Blogs in Language Learning Analysis Essay Example
The present study focuses on the innovative technique of efficient and constructive language learning, namely, the use of blogs with the purpose of enhancing qualitative writing skills. The issue of concern requires not only an in-depth insight into the available secondary data and its consistent analysis, but also a fundamental, diligent and perspective primary research. The given chapter discusses the major aspects, directions and tasks of the methodology of investigation.
Enhancing Students’ Writing through Blogs
The focus of the study should be actualized by the means of proper and relevant choice of the research paradigm. This choice should be justified, since otherwise, the outcomes of the investigation will be unreliable and will lack credibility. The concept of the research paradigm is defined by Taylor, Kermode and Roberts (2007) as “a broad view or perspective of something” (p. 5). Moreover, Weaver and Olson (2006) define that “paradigms are patterns of beliefs and practices that regulate inquiry within a discipline by providing lenses, frames and processes through which investigation is accomplished” (p. 460). Hence, the paradigms align both conceptual frameworks and practical guidelines which tend to direct the course of research properly and purposefully. Actually, research paradigms predetermine how the researcher envisions the world in general and the issue in question in particular (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). Therefore, the research process, its direction and stages are predetermined by the chosen research paradigm (Guba & Lincoln, 2000). Patton (1990) highlights that paradigms help to break down the multidimensional structure of the world in order to comprehend it better.
Denzin and Lincoln (2005) classify the main categories of the beliefs which are considered to be the core elements of the research paradigms. There are ontological, methodological and epistemological categories. The notion of ontology is aligned with the issue of reality and the comprehension of what is real and what kind of reality it is. Epistemological approach is explicated as a branch of philosophy that focuses on the essence of the acquired knowledge and aims to identify the connection between the researcher and the known data. This approach relies on the acquisition and validation of the data. Finally, the scope of methodology deals with the process of “learning”, or acquiring new knowledge. Actually, the given classification was broadened by Lincoln and Guba (2000). The scholars introduced and discussed two other categories – causality and oxiology (Lincoln & Guba, 2000). The field of causality is connected with the state of the nature, whereas beliefs in oxiology refer to the scope of value. The major functions of the research paradigms in terms of investigation include the following, according to Dills and Romiszowski (1997): a) to identify of the rules and laws according to which the world is constructed; b) to learn the ways to acquire, comprehend and validate the knowledge; c) to select and justify the approaches and methods targeted to acquire the intended data; d) to construct or restructure relevant academic space for the researcher; e) to provide relevance and significance of the acquired knowledge.
The research paradigm that has been selected as the most appropriate and potentially efficient one in terms of the given research is pragmatism. The pragmatic approach corresponds to my beliefs and my set of ideas about the world, knowledge and ways of acquiring it. Therefore, it has been chosen for the given study.
Goldkuhl (2012) defines the concept of pragmatism in the course of the qualitative research as a phenomenon that is focused primarily on “action and change and the interplay between knowledge and action” (p. 2). Hence, it is a multidimensional and complicated approach to the constructive qualitative research. It is essential to realize that pragmatics deals with a particular activity, and not just an observation or analysis of the monitored aspects. It is important for this study, as far as it provides the investigation with credible factual data and consequent reliable outcomes. Moreover, it is crucial to align the knowledge basis with the actions and experiments in order to receive objective results, which may be, consequently, implemented in practice. Pragmatism has been chosen, the outcomes which are supported by the empirical course are to be acquired. It means that the basic drawbacks and potential perspectives of the currently studied approach will be revealed in the course of investigation, which will give basic direction and construct the scheme of the practical implementation for the given intervention.
