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In present days the way we teach and learn is changing dramatically due to technological advances especially with introduction of the Internet. Its (internet) rapid growth and development has had clear impact on teaching and learning at present time. Personal computers (PC) and advance into online learning has allowed recent features of World Wide Web (WWW) to be used in educational sector. These features are known as integrated systems and called Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). These advantages were particularly notices in educational sector and especially in Higher Education (HE).
For many years Brunel University implemented its U-Link system to its traditional way of teaching. To determine either it is a success or failure the views and opinions of the students have been collected through questionnaire and analyzed to show current situation and potential impact in the future.
Table of Contents
LITERATURE REVIEWS 4
Online and Distance Learning 4
Analysis of U-Link Web Based System (VLE) 4
Quality and Security of VLE's. 5
Author research compare to research already done. 6
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 7
Qualitative Approach 7
Quantitative Approach 8
Approach Choice 8
Research Options 8
Chapter 1 - Introduction
This research investigate Online Learning with in-depth analysis of Virtual Learning Environment (VLEs) at Brunel University and determine of it success or failure as a learning and teaching tool for students and teachers. It will focus on how traditional universities (campus based) have adopted to this advance in this technology, by introducing this system, and also the issues that not only affect technology but also the effect this particular technology has had both on students and teachers.
The idea of "virtual university" dates back to the 1926 when educationalist and historian J. C. Stobart wrote a memo, while working for the BBC. No further action were taken until late 1960's when a "Collage on the air" approach was used to give adult education by means of radio and television in which case advanced to the more commonly known online distance learning and today's institute of "The Open University". (www.open.ac.uk, 2011).
Then the most important question is what is online learning? Online learning is defined by Anderson:
"Is the use of the Internet to access learning materials; to interact with the content, instructor, and other learners; and to obtain support during the learning process, in order to acquire knowledge, to construct personal meaning, and to grow from the learning experience (Anderson 2009.)
The definition is looked at more in the Literature Review section of this research papper. As more and more people use online materials to help them improve them skills, educational interests and further career there are both positive and negative aspects of the way people learn. Therefore research is primarily towards students at the University, and questions that first come to any person affected by this way of learning are:
What are the advantages of courses and modules being put online?
What are the benefits to the university?
What are the benefits to students?
What are the benefits to lecturers?
Because of the fast moving pace of World Wide Web (WWW), and internet technology, the way we interact and share information's is changing, particularly in the education sector with the introduction of personal computers in 1980's. This move forward opened the way to education reaching more people and allowing higher educational institutions to offer more possibilities to a wider spectrum of customers in that case students.
1.1. Aims and Objectives
Main aims of this dissertation are:
To investigate if online learning has a positive or negative impact in higher education.
Aim to research in detail how positive or negative online learning is in higher education in 21st century. It will equip the reader with the basic knowledge of online and electronic learning and how it is affecting university level education, and will include history and overview of VLEs.
To make clear for reader of issues relating to VLEs at University level.
In this part reader will get depth knowledge on issues regarding security and quality that has affected online learning at the University.
To investigate future for online learning in higher education
Further work and which direction online learning is going to take, and what impact will it have on higher education.
To be able to reach those aims, the objectives of the research must be accomplished.
The Dissertation's Objectives are:
Understand and analyze online learning.
Analyse the U-Link system used at Brunel University
Analyse benefits and pitfalls of VLEs in higher education
Analyse the effects and importance of quality and security of online learning at University
Compare author's research with existing materials relating to online learning in Higher Education.
1.2 Dissertation Structure
To provide reader with clear understanding of the Dissertation a chapter structure, layout and brief summary been drawn up:
Chapter 1 - Introduction
Introduction and reasons for the research, it aim and objectives.
Chapter 2 - Literature Review
Review of existing materials on the subject area to address key areas associated with Online Learning in Higher Education. It will provide the reader with clear understanding of the issues and aspects that relate to this chosen topic.
