Since I started my studies on Master’s Program I understood that my future would be connected with research, but it was difficult if not impossible to predict the procedure of becoming a researcher. Thus, my mini-thesis is the first step that will empower me and give an insight into issues of this area. From the very beginning of my studies I realized that the most challenging area of research would be a literature review section, and never thought of further steps.
I must admit that data collection was the most exciting and enjoyable experience. Firstly, I found it very useful to design questions appropriate to my study and leading to answer the main research question. Thus, I understood that framing questions is the crucial step and it is always in process of being revisited and improved. As a result reading literature helped me to make questions clearer and focused on certain areas of online learning. This experience gave me an opportunity to evaluate the importance of literature review as before I could not understand why we needed to know what other researchers had done.
Secondly, choosing participants was not difficult as the criteria for them were set when working on previous sections. During semi-structured interviews participants were open to discuss any issues of their personal experience; moreover, they felt appreciated. Surely, it was only after building trust with participants by discussing the purpose of the study, the confidentiality and anonymity issues. Also as our professor suggested I tried to emphasize that their answers were very important to me and all the questions included the words like “in your opinion”, “what do You think” and etc. This made it clear that interview was not a test of checking their understanding of some concepts, but their opinions were valuable.
Thirdly, when collecting data different ways of taking notes and recording responses were tested