The emergence and the initial discussion of the pragmatics as a research paradigm is connected with the names of such scholars as Peirce, James and Dewey (Goldkuhl, 2012). To be more precise, the phenomenon is referred to as the American pragmatism (Goldkuhl, 2012). Nonetheless, the overall conception of the subject of the current discussion should not be restricted to the notion of American pragmatism, but regarded as a vivid embodiment of its particularly essential notions. Therefore, the further course of pragmatic framework development involves the European and East-Asian modes of pragmatic thinking. Goldkuhl (2012) underlines the core essence of the phenomenon of society which relies on action and motion. The same approach may be applied to its structure and interrelation between its constructive elements. Hence, the actions and alterations are considered to form the basis of pragmatism. Actually, the role of the actions in terms of the currently discussed research paradigm is intermediary. As Goldkuhl (2012) explicates, the actions are driving forces in terms of alterations in human existence. Furthermore, the scholar emphasizes that “To perform changes in desired ways, action must be guided by purpose and knowledge. The world is thus changed through reason and action and there is an inseparable link between human knowing and human action” (Goldkuhl, 2012, p. 7). Such approach reveals the unconditional connection between the theoretical and empirical dimensions of research. More precisely, the ultimate meaning of any ides should be analyzes through the prism of practical consequences and outcomes of the given conceptual entity. The differences in theory rely on the discrepancies in terms of practice.
One of the central concepts of the pragmatic research paradigm is inquiry. This notion should be regarded as the controlled experiment within which new knowledge concerning the altered conditions and terms of a particular pattern of reality is created. Cronen (2001) defines this concept as “a natural part of life aimed at improving our condition by adaptation accommodations in the world” (p. 20). Thus, the major target of inquiry is to create new knowledge “in the interest of change and improvement” (Goldkuhl, 2012, p. 8). This constructive knowledge differentiates practical interventions from simple observation. It should be appreciated that pragmatism in general and inquiry in particular provide vast space and unlimited opportunities for the construction of a set of conditions for the experimental activity. Moreover, the selected approach gives the researcher a possibility to control and augment the conditions, if necessary. It is important as far as the activity may result in unexpected ramifications, and, therefore, the whole study setting should be adjusted.
Since the scope of pragmatics is broad, there are three main kinds of the chosen research paradigm, namely, functional, referential, and methodological approaches. Functional pragmatics centers on the constructive data, which is acquired through the course of investigation. Moreover, this approach regards knowledge as the basis of actions. Referential type of the pragmatic research positions the notion of knowledge above the significant stance of the actions, whereas methodological kind of pragmatism refers to the processes and peculiarities of knowledge acquiring. The active role of the investigator is highlighted. Such classification of the kinds of pragmatics confirms the pluralistic attitude to the research demonstrated by the adherents to the given paradigm. Hence, the given discussion supports the choice of the research paradigm, as it provides proper conditions that set a constructive experimental scenario, which is expected to result in new knowledge, both theoretical and empirical, concerning the actual role and efficiency of blogs and language learning.
Design-based research. The next stage in the methodology discussion is the identification of the research design. The notion of research design denotes the way the investigation will be conducted (Harwell, 2011). More specifically, it includes such dimensions as the way the data is collected, the choice of proper instrumental methods and techniques for this purpose, and the tools that are to be incorporated for the subsequent analysis (Harwell, 2011).
The contemporary approaches to educational research reveal serious inconsistency and controversy in terms of the alignment of theory and practice (Alghamdi & Li, 2013). Neuman (2007) positions the concept of theory as “a system of interconnected abstractions or ideas that condenses and organizes knowledge about the social world” (p. 24). The scholars Alghamdi and Li (2013) state that it is constructive to start a study with the theory and its profound and insightful investigation and continue the course with the implementation of the acquired outcomes. This practical activity may be either a preliminary test or an actual performance in terms of the educational process. Furthermore, one of the recent problematic issues within the educational research has been particular alienation of the focus of the study from the routine aspects of the daily teaching practice (Sari & Lim, 2012). Basically, the roots of the given problem are based on the tendencies of the last decade during which the investigation course is conducted “about education”, i.e., about generalized issues, challenges and drawbacks, but not “for education”, i.e., for the actual development of new theories, interventions and innovative educational tools (Juuti & Lavonen, 2006, p. 54). Therefore, more practically relevant and in-depth insights, interventions and solutions are needed at the current stage of development of the educational research. As a direct consequence of such problems the educational scope of activity faces in the recent course of time, the alternative approach is necessary. The given study incorporates design-based research, since it closely relates to the pragmatism paradigm and properly aligns practical scale with theory.
