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Article of Volume 9, Issue 3, September 2014

An examination of CSCL methodological practices and the influence of theoretical frameworks 2005-2009

Authors: Heisawn Jeong, Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver, Yawen Yu

Abstract: The goal of this research is to provide an overview of CSCL methodological practices. CSCL is a vibrant interdisciplinary research field where several different theoretical and methodological traditions converge. Given the diversity of theoretical and methodological traditions that co-exist in CSCL, it is important to document the kinds and range of methodological practices and examine how they are related to the diverse theoretical perspectives in the field. In the current study, we examined CSCL research methodology in terms of (1) research designs, (2) research settings, (3) data, and (4) analysis methods. We then examined how these dimensions are related to the theoretical frameworks of the research. A content analysis was carried out based on empirical CSCL studies published in seven leading journals of the field during 2005–2009. The analysis identified the dominant CSCL research practices. We found that the modal CSCL study used descriptive designs that were carried out in classroom settings, typically collected questionnaires and analyzed the data quantitatively. CSCL research methods, however, were also quite diverse and eclectic, as researchers used range of data collection and analysis practices. We additionally examined how theoretical frameworks influenced methodological practices. In addition, a cluster analysis examined how these practices co-varied. Four distinctive method-theory clusters emerged, each with a distinct profile. Remaining methodological challenges of the field are discussed along with suggestions to move the field toward meaningful synthesis.

Keywords: CSCL, Research methodology, Content meta-analysis, Research design, Research settings, Data, Analysis methods, Theoretical framework, Multidisciplinary research

Citation: Jeong, H., Hmelo-Silver, C. E., & Yu, Y. (2014) An examination of CSCL methodological practices and the influence of theoretical frameworks 2005-2009. ijcscl 9 (3), pp. 305-334

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-014-9198-3

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF jeong_hmelo-silver_yu_9_3.pdf

Appendix: Acrobat-PDF jeong_hmelo-silver_yu_9_3_appendix.pdf

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