Chapter 3 - Research Methodology
Author will look into different range of research method used to conduct research and the choice of research method that will also contain the advantage and disadvantage of each research method to justify the chosen method. In this chapter author will include any issues regarding of the designing of the particular questionnaire for students at the University. It will include as well issues that arise during this process and how the author intends to overcome these problems.
Chapter 5- Data analysing
Information that had been recorded from the questionnaire will be detailed in this chapter along with graphical illustration of that data obtained. Relevant explanations of the results will also be included.
Chapter 6 - Discussion
Data analyzed in previous chapter will help draw conclusions on how online learning affects students in higher education
Chapter - Conclusion
Final chapter of this Dissertation will contain the conclusion that have been drawn from research undertaken and the results that have been extracted from this research. This chapter will fulfil author's objectives originally outlined.
1.3 Summary of the Structure
The chapters were determined by the style of the dissertation which is research dissertation. The author felt that this particular structure of chapter's best suited the flow of the dissertation and would allow the reader to fallow the progression of the dissertation easily. These particular chapters were also chosen because they allow the author to display all the potential results from all the possible areas of research that intended to be carried out in order to answer the question of success or failure of e-learning in higher education.
Chapter 2 - Literature Review
This section provides reader with a clear understanding of the issues and aspect that relate to the topic of online learning in Higher Education. In this section author uses existing materials on the subject area to address key areas associated with online learning and will look at this learning in the past, present and potential paths for the future.
2.1. What is online learning?
From researching many sources the most relevant assumption of e-learning is that online learning will meet the needs of people where access to conventional education is not appropriate or available, or learning will act as a supplement in educational institutes, to change the relationships between learners and teachers and aid improvement in learning in our community (Stephenson 2001.) Freeman et, al. introduced the idea of "Virtual University" and explained it as:
"Communication and Information Technology (CIT) is having a major impact on higher education and, in particular, how the Internet is being (and can be) used to support teaching and learning"
The rapid growth and development of the Internet is the major element in Communication and Information Technology (CIT), Ryan et. al. agreed with Stephenson's assumption that the Internet is not only the way of delivering courses to conventional students but also to geographically challenged students. They also agreed that the Internet has impacted staff and students on campus in ways such as:
Staff are incorporating the Web as a resource,
Staff are guiding students to use the Web as a resource,
Parts of courses or whole courses are being delivered online which is researched later in the dissertation,
Both staff and students are using bulletin boards and e-mail facilities on and off campus (Freeman et. al. 2000)
E-Learning had and continues to play an active role in enhancing distance learning and also plays a large role in traditional universities today for example with the introduction of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), which incorporate the use of bulletin boards and e-mail facilities mentioned by Freeman et. al. This introduction of VLE's in traditional universities means that both students and lecturers are "no longer classroom - bound" (Chang, Hung and Lee 2002.) Alexander and Bound argue that "online learning is in itself, a misnomer. It is more appropriate to see online learning as a tool or support for learning that will substantially take place offline". This point of view makes the author consider the way in which we learn and also if online learning is intended to mean modules or courses placed completely online or partially online with the intention that the work will be completed offline by the student. Compare theories Freeman et. al. definition and understanding of online learning and the impact the Internet has had on this, a definition provided by European Union (EU) which outlines E-Learning as "the use of information and communication technology, include the Internet, to learn and teach" (EU 2006). Re-iterates the impact the Internet has had on how we teach and learn today, and gives a good definition to this dissertation on.
2.2 History of online learning
The first ever online courses started with command - line systems which required patience and some skills. They were not designed with novice user in mind. Nowadays online courses are designed to reach many different people with a wide range of skills and knowledge. As Clarke and Mayer have observed "sensing the economic potential of marrying education and the Internet, a variety of sites have recently sprung up. This could also be known as the E-Learning Bandwagon. This could be compared with the dot.com boom, where a great interest is shown in particulate area and people decided that in order to make money they must get involved in this particular way. Not only businesses and industries decided to joint this particular bandwagon but universities have also seen the potential of offering courses online to reach out the distance and open learning market. According to Muller and Clark "over the next ten years we will see shifts from in-residence learning to on-line learning". Open University (which is distance learning based University) over past 2 years seen overall increase in university intake and with current 250 000 and more that 7 000 tutors saw itself as a University that served people who missed out or did not have opportunity to gain higher education (Open University 2011). With that potential and popularity of this type of university the idea of expanding and this kind of learning will continue and will be discussed further more in later stages of this dissertation.