The design-based approach should be comprehended as a reaction and alternative solution in terms of prevailing tendency to use inefficient traditional methods (Alghamdi & Li, 2013). As a result, such research methodologies have failed to align theory with practice so that the outcomes of the studies can serve as the guidance for qualitative adjustment and improvement of the routine practices of language learning. The appropriateness and efficiency of the currently discussed research methodology is achieved due to the fact that it “combines research, design, and practice into one process, resulting in usable products that are supported by a theoretical framework” (Bowler & Large, 2008, p. 39). It is crucial to highlight that the given methodology is not new, as the actual and frequent use of design-based research has started recently, namely, in 1992. Two scholars, Collins and Brown, introduced and discussed this approach in 1992 (Alghamdi & Li, 2013).
The key constructive elements of this methodological approach include:
- the investigation of complicated and miscellaneous problematic issues by positioning them in the real contexts and under typical conditions;
- the known is aligned with the hypothetical and united with technological peculiarities in order to construct a credible and effective solution to the identified problems;
- consistent and grounded reflective inquiry is expected to provide new knowledge and practical guidance in terms of the issue in concern (Alghamdi & Li, 2013).
Actually, the design-based methodology relies on the prior knowledge and focuses on the conception and proper comprehension of the whole situation in the context of its complexity, real learning conditions and potential circumstantial drawbacks or challenges (Barab & Squire, 2004). The overall purpose of the design-based research is considered to be to “address complex problems in educational settings” (Sari & Lim, 2012, p. 2). Specifically, the given methodology aims to connect the conduct of proactive educational research with the development of new paradigms and approaches for the solution to the topical and controversial educational problems (Alghamdi & Li, 2013). The paradigms and theories which are expected to be the ramifications of design-based research are domain theories, design frameworks and design methodologies (Alghamdi & Li, 2013).
The peculiar aspect of the given approach to the educational research is its combination of some traditional, basic aspects of research with innovative and authentic methodologies. The common characteristic features between this approach and others includes the research based on the participatory actions, ethnography, and experimental activity based on the positivist philosophy (Hoadley, 2011). Nonetheless, the authentic characteristic features are more numerous and influential. Alghamdi and Li (2013) identify such fundamental aspects of the design-based research methodology as “pragmatic, grounded, contextual, interactive, integrative, and flexible” (p. 5). Due to such features, the currently discussed research approach provides constructive refinement of the data, both theoretical and empirical. Thus, the outcomes of the study are grounded and theory-driven and there is vast space for contextual alterations of the terms of experiment, while it is processing, which allows to provide plausible and objective results (Wang & Hannafin, 2005; Alghamdi & Li, 2013). Moreover, the researchers are actively involved in the course of investigation and the experiment is positioned in the real-world setting (Wang & Hannafin, 2005; Alghamdi & Li, 2013).
The design-based research is to be conducted rigorously and in strict accordance to the instructions. Every phase should be documented properly. One of the most vivid examples of how the design-based research should be conducted is enclosed in the Reeves model (2013).
This model identifies four phases:
- the course of analysis targeted to investigate major practical problems;
- relevant and constructive theoretical framework is involved in order to generate a proper solution to the detected problems;
- the solutions are evaluated and tested in the correspondent contextual setting;
- “documentation and reflection to produce “design principles” is employed (Cotton, Lockyer & Brickell, 2009, p. 3).
The stages presented above will be considered as a background for the present study. They refer to the main steps which are needed to acquire objective and credible results.
Design-based research and EFL (English as a foreign language). There are diverse constructive methodologies on the current stage of the research tools’ development, but it has been decided to incorporate the design-based approach since it has the potential to discover the most relevant, perspective and potentially efficient guidelines for the improvement of conditions of learning English as a foreign language among Omani students.
