail about the original survey:
Youth between the ages of 12 and 18 completed the survey. The average age was 16 years old. 48 per cent were male, 51 per cent were female, and one per cent were transgender or did not provide this information.
How was consent obtained? As I read the quick overview of the survey, I wondered how easy it would be to track down the participants and discover their identity if I really wanted to.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hello Everyone!
Welcome to the 864 blog...I hope that you will use this space to make comments about the Tri-Council Policy. Let's see how it works! Maureen