Introduction of personal computers and advance into distance learning, allowed recent features of the web to be used in the education sector. These features are also known as integrated systems for example Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs).
2.3 Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)
Virtual Learning Environments are learning management software systems that synthesise the functionality of computer - mediated communications software (e-mail, bulletin boards, news - groups etc.) and set of teaching and learning tools designed to enhance a student's learning process (e.g. WWW), (Britan and Liber 2000). Brunel University adopted a Blackboard VLEs, which allows many features for course delivery, which form the outlook is what this system has been primarily take on to be used for. These features are not only restricted to the Blackboard system but they are available on the other VLEs that are about today. These features include student, tutor and designer features (Freeman et. al. 2000). As students log into their VLEs account, they are offered features such as, but sometimes a bit different depending on module tutor and his/hers desire what is needed to be on the main screen.
Below is a basic layout for Brunel University VLEs Web Based System
Course content, which include materials for specific course and specific module,
Discussion board which is a form of online communication where students can post they questions or comments on to online board which can be accessed by other students and teachers,
Announcements where tutors post important information regarding course, or specific school to which students belong to send information regarding school or university,
Assignments where teachers post theirs coursework questions, and a submission deadline, and grade after work was checked,
Calendar - basic calendar with specific deadlines for the specific module,
Chat - life chat where students and teachers can communicate if they are online,
Discussion -gateway for students and their tutors regarding any sort of problem with a course, coursework questions and general topic based communication tool between both parties,
Mail - personalized for each module mail system between school and students,
Web links - important links to module related information and additional reading and software download pages (Brunel University 2011).
Every teacher and every student can freely change colour, font and hide some of the links on the main page but most important feature of this system is a designer feature. It allows the designer to assist in the production of online modules by having hidden activities that can influence the usability and robustness which both allow the look and feel of the VLEs to change to fit the requirements of the module or course (Freeman et. al 2000). All features pointed above are very important to both students and teachers; therefore it is important to understand the roles the VLEs plays in terms of offering flexibility to higher education students and teacher in areas of:
Exit (Inglis, Ling and Joosten, 2002).
Above areas has made learning particularly online learning flexible due to introduction of VLEs. Place and time is not important anymore, people can learn at home or at work or anywhere else due to availability of the materials as long as they have Internet connection and tools to access it. Materials being available almost 24/7 gives the opportunity to work at anytime that best suits them. This same goes for peace. Entry and Exit to a course can also be made flexible by VLEs as it can incorporate pre-tests for entry to a course and it can also show the course materials in advance so the student can make a decision on how far they need to go in a course to attain the level they wish.
2.4 Benefits and Pitfalls of online learning
With the new technology or advance in technology there are numbers of advantages and disadvantages where that technology does not meet the requirements. Especially in online learning environment it has its benefits and pitfalls. Cifuentes and Yu-Chih verified that "online educational environments stimulate learners to dig for information and practical examples thus more efficiently meeting educational objectives by making the learner the centre of the educational experience". On the other hand Cifuentes and Yu-Chih (2001) summarizes the major disadvantages of online learning as technical challenges such as technical failure, constrains of e-mail such as sending diagrams or pictures, and the time involved. In addition, dependence on an unresponsive partner can cause frustration in a learner, leading to a sense of detachment. He also states that in chat rooms, good typists can monopolize the conversation, and protocols need to be learned by other users or they become overwhelmed, in addition conversation can be interrupted due to other students asking questions. Therefore Taylor "considers online learning as an excellent mean where student uses memorisation and analytical skills or evaluation skill to uncover solutions. Pitfall linked with this way of learning is that any module or course that is trying to change student's attitude has shown to not work well online. (Taylor, 2002).