Reeves and McKenney (2013) state that design-based research is appropriate for the enhancement of language learning. Moreover, it is especially preferable for computer-assisted language learning (CALL) (Reeves & McKenney, 2013). Nevertheless, the scholars also highlight that aligning design-based research targets with the issues of CALL is a complicated and challenging practice. The researcher is recommended to conduct an in-depth insight into the prior knowledge and previously performed experiments as well as to construct the whole setting and research program thoroughly. Abdallah (2011) supports the stance that modern technological progress has led to the ultimate necessity to re-conceptualize and introduce innovation to the basic notions of literacy. It is especially topical in the scope of language learning. The scholar discusses “a new generation of the Web that has been enabling new functions and possibilities for learning such as social networking, easy publishing online, and collaborative construction of knowledge” (Abdallah, 2011, p. 20). As a result, blogging has become one of the most popular networking activities. Moreover, many students contribute to the blogs. Hence, this activity will not be alien or unusual for the participants. It means the course of language learning will be located in the comfortable and constructive setting.
The design-based methodology is expected to improve the efficiency of the intervention due to its proactive potential that provides such excellent opportunities as:
- Design-based research is considered to be perfect for the “development of robust effective interventions” (Reeves & McKenney, 2013, p. 4). These interventions are tested during the design-based research according to such conditions as time, specific approach, balance between theory and practice, peculiarities of presentation and tactics, etc. These aspects are crucial for the EFL learning course.
- The currently discussed research presents an opportunity to give an answer not only to the question “Does it work” or “Is it efficient?”, but to respond thoroughly, fundamentally and extensively to the question “How can we make this or that approach work?”. Hence, the design-based research may even result in several positive solutions for the outlined issues. EFL needs alternatives in terms of practical language learning, since different students perceive and master foreign languages in their own ways. Therefore, the teacher is expected to construct multidimensional lessons with diverse interactive activities and possibilities for every student to comprehend the learning material, acquire new knowledge and skills according to the curriculum, and become capable to incorporate them into practice.
- The potential of design-based methodology is also expected to result in professional growth and qualitative enhancement of competencies. Moreover, Reeves and McKenney (2013) underline that design-based research “(DBR) has the potential to provide powerful insights for educational researchers, practitioners, and all others involved in a given initiative, driven by the data that flows from the various iterative cycles of testing and modifying the intervention” (pp. 5-6). Such active and aspiring role of the researcher provides not only plausible, objective and potentially efficient outcomes, but also significant perspectives for further improvement of the EFL learning.
The grounded and motivated choice of participants guarantees proper and efficient outcomes of the study. It is important to outline the age, competence level and location of the participants of investigation and ensure that the necessary quantity of the students participates. In order to eliminate any potential alterations, it is recommended to form a group of 12 students who will be contacted in case current participants refuse due to the unexpected reason.
The selection process will be conducted in two phases:
The participants of the study consists of four classes of the 11th grade.
Every class will be approached as a separate case study that will be investigated under the similar circumstances and identical targets. To be more precise, the location of investigation will be the Omani basic education schools. The four classes will belong to the 11th grade and will be chosen out of 20 schools. The participants are planned to be chosen on the random basis. Two schools of the aforementioned location will be selected randomly, and then the focus of the study will be narrowed to four classes.
In the case of lack of participants for the provision of grounded and credible study, it is necessary to apply for a special permission to invite more students. Firstly, it is obligatory to apply to the Ministry of Education in Oman to receive the permission to conduct the project with such purpose, scope and scale. Secondly, it is necessary to receive a personal permission of the parents of every student. The invitations will be sent via emails and thus the list of participants will be completed.
Such random selection process is relevant in the context of the investigation as far as it will contribute to the objectivity of the final outcomes. Apparently, the participants will belong to different competence levels in EFL as well as to diverse social, racial, sexual and political strata. Since the research is not narrowed to any of the aforementioned criteria, it should be objective. The 11th grade is appropriate for the given research, as it corresponds to the age group of the students who use blogs actively, have decent experience in this activity, and experience diverse thematic criteria.
The above-presented research is initial and generalized.
