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This chapter of the research is dedicated to the different research methods that were used to gather the data and analyze it. The chapter consists of the research onion, research philosophy that was used, research approach, research design, types of investigation, data collection method, and research technique. The chapter will also include research limitations that the researchers had to face during the assessment and evaluation of the data.
The research onion in research defines the steps that the researcher will go through before formulating an appropriate methodology (Sahay, 2016). The research onion has various layers, with the idea that the researcher will start from the outside and peel each layer away before it hit the center.
It is crucial to select the right research philosophy while directing research. To do so, researchers opt-in choosing different research philosophies by seeking help from qualitative and quantitative research approaches, to construe answers to questions by applying the appropriate scientific methods and analyzing the results. (Lee, 2017). There is sometimes an over-distinction between the different types of the research methodology employed by researchers. Due to this researchers have resorted to mixing these methods in modern research (Edson et al., 2016). Most research frameworks emerge from one of the three research methods that are: a positivist approach, and an interpretative or pragmatic approach (Crossan, 2013). Every study requires one of the research paradigms as a framework for designing a research technique for the research venture that is the most appropriate and suitable approach. The interpretative approach is focused on the assessment of the differences between individuals and social actors. On the other hand, a positivist strategy is established based on data collection and the development of a hypothesis. A pragmatic approach uses elements of both positivist and interpretative approaches to reach a more conclusive result. In the present study, the researchers have used the pragmatism research philosophy. As already discussed, pragmatism philosophy is considered as the blend of both positivism and interpretivism and thereby allows researchers to study both the qualitative and quantitative evidence in a single research. Therefore, pragmatism is the right philosophy that has been followed to facilitate both the qualitative and quantitative processes in the present research.
The research Approach is the plan and procedure that contains the detail of steps used in data collection, analysis of the data, and deducing interpretations of the collected data. For this purpose, there are two basic types of research approaches used by researchers; the inductive and deductive approaches. Generally, the inductive method offers a simple to use and structured collection of qualitative data analysis procedures which can yield accurate findings (Harding, 2018). An inductive approach adheres to the more qualitative way, relying more on subjective assessments like opinions, beliefs, and behavior of the people. On the other hand, Bryman and Bell (2015) argue that the deductive approach orients from the generalized to more specific outputs where it adapts the top-down approach. They emphasize that deductive research relates to quantitative methods. The quantitative approach is based on the new assumptions made in the current theory and the corresponding strategy to test them. It is vital when there is no collected data available on the topic and becomes the basis of primary results. This research is based on deductive methods using primary quantitative data.
Research design is the arrangement of conditions for data collection. It is the framework of different research methods and techniques that the researcher chooses for performing research. Research design fundamentally describes the type of research and has the potential to be a component that can alone be used to evaluate the worth of the findings (Diaz et al., 2019). It includes the data collection process, measurement of the data collection, and analysis performed on the data collected. The data collection process explains the data that was collected in this research (Creswell, 2017). It also describes different means of selecting the organizations for the data collection. These approaches are known as Quantitative Research Approach, Qualitative Research Approach, and the mixed-method approach (Tuffour, 2017). The current research uses a mixed-method approach, using elements from qualitative and quantitative research paradigms. The research was carried out in Tanzania by the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). The study included teaching personnel (readers and technicians) as well as students. The study engaged the Faculty of Agriculture personnel; Forestry and Nature Conservation; Science; and Veterinary Medicine. Also participating were the two institutes (Development Studies Institute and Sokoine National Agricultural Library) which hosts academic programs at ASU. Since both the qualitative and quantitative aspects have been covered in the study hence, the selection of the mixed research design is justified.
Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring data required to perform specific research keeping in view the variables under discussion. In any research, there are two major types of data collection methods: primary and secondary. Primary data is also called first-hand data and it is gathered by the researcher himself/herself. Information from authors/researchers is included in the secondary data. The benefit of obtaining data from primary sources is that this offers a plausible conclusion. Secondary data, on the other hand, allows the researcher to identify the research gap in the literature when the prior study is examined in great depth (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015). This study used primary data methods. In which the survey and interviews have been conducted.
The research comprised a total of 142 participants. The participants comprised students and teaching faculty. Five teachers from each of the four faculties and two institutes were chosen using a simple random sampling methodology, furthermore, a total of 40 students were randomly selected and engaged in the study. This method of sampling was adopted since it provides a fair opportunity to pick each member of the population. 40 students were selected for in-depth interviews using a structured questionnaire and assessments were used to ascertain the usefulness of mobile phones among teachers.