VLEs may not be the most innovative educational technology to be available to use, but it is one of the most common, with 86% of respondent from United Kingdom Higher Education institutions reporting the presence of a VLEs in their institution (OECD, 2005). As well as analysing the general advantageous and disadvantageous of VLEs, there is a lot of literature concerning the actual facilitators and inhibitors of VLEs. A facilitator is a launch pad or catalyst, where someone or something has aided or lifted online learning to new platform, whereas inhabitations are known as the barriers to this way of learning. "Environmental, cultural, technological, personal attitude and business driven facilitators", those are the main facilitators, whereas the main inhibitors are classified as: "environment, technology and infrastructure, personal characteristics, cost and resources", (Chan, Hung and Lee, 2002).
To summarize this part of the literature review there is a few benefits and few pitfalls listed by different researchers. Inglis, Ling and Joosten clearly summarize how knowledge media (online learning) offers opportunity to deliver courses in ways that can be:
Better" (Inglis, Ling and Joosten, 2002).
At the beginning there is an initial expense from university, in order to set up the functionality of VLEs but within time university will save money in areas such as: administration, marketing and communication. Second potential benefit is speed. Students and teachers have the ability to download or upload information related with specific module or course onto VLEs within seconds through availability anytime in any place with requirements of PC and Internet connection. Finally idea of better learning from introduction of this type of learning is meant in terms of quality of education for student through the multimedia options that are made available from this adaptation in learning. Because of the new ways that materials can be displayed to the student, online learning had the ability to present materials different ways including, video, animation and also the option to interact more as a group (through discussion board and chat) which can be lost in the lecture.
To summarize this part of research, all the above benefits show that VLEs, if administrated correctly, it has a potential to successfully offer low cost, easy access and better quality courses to make it a successful education tool.
2.5 Issues regarding online learning
While literature review pointed out advantages and pitfalls of online learning, author has gained basic knowledge and understanding of online learning, particular in higher education. To be able to look further into online learning and its success or failure, main issues in learning this way is a security. As Furnell and Karweni stated, main threats the HE institutions companies could face are:
"Malicious software such as viruses, worms and Trojan Horses,
Hacking and denial of service attacks,
Masquerading and spoofing
Fraud, data theft and malicious damage (Furnell and Karweni, 2001).
Above threads are relevant to any Internet based organization which means, University is no different and in particular online data available for students and teachers could face any of the above threads. Furnell and Karweni discussed that there is a need for some sort of security solution structure which could include:
Access control - every student and teacher, equip with a unique username and password, while after log in screen access is controlled dependent on their course or module.
Communication protections - all data encryption should be secure on whole network and in all communication between students and teachers.
Authentication and accountability - to make sure that students registered for specific course have access to just that specific course and importantly when students takes online exam, the registered student is the person who undertakes the exam. (Furnell and Karweni, 2001).
Security is becoming more and more necessary within education today, as stated in the above literature. As well as security another issue affecting online learning is cost. The actual cost of administering online learning can be expensive but can in turn be viewed as an investment because "Coursework has a value that last for several years. Courseware should therefore be seen as an asset" ( Inglis, Ling and Joosten, 2002). Although this seems simple there are a number of factors that must be addressed in order for the courseware to be a good asset. These factors include marketing, up to date courseware and systems. These issues will mainly fall on the shoulders of the lecturers as they will have to make sure that the material that they are teaching is up to date and still relevant. They must ensure that they market their module well so as to attract the students. If all these factors are considered then the initial expenditure will be reduced by the return the successful completion of the factors will generate.
So far, in this section somewhat negative issues have been discussed on how they affect online learning. Although these issues are important and must be addressed it is also important to examine issues such as the driving forces for online learning. Driving forces are defined as "key external pressures that will shape the future for the organization" (McNamee, 1999). In terms of online learning the specific driving forces outlined by Chan et. al. Are:
"Increased complexity and rate of change the working environment due to technological changes,
High cost of the traditional training methods,
Life-long learning requirements,
Trade off between self-development and work productivity" (Chan et. al. 2002).