It is planned to support the final evidential data with more specific and detailed inspections. Thus, four students out of four selected classes will be chosen for the further in-depth study. Such an approach will not only provide a more thorough investigation setting, but will also will permit to align the general ramifications of the initial study of four classes with the results of profound and targeted research. The students will be required to provide a relevant study with constructive details, which is impossible when there are 60 participants. Therefore, the most significant representatives of the constituting groups will be investigated based on their capacity and overall potential.
These students will be selected on the basis of representative sampling. The criterion for the representation is a particular class among four groups that the participants belong to. It means that every student will represent a separate class from the Omani basic education schools. The choice of the representatives will be made relying on two types of evaluation, namely, a questionnaire and a pre-writing test. Every class will complete them, and the results will be assessed in terms of a) written abilities of the students; b) their confidence within the technological scope; c) educational experience and English language proficiency of the participants. The chosen students should demonstrate the most significant results in terms of the aforementioned criteria. These aspects are crucial in terms of EFL learning. Since every class will be selected from a separate school and every representative student chosen for an in-depth study will belong to a particular grade, the given method of selection will be incorporated into the research course in order to ensure a representative demographic sample. As an outcome, the given approach is expected to make the way of identifying EFL in-depth learners in the 4 classes effective.
Data Collection and Procedure
The data collection process will last five months starting from September 2016 until January 2017. The particular classes from the Omani basic education schools will be selected on the random basis from the 11th grade. Afterwards, the conference will be conducted in order to inform the students and the teaching staff about the ultimate purpose, tasks and major expectations of the planned study.
Later, four students from each class will be selected for further insightful in-depth investigation. Every student will be asked for the voluntary agreement to take part in the research which investigates the use of blogs in the enhancement of the writing skills of EFL students. This step should be documented. The consent forms will be distributed to the students and their parents will be asked to complete them.
This research will be collaborative, as the teachers will help the researcher in the process of the actual project. It is a crucial step, since the teachers know their students well. They are aware of the major problems, drawbacks and challenges in terms of EFL learning. These aspects are crucial for the process of research, as the design-based research permits to unite the theoretical basis of the investigators and the contextualized practical observations of the practitioners.
The data will be collected by the means of the mixed method approach. It will involve multiple sources of evidence as well as augment the strength and validity of the whole study. A considerable and versatile amount of data is planned to be used in order to respond to the research questions and fulfill the ultimate purpose of the investigation.
Pre-writing test. The pre-writing test is a generalized test targeted to reveal the general writing proficiency of the participants. This test will consist of 20 questions. Each question will address crucial aspects of writing proficiency correspondent to the 11th grade. The time provided for the pre-writing test should be 45 minutes.
A close-ended questionnaire. The close-ended questionnaire should be offered to every participant of the study. It will be distributed at the beginning of the first week of the writing class. The major target of the given measure is to determine the IT skills of the participants, the actual level of their ability to write on their L2, and the overall educational background. Moreover, it is important to highlight that the data that will be gathered from this initial questionnaire, along with the outcomes of the pre-writing test, will be helpful for the selection of the four representatives of each class for a further in-depth study. It is recommended that the chosen participants contribute different levels of writing skills, technology confidence, overall educational experience, and actual competence of the English language. Such diversity in the selection process will guarantee a multidimensional focus of the study, since the research that will be consequently conducted may afterwards be applied to different categories of students. It is constructive as far as every class has diversity in terms of L2 proficiency, and this discrepancy often causes problems for the teaching staff.
Interviews. The four participants chosen for an in-depth study should be subsequently interviewed. The interviews are planned to be conducted three times in the course of actual research, namely, at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the investigation. The ultimate aim of the first interview is the establishment of the general context of the study. There will be ten guiding questions (Seidman, 1998). The second interview will permit the chosen participants to provide comments, detailed responses, description and reflection upon the whole experience of blogging in the writing class. Finally, the third interview is constructed to unite practice and theory in order to acquire objective outcomes. To be more precise, the participants will be given an opportunity to read texts. The readings will be chosen according to the results of the previous interviews and an approximately accessed level of every participant. Nonetheless, every level will be elaborate according to its potential.
