picture credit: http://phd.leiden.edu/current/generic/research/open-interview.html
The purpose of my mini-thesis is to explore students’ experiences of online learning comparing with face-to-face instruction. To get insight of students’ perspectives and experiences of the effectiveness of online learning in comparison with traditional classroom, I decided to conduct a qualitative research. To collect data, first I prepared questions for interviews. The reason why I chose interview as a main research instrument is that there was a need to get highly personalized data. Since this study aims to explore students’ perceptions and experiences of the effectiveness of online learning comparing with traditional classroom, interviews were useful for getting the story behind a participant’s experiences.
I decided to prepare semi-structured interviews since they allowed me to gain in-depth data by asking open-ended questions. In addition, semi-structured interviews were the right research instrument, because I could ask additional questions to obtain more detailed answers from the participants.
As for the research sample, I used purposeful sampling. I chose the participants according to the criterion that students experienced both online and traditional learning, and could share their experiences about the effectiveness of online learning comparing with face-to-face classroom. Although, all my peers qualified for this criterion, it was difficult to find participants due to the fact that everybody was busy during the thesis seminar and the elective course. Fortunately, two of my group mates agreed to participate and contribute to my study. Finally, the participants signed the consent form, where the purpose of the study, time involvement, risks and benefits, participants’ rights and contact information were described.
While collecting data, I faced the following problems. Firstly, conducting interviews was time-consuming both for the participants and me. Secondly, as we are all not residents of Astana, it was challenging to find a place for interviews. To address these issues, all interviews were conducted after the classes in the apartment which I rent. Thirdly, I forgot my dictaphone at home, so I had to record the interviews in my mobile phone.
To conclude, interview is the most appropriate research instrument while conducting a qualitative research. Interview allows the researcher to get in-depth data about people’s perspectives, ideas and experiences. However, interview also has disadvantages such as time-consuming issue, complicated data analysis process and a threat that both researcher and participants may be biased due to personal reasons.