ERIC Number: ED494678
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr-11
Beliefs and Issues Arising from a Virtual Collaborative Student-Alumni-Faculty Action Research Project
Gordon, Sue Marquis; Edwards, Jennifer L.; Hollie-Major, Ramona D.
Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, April 2006)
Can graduate students in a distance learning environment gain meaningful research experience through a virtual action research project? The answer is an emphatic "yes." The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which students seeking an EdD degree can gain research experience through an action research project conducted in a virtual environment and to examine administrative issues that need to be considered when a large group of collaborators undertake a year-long study. The analysis in this paper is based on project documents of the Faculty-Student Mentoring Project, which took place from May 2003 through October 2004, the reflections of the principal investigators, and an evaluation that an alumna volunteered to conduct near the end of the project. The evaluation included two 60-minute focus groups held via conference calls with the student and alumnae researchers. Through a year-long collaborative project that involved 11 students, 5 alumni, and 3 faculty, students and alumni increased their understanding of action research, gleaned valuable information of use to their program, and presented and published. The university also gained valuable information. Conducting action research in a distance environment, however, created some unique issues and valuable lessons that will be helpful for others who want to offer graduate students the opportunity to engage in collaborative research. Faculty who want to work with students at a distance to conduct research would benefit from setting expectations at the outset of the project, providing time for participants to get to know each other, familiarizing participants with the technology they will be using, screening volunteers to determine their levels of expertise and commitment, setting minimum and maximum expectations for participation, having participants work in small task groups before engaging a large group, sharing the project management, providing extensive training at the beginning of the project, and anticipating that online research will require more time than a similar study conducted where the research team can meet face-to-face.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A