The past research has shown that the experimental groups learning outcome was higher than the control group. However the follow-up questionnaires and interviews three months after the post-test showed that both the experimental and control groups seemed to retain the same amount of information and procedures learned in the session.
The experimental group did show that they coached others more, deliberately applying the procedures and following up with the provided web-site for reviews. Our research will review the two group’s ability to retain the information for long points of time and which method provides the best long term retention rate. The research problem will review if web-based learning tools will help the one group retain the information longer we will retest both group in 6 months and 12 months. Does the use of web-based learning tools provide employees with a source to help them maintain knowledge learned longer?
To write a quantitative purpose statement, we must first start with our general topic, which in this case is, interpersonal communication skills. We must include the variables (what are the outcomes and what factors influence those outcomes?), the participants in the study and the research site. As we narrow our topic, we see from the information given that we want to focus our investigation on using web-based instruction to teach interpersonal communication. The study will be conducted for the employer, so we know the subjects will be the employees of ABC Corporation. We know that a good purpose statement takes the form of “the effect
of x on y”.
With the above information in mind, our purpose statement becomes: “The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of web-based instruction on the acquisition and application of interpersonal skills for employees at ABC Corporation”.
The research question addresses the use of web-based tools and how they can help professionals in a work environment learn and retain information better. Researching other companies and how their use of web-based tools have helped improve production, time management, communication skills, and the impact on return on investment would be the main groups of literature research to review.
Looking at the different types of research is needed to create a concrete research paper. Benchmarking other companies, colleges and how they are using technology to improve the learning environment of their students, and technology sites to find out what changes in online tools are being developed. Because this research is using adult learners it is important to look at research from college level up. Most research on children and the use of web-based tools would not be useful. If the impact that we show can be compared to the impact other companies have seen then the data that our research fines will be more concrete.
There are standard that we will have to follow before the research can even begin. We will need to review the professional ethics in educational assessments and also the ethical standard for developing the research. Review of the accreditations of all research papers we review is also important. When using a quantitative study it is important to justify the research problem and to compare the results with the prior predictions (Creswell, 2005).
Ways to Collect Data
The researcher would have to get permission from management to do a research study. They need to determine if employees who have access to a web site after their training retain more information? The representatives of the study would be the employees who went through the four sessions on improving interpersonal communications in the workplace using the web-based tools and the control group that did not use the web.
The researcher will show that longer term retaination of information can be enhances by using the web supported tools. Neither group will know they are participating in a planned study because if the study was know ahead of time people would be able to prepare and that would effect the data collected.
A quantitative should be used because we will have to compare groups against each other. Managers should fill out questionnaires when employees access web sites. Did the employees solve problems without management becoming involved? Were employees without web sites able to solve problems as often as the web group? Information should be put into categories, those with web support and those without web support.
Interviews and Likert scales could be used to evaluate the employees’ use of the web site. Tally sheets and logs should be kept each time a problem is solved with or without web site usage. A checklist inventory or assessment should be used each time a problem is solved with or without using the web site.
A numerical chart can be used to compare the results after three months and six months. After the first three months the learning outcomes of the experimental group was higher. This could be shown on a chart or graph. Ten out of forty-four employees were using principles that they had learned. While only 3 out of 50 participants of the control group used knowledge they had learned. Post survey scores increased by 30% over pre survey scores for the experimental group.
Observations of the employee’s behavior should be monitored. The groups should be compared at the end of three and six months to see which groups are doing the best job of retaining what they have learned. A personality assessment could also be used to determine if employees using the web site will continue to retain their training information.
The data analysis process would consist of both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative and qualitative data for both groups would be measured against their baseline abilities. This means that changes would be measured first against the behaviors practiced by each group before the intervention took place (for example, the 30% increase over pre-survey scores). Then, the intervention and control groups would be measured against each other in order to identify whether the changes that took place might be said to have occurred as a result of the web-based instruction.
The quantitative data measurements would include not only comparisons of the number of persons reporting their use of principles acquired at the seminar (that is, 10 against 3), as this would give a slightly less optimistic outlook for the technology intervention. Rather, percentages will be computed, which would generate a ratio of approximately 23:6 (23% vs. 6%) in favor of the experimental group.
Qualitative analysis could be measured by constructing questionnaires that require the respondents to rate their current communication levels using a Likert scale and then applying quantitative measures to tell how many people (compared with baseline levels) detect an improvement in different areas. The questionnaire could also include areas that allow them to comment on the extent to which the improvement has taken place and the areas in which the intervention helped the most. Where verbal descriptions of changes are given, similar responses might be coded and grouped together. The number of occurrences of key words would be noted as well as the use of qualifiers, such as “best,” “somewhat,” “significantly” or “dramatically”.
Findings and Recommendations
The problem of the research would be stated and detailed background information given to provide the reader with the proper foundation for the full comprehension of the research. Next, a review of the literature would follow, and this would allow the reader to expand his/her knowledge concerning the current trends and understandings about the subject as they prevail in the general academic circles. It would also grant the writer a chance to demonstrate his/her expertise on the topic.
A description of the methodology would explain the methods of data collection and clarify the reasons for choosing these. This would include a description of the population sample, the intervention site and methods, and any other details that pertain to the study. It would also outline any limitations of the research. The findings would then be explicitly presented and a discussion of these findings would ensue.
The discussion would include the discovery of any trends and an explanation of why these trends are believed to have occurred. After this, a conclusion would be given that would summarize the main points of the study. Finally, recommendations would be given, both for future intervention (through computer-based instruction) as well as for extensions of the study (such as conducting a similar study on younger persons who already have excellent exposure to technology to find out if results would be even better.) In short, the research would follow (more or less) the Trochim format: introduction, literature review, methods, results/discussion, conclusion/recommendations.
Creswell, J. (2005). Educational Research: Planning, Conducting, and Evaluation Quantitative and Qualitative Research. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc. Retrieved September 26, 2006