SURVEY RESEARCH ON ONLINE COURSE EXPERIENCES: A RESEARCHER’S LESSONS LEARNED
St. John's University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Educational research has undergone dynamic changes and improvements with the availability of a multitude of instruments that can be customized, designed, and administered through completely online modalities. There are infinite possibilities for researchers who aim to reach large numbers of potential participants using the Internet. Invitations to participate in research studies are now typically disseminated through email or other social media. These online tools allow investigators to communicate with targeted or purposive sample audiences with ease and to engage in rapid and frequent exchanges of information with potential participants (Erford, 2008; Fraenkel, Wallen, & Hyun, 2011). This article will describe the research methodology employed in a recent exploratory study that examined the perceptions of counseling educators, students, and practitioners regarding the appropriateness of online courses for the instruction of counseling skills and techniques. The rationale for this investigation was based on the ever-increasing number of online course offerings in graduate education programs and the widespread popularity of completely online degree programs (Cicco, 2009). The relatively few empirical studies conducted on the effectiveness of online instructional methods and particularly on pedagogies for teaching counseling skills and techniques raises questions on how the processes of teaching, learning, and assessment of these skills take place within a completely online course (Cicco, 2011; Trepal, Haberstroh, Duffey, & Evans, 2007; Yang & Chou, 2008). Concerns on the quality of instructor-student relationship-building, supervision experiences, and skill assessment in fully online counseling courses clearly merit further examination. The study discussed herein attempted to fill an immediate gap in the research literature by utilizing an intricate researcher-made survey instrument that was completed by 70 participants. A brief overview of the study background, design, and results will be provided. The survey methodology will be highlighted, with a discussion on the creation of the instrument, administration of the survey, and collection of its validity and reliability data (Cicco, 2012). The limitations of the study and recommendations for a replication study will be emphasized with a summary of the researcher’s reflections on the various phases of the investigation. Suggestions for survey improvement and for enhanced online communication with participants will be outlined. The article will conclude with a review of the advantages and disadvantages of online survey research and the various lessons learned by the researcher regarding the research process (Cicco, 2012; Wright, 2014).
Keywords: Survey research, survey design, educational research, counseling research, online communication, online courses, counseling skills and techniques, research methodology.