These driving forces clearly show the pressures that universities are facing nowadays to keep up with the changes in culture and society. This particular issue plays an important role in online learning because if there was no demand (driving force) then it would firstly not be successful and secondly there would be no future for it. As well as issues that are considered to be obvious, a less that obvious issues such as learning styles must be addressed. People have many different ways of learning and this has to be taken into consideration when making course or module available online."Research suggests the most effective learning occurs when courses are designed to appeal to various learning styles" (Burd and Buchanan, 2004). With the introduction of online learning in traditional universities a new style of teaching will need to be adopted if the online learning is to be successful. In reviews of learning styles it is clear that "in a face - to - face classroom, this traditionally involves developing a pedagogy that may include lecture, active learning exercises, and experimental learning" (Burd and Buchanana, 2004).
This shows that all the people who interact with online learning need to be open and willing to adopt their way of learning so as to gain the most from this learning tool. Finally an issue with enthusiasm must be reviewed. This is because as well as issues on how to teach using this new tool lecturers must actually want to teach and be passionate enough to carry it off. As clarified by Burd and Buchanan "online learning is most successful when individuals are enthusiastic about teaching and learning in this medium and willing to take risks to learn to communicate effectively employing the available technology" (Burd and Buchanana, 2004). This statement also shows that the learner must be enthusiastic about this change to the way they are learning. This means that to gain the most success for online learning both parties must want this change and be willing to adapt accordingly.
2.6. Future of online learning.
After gaining an understanding of online learning and looking into issues that could affect its success the next step in this process is to consider the future of online learning. As stated by Allan Henderson online learning in particular e-learning "will become richer and richer over time so that students will get closer and closer to the richness of a face - to -face learning experience" (Henderson , 2003). This statement is becoming more and more valid as advances in technology allow teachers to use more multimedia to reach out to their students. The only issue that could affect this statement is that if the lecturer produces too much virtual effects and spectacular multimedia as this will distract the learning from actually learning the material (Henderson, 2003). As with any advance in technology in particular in education there is the opportunity of advantages to both students and teachers. These advantages summarize by Henderson include the possibility of course getting cheaper, improve accessibility and availability due to more and more online systems interconnecting and finally the fact that courses produce online may continue to improve which will allow online learning to be simpler and easy to manage (Henderson, 2003).
Success in the future of online learning can be determined by a number of factors. Howard, Schenk and Discenza back this statement up by explaining "the most important factors for future success will be the quality and talent of the instructors and their commitment to excellence in learning" (Howard, Schenk and Discenza, 2004). This also shows the author that in order for online learning to be a success in the future then the people involved in this, for example the lecturers and the university themselves need to be welcoming and adapt to this change in how education is distributed. Therefore the success does not only lie with the lecturers but also with the students themselves. It is expected that "regular students will opt for distance participation in some of their courses, not only because it is convenient, but also because they perceive no loss of quality (Howard, Schenk and Discenza, 2004). At this time and more prominently in the future the competition for students is coming to the forefront of university issues, and with the introduction of the new way of teaching and learning which is seen as a tool that is more accessible to more people then marketing a university on this could be its most valuable asset. Making these changes now could give a university the future it needs to succeed as underpinned by Howard, Schenk and Discenza as they explain that "ultimately, the fundamental changes that could ensure the future success of university and college level institutions may well have to come from the accreditation agencies in realising that we are evolving in a competitive marketplace and that it is their role to ensure that the consumer has access to the information needed to make fair market decisions" (Howard, Schenk and Discenza, 2004).