Furthermore, the readings will be followed by the open-ended questions aimed to provide more insight in terms of the overall experience and the meaning of this experience (Seiddman, 1999). The questions will be molded in a semi-structured form. They will include many topics, issues and prompts in order to encourage the interviewees to develop their responses well. Wallace (1998) suggests a constructive vision for such interview: it is necessary to unite “a certain degree of control with a certain amount of freedom” (p. 147).
The responses of the participants will be recorded. Undoubtedly, such documentation is possible only after the parents’ permission. The cyclical nature of design-based research due to the availability of significant reflection provides an excellent opportunity to inform an action at each stage of the research. Such approach will ensure that data collection and analysis are constructive and ongoing processes. The aforementioned interviews are planned to be instructive, which means that every aspect will be discussed. The outcomes are expected to improve the use of blogs, since appropriate changes may be consequently applied.
Introducing the students’ blog. Campbell (2003) identifies and discusses three different types of blogs which are used in the classrooms. More specifically, they include a tutor blog, a learner blog and a class blog (Campbell, 2003). Every type of blog has its proper purpose, function and expected impact on the learners’ efficiency in the course of learning. The currently presented research will use class blogs. Campbell (2003) defines this type of blogging activity as “the result of the collaborative effort of an entire class”.
The students will be asked to set up their own pages in the class blog. Every page should be linked to the particular name. In such a way, it is easy for the researchers as well as other students to identify the author of every post. Furthermore, the students will be encouraged to use blogs for writing activities during classes. Thus, both class and home-based activities should be properly aligned.
The study will incorporate the model for student interaction with the help of blogs developed by Campbell (2003), as shown in Figure 1. The participants of the investigation will be asked to use their blogs for several writing tasks simultaneously in order to contribute to the objectivity of the study. Thus, the tasks will include such activities as a) peer response; b) editing; c) revision; d) publishing; e) and writing as the core assignment. All the assignments will reveal peculiar aspects of the currently discussed online learning activity and will specify its core elements.
Such multidimensional and interactive nature of the design-based research will help the teaching staff introduce the students to intervention, which is blogging experience targeted to enhance their writing skills. Moreover, it will motivate the students to participate, since they adore such online activities. As a result, this approach is expected to help the researchers keep the course of necessary and relevant alterations during the study. Furthermore, the investigators will become capable of providing continuous and constructive improvements to the research process as well as making necessary changes to the teaching practices and goals in case particular needs arise. Finally, the selected intervention guarantees excellent opportunities for proper critical reflections concerning the final outcomes of the researchers’ actions.
Blogging Interaction Model
In order to maximize the overall usefulness of the blogs, which will eventually lead to the final results and newly acquired data concerning the research question, it is necessary to evaluate the complex and multidimensional tasks the students will be asked to perform. It is especially essential to assess the students’ responses to the use of weblog in their writing classes. For instance, every participant will be asked to post an article on a weekly basis. This article should cover the topics which have been discussed in class. Similar topics may be used by several students, but authenticity is strictly demanded. No group projects should be allowed at this stage of the study. Moreover, the participants will be asked to read their colleagues’ posts and comment on them.
Furthermore, it is relevant to underline that the rhetorical functions of the students will positively contribute to the crucial aspects of particular learning strategies and EFL writing strategies in particular. Moreover, other documents should be collected from the students, except for their blog entries, such as writing assignments, critiques which will be acquired during the face-to-face conversations, peer interview sessions, drafts, and writing portfolios. Blogging will be used as illustrated in Figure 2 by Jones, 2006, for the following writing interventions: peer responding, editing, revising and publishing.
This document is needed to keep a record of the actual teaching experience that will be acquired during the active learning intervention. It is crucial for the teaching staff to record the progress between the levels and identify students’ potential. The teacher’s journal should include ideas and thoughts, pedagogical experiences, feelings and emotional states, changes, mistakes, successful completion of tasks, fear or hesitation accompanying the conducted work, surprises and confusions (Merrian, 1998). Moreover, it will contribute to the overall pedagogical proficiency.