According to Phellas and Seale (2011), it is pertinent to use an appropriate data collection instrument to be able to collect data accurately. Mobile learning, the scale of perception of mobile devices, and the scale of obstacles were used to achieve the research's aims. Both student understandings of scale and M-learning were produced and generated through literature analysis and similar research, but the perception scale consisted of 21 multiple-choice statements, each with five Likert scale choices segregated into three sections. Measurement and academic excellence (8 items), mobile communication and engagement incentives (4 items), and knowledge exposure (9 items), 18 items were positive and 3 items were negative (No. 19, 20, and 21). see [Table 1]. The following is the survey questionnaire that has been used to facilitate the survey process.
Table1: Students' Responses on Perceptions Scale of mobile devices.
Items of Scale
First area: Academic Performance and Measurement
Mobile learning can motivate students to learn.
Mobile learning helps students in getting immediate feedback.
Mobile learning leads to academic success and growth.
The possibility of making quizzes through the Mobile phone is high.
Mobile learning can be used to enhance classroom learning.
Mobile learning can be used to create an engaging platform for learning.
M-learning can aid in the continuous evaluation of the course.
Mobile learning will improve learning performance.
Second area: Mobile Communication and Interaction
Mobile learning reduces location and time constraints.
Mobile learning facilitates the engagement and participation of alienated students.
Online learning allows students to interact together.
Mobile learning promotes lecturers- students contact and collaboration.
Third area: Access to information
Mobile learning gives students access to the educational materials needed.
Mobile learning is easier than traditional learning.
Enjoy using a mobile device to study university courses.
Mobile learning saves time and effort to obtain information.
Access to course information is made easier by using mobile devices
Mobile learning contributes to the development of research skills.
It will be difficult to organize a debate or an educational dialogue.
It's difficult to store large files on mobile phones.
A persistent problem with mobile batteries.
For quantitative data, there are a variety of statistical tools available for the researcher to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. For analysis of the quantitative data different analytical tools like Microsoft Excel, SPSS and STATA are used. Researchers used descriptive statistical analysis, coded and evaluated data from the research sample answers using SPSS (Statistical Packages for Social Sciences version 16 but primarily Cronbach Alpha, means and standard deviation have been used to maintain accuracy for the range of Cronbach Alpha expectations and barrier measurements used. Find mobile learning perception levels for students using scoring methods and standard deviations for perception-scale responses and identify the basic barriers to mobile learning strategies and standard barrier-scale deviation. Collected data were analyzed using thematic analysis and the Social Sciences Statistical Packages. The interviews conducted of the participants were analyzed using thematic analysis while correlation and regression have been performed to determine the association between the variables along with determining the impact of the independent variable on the dependent variable.
Like all research studies, the present study has some limitations in different aspects. The demographical and geographical limitations demand that they will be limited to organizations in the approach of the researcher which are in the demographical range, considering time and resource constraints. This may imply that in the future similar data may be collected from other entities, where different conclusions may be drawn. In addition, another limitation of this research was the limited number of participants. Lastly, the closed-ended or semi-structured interviews are believed to be only partly representative of the conscious thinking or opinion of the participants (Simon & Goes, 2013).
Bryman, A. and Bell, E., 2015. Business research methods. Oxford University Press, USA.
Creswell, J.W. and Creswell, J.D., 2017. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications
Diaz-Kope, L.M., Miller-Stevens, K. and Henley, T.J., 2019. An examination of dissertation research: The relationship between gender, methodological approach, and research design. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 25(1), pp.93-114
Edson, M.C., Henning, P.B. and Sankaran, S. eds., 2016. A guide to systems research: Philosophy, processes and practice (Vol. 10). Springer
Etikan, I., Alkassim, R. and Abubakar, S., 2016. Comparision of snowball sampling and sequential sampling technique. Biometrics and Biostatistics International Journal, 3(1), p.55
Harding, J., 2018. Qualitative data analysis: From start to finish. SAGE Publications Limited.
Johnston, M.P., 2017. Secondary data analysis: A method of which the time has come. Qualitative and quantitative methods in libraries, 3(3), pp.619-626
Lee, A.S., 2017. Philosophy and method: making interpretive research interpretive. In The Routledge Companion to Management Information Systems (pp. 30-46). Routledge.
Merriam, S.B. and Tisdell, E.J., 2015. Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. John Wiley & Sons
Phellas, C.N., Bloch, A. and Seale, C., 2011. Structured methods: interviews, questionnaires and observation. Researching society and culture, 3
Sahay, A., 2016. Peeling Saunder's Research Onion. Research Gate, Art, pp.1-5.
Simon, M.K. and Goes, J., 2013. Assumption, limitations, delimitations, and scope of the study (Doctoral dissertation, Dissertation and scholarly research: Recipes for success).
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