To summarize this chapter has looked at some of many areas of literature that are available on the subject of online learning. This particular literature review has provided an overview of online learning including looking at the past and present of online learning and also the benefits and pitfalls to this particular advance in technology. This literature review has also looked into a particular part of online learning in more detail. The introduction of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and how that has been integrated into higher education institutes, for example U-Link Web based System at Brunel University. Even though VLEs have been around for a number of years and some universities have embraced this advance it is still clear to the author that there are some quite a few universities that have not taken on the full impact and are still only moving slowly towards using this advance in the way education is delivered (Maccoll, 2001). The actual delivering of education through these systems offers the opportunity to not only deliver instruction but " it also involves the creation of the type of environment in which the full range of academic, administrative and support needs of thee learner are met" (Inglis, Ling and Joosten, 2002). Thus meaning that the learner will be receiving more than just lecturer notes but opportunity to discuss the notes and receive support from numerous lecturers and other students. Also from this review it is clear that online learning holds "the promise of delivering education and training more effectively by providing students with a much richer environment in which to learn" (Inglis, Ling and Joosten, 2002). This way of learning has many advantages and as explained in above statement it also has the potential to give students a little bit more from their education. The literature from this study has also explained to the author that online learning is complex and that people learn in many different ways. This means that online learning although may seem automated cannot be "rather, there has to be a right balance and integrity of pedagogy, technology and innovation", (Lie et. al., 2002). Related to his area in online learning, the author has also been able to summarise that online learning changes the roles of the teacher and learner and "promotes student - centred, active learning in which the individual becomes largely responsible for his or her own learning while the teacher is responsible for presenting multiple opportunities for processing information and assisting students in the creation of the knowledge" (Burd and Buchanana, 2004). This is not the complete role reversal but is an issue that is prominent throughout the research into online learning.
It can be concluded that this literature review has given a clear starting point for the dissertation and now allows the author to look in more details at this particular topic and research methodology. It has also shown the author how successful online learning could be, but much consideration must be given to how it is implemented and the issues affecting it as this could affect its success
Chapter 3 - Research Methodology
A thorough analysis of research topic resulted in decision of choosing quantitative study as the main data collection method. As a result, an experimental questionnaire was designed and brought a very interesting and useful output. This chapter of the paper explains the research philosophy and strategy first; sampling and survey design are presented next. Finally, it demonstrates limitations and ethics.
3.2. Research Philosophy.
Positivism was chosen to be this research philosophy due to the fact that its character is the most suitable for the purpose of this study. According to Bell and Bryman (2007) and Lewis, Thornhill and Saunders (2009), the positivism approach places a researcher as an objective external person that is not affected in any way by the study. What is more, the writer cannot influence the research as well (value-free way) (Lewis, Thornhill and Saunders, 2009; Gill and Johnson 2002). This philosophy bases on highly structured study and large samples. Consequently, quantitative research will be conducted. Additionally, qualitative data can be and was collected as well in aim to receive some more depth results (Lewis, Thornhill and Saunders, 2009). The research philosophy influences the strategy quite vastly. On account of positivism, deduction approach has been chosen. This method will be discussed in the next paragraph.
According to research philosophy (positivism) and its strategy (deduction), survey was used as the main data source. The process of survey preparation was organised into few stages. Firstly, the survey design was created on the basis of what the author found to be critical to test researched phenomena. Secondly, a pilot test with a sample of five people was run where participants defined any errors and misleading questions. As a result, those mistakes were corrected and the second pilot test was organized. Similarly to the first one, the sample accounted for five respondents as well. New participants raised few more points that were corrected as well. Finally, the writer consulted the final questionnaire design with his tutor, which concluded with adding two more questions and few minor changes that made the survey more analysis-friendly. As soon as the survey preparation process was finished, the writer could finally conduct the research. However, before we advance to it, it is important to understand the survey design first. The next section explains how the survey was structured and justifies the prepared experiment.
3.4. Survey Design.
â€¦â€¦â€¦. Questionnaires were distributed both online and offline. â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦ were completed and returned back, however â€¦â€¦.. were filled up incorrectly by not answering all questions. All in all, â€¦â€¦â€¦ questionnaires were correctly answered and the response rate achieved was â€¦â€¦%.
Offline, the questionnaires were collected in the Brunel University and next to two Polish shops. Respondents and questionnaires' versions were chosen randomly. Online, the service Survey Monkey was used to collect data from respondents as well.
All subjects were informed that the survey was anonymous, as no personal data would be collected. What is more, they were assured that they could stop filling up the questionnaire if they felt unable to proceed or they were comfortable to answer any of the questions. Respondents filled questionnaires up personally to make them feel more anonymous and comfortable. Some participants could not finish the survey by themselves due to the language barrier and the writer had to help them by translating questions that were not understood.
Ethics Form was prepared and presented to and accepted by the author's tutor, Dr. Kevin Lu. Deontological view was implied. The reason why this one was selected was the fact that it reflected writer's attitude towards ethical issues in the study - 'the ends served by the research can never justify the use of research which is unethical' (Lewis, Thornhill and Saunders, 2009, p.184). On the basis of Lewis, Thornhill and Saunders (2009) and Bell and Bryman (20,07), the following issues that might be affecting this research ethics were identified:
Collecting low quality secondary data. Academic practices were employed while collecting secondary data. The researcher paid a careful attention to the quality and credibility of material used in this project
Infringement of respondents' right to voluntary participation and the right to stop taking part in the process at any time. Respondents were informed about their right before participating in the research. Moreover, an extra care was taken to assure voluntary participation and lack of pressurizing the people involved
Privacy of possible and actual participants. No private data was collected in aim to make it easier for the researcher to maintain the study ethical. Furthermore, participants were completing both online and offline questionnaires by themselves so the completed one could not be associated with anybody.
Lack of consent. Implied consent was applied throughout the whole process of research and data analysis. Implied consent was employed in questionnaire survey.
Creation of harm, stress, discomfort, pain and harm feeling. Non-malfeasance (avoidance of harm) approach was employed in order to prevent those ethical problems. Additionally, it was a priority to make participants feel comfortable in the process so they could deliver much more honest and comprehensive data.
Lack of researcher's objectivity in data collection and analysis. The selected research philosophy obliged the writer to conduct the study in an objective matter.
Finally, personal safety of the researcher. As advised by Lewis, Thornhill and Saunders (2009), meetings and questionnaires were arranged to take part in busy public places.
On the basis of Bell and Bryman (2007) the limitations occurred during the research can be categorised into four groups:
Data collection error - occurs when the research is executed with some faults, for instance misleading questions in the survey. The limitation may occur due to researcher's lack of professional experience in interviewing. Pilot tests and meticulous care paid to questionnaires' designs should lesser the possibility of this limitation appearance in the quantitative study.
Data processing error - wrong coding or errors in typing data. Coding was prepared very carefully to assure proper data analysis. However, there is a possibility of mistyping of some data causing minor errors in research results.
3.8. Chapter Conclusions.
This chapter discussed research methodology employed by the author in his Final Year Project. The reader is guided into the research philosophy and consequent strategies that the writer applied. Positivism was chosen to be this study philosophy and accordingly to it, the writer created a cross-sectional deductive approach with elements of longitudinal inductive one. In terms of sampling, a mixture of convenience and self-selection sampling was employed. The main primary research technique was an experimental survey that was carefully designed to identify how opinions about affect on online learning in higher education. The survey was carried both online and offline. Finally, the limitations of this study such as data collection error, data processing error, single-lead studies, constraints of time and lack of funding.
Chapter 4 - Research results and data analysis
Data analysis is one of the most important parts of the carried research. This chapter discusses this problem thoroughly. According to presented earlier research methodology, experimental study was conducted by the researcher. As a result, three surveys with minor differences were designed. On account of Bell and Bryman (2007) and Lewis, Thornhill and Saunders (2009), it is important to change only one factor at a time while testing COO perception differences in this study. Consequently, the only aspect modified was the information about pork sausage's country-of-origin. Three categories were made: General, Polish and German.