The teacher’s journal will reflect on the process of applying blogs to the EFL writing classes and their effects, both short-term and long-term. These interventions should match the needs, interests and the development levels of the students. Furthermore, this methodology will help instructors of other disciplines to adapt and follow the general scheme of incorporating blogs into the curriculum. As a result, this journal will reveal a sequence of difficulties and drawbacks that the participants may face.
Students’ reflective journals. Students should also maintain their reflective journals during semester. Every period will be reflected by the means of responses to the guiding questions.
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The preliminary list of the main questions was developed:
- Describe your thoughts/feeling and mood when you start your writing class?
- Describe your writing class today. You may talk about any difficulties/challenges/feelings (negative or positive) or any other thoughts you have struggled with during your writing tasks?
- Describe the class atmosphere today, the relationship between you and your teacher, and the relationship between you and your colleagues in the class.
The final step of the course will be a writing test. This test will include the major topics and grammar aspects covered during the whole course. The purpose of the given test is to compare the four chosen classes in terms of their writing performance and the progress they have made due to the course. Especially, the effect of the chosen intervention of blogging practice will be addressed.
A mixed method approach will be used for data collection in order to guarantee proper and relevant data subdivision into the following types:
- Qualitative data;
- Quantitative data.
It is crucial to analyze each type of data properly. The quantitative type of data should be analyzed in terms of final results and their reflection of the progress made, whereas qualitative data requires a more profound analysis, comparison and further monitoring.
Assuring Credibility of the Study
The credibility of the study will be provided by the following aspects:
- Using a debriefed group of doctoral candidates. Such an approach guarantees academic excellence and reliability;
- Verification of the contents of the data that has been collected;
- Surveying the back-up group concerning the major aspects of the study and comparing the results.
The aforementioned steps provide solid basis for assuring credibility as far as competent human resources are involved in this process, and the approach to the assuring of credibility is constructive.
Ethical considerations are the major milestones of the formal side of the study. One of the most important points in terms of ethics is responsibility of the researchers. To be more precise, the consideration of responsibility should be regarded on the multiple levels such as relations with colleagues, students and professionally relevant establishments. “Ethics education can enable scientists to place their positions into a logical framework from which they can look for consistent approaches to related problems.” (Stern & Elliott, 1997).
Moreover, the study guarantees confidentiality of the participants’ personal data. It is important to make an emphasis on this particular aspect during the conference in order to highlight the serious scientific approach the researchers follow during their investigation. Along with such, the whole research will be conducted on the voluntary basis, and thus permissions and consents will be provided and documented. Every stage of the study should be discussed beforehand and orient on the parents of the students. Therefore, the study will not interfere with personal and human rights of the participants. Respect for these freedom and rights demonstrate the level of proficiency of the work done.
Limitations of the Study
It is also essential to form the supportive list of 12 potential participants who will be involved in the case of unpredictable changes. The list will be formed either relying on the personal data of the attendants of the conference, or via the emails provided by the schools’ authorities, as described above.
Moreover, it is appropriate to underline the limitation caused by time constraints and potential participant deviation. Furthermore, the possibility of generalization is also a crucial limitation when the outcomes of the study are transferred to another similar context (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Time constraint does not provide a possibility to investigate a big quantity of the participants during a long time period in order to verify the preliminary research outcomes. Furthermore, generalization may become a direct reason of lack of meaningful details and supportive aspects of the whole experience of using blogs at the classroom.
The Strengths of the Study
According to Shenton, “the qualitative investigator’s equivalent concept, i.e. credibility, deals with the question, “How congruent are the findings with reality?” Lincoln and Guba argue that ensuring credibility is one of most important factors in establishing trustworthiness” (Shenton, 2004). The study contributes to the fields of linguistics, methodology and the contextual development of IT. Moreover, the sample approach to learning that has been developed and tested in terms of this study may be successfully adjusted and used in other disciplines. Hence, the congruence of the study is high, especially in terms of the EFL learning, is significant. The reason is the course of linguistic study and perspectives for the given context. Therefore, the reliability and credibility of the results is considered to be the most significant strength of the study. Moreover, it is a multidimensional academic experience that unites innovation and profound knowledge.