Martin Sketchley © 2013
There are various techniques available for the teacher who is wishing to develop their own form of action research. The traditional applications and approaches available for English language teachers who are incorporating research include:
Surveys & questionnaires
These examples are usually accessible to teachers and in reality teachers are constantly reviewing, reacting and reflecting on their own teaching experiences on a daily basis. However, with the development of technology, we have seen the expansion of online surveys, lessons and interviews being recorded as well as learner diaries being written online via the use of blogging tools or other online software. Naturally, with online research much in its infancy, teachers and researchers require sufficient knowledge how to create and undertake the research necessary for their aims. The focus of this paper looks at the use of online tools to create and undertake online surveys. Nevertheless, what are the primary advantages of online surveys as compared to the traditional paper-based surveys? The advantages of online surveys could include the following:
Participants are anonymous
: there is greater transparency and honesty with this form of research, rather than surveys being administered in person. This could cause participants answering what the researcher would like to hear
the ‘halo effect’ –
or deciding to answer what the researcher does not want to hear
the ‘horn effect’. Online tools provide the
participant the autonomy and space to complete with no added pressure as the researcher is not physically present during this process.
Wider international participation
: the online survey could be emailed for participants to complete at their discretion. This could
generate a ‘viral effect’ whereby participants forward on
the email or link to the survey to other potential participants
much like when videos or pictures become viral
and a wider participation is generated. There are other tools available to link with and share online surveys which will be looked at later on.
Easier to read
: online text is easier to read as this can be magnified on the computer monitor with a few clicks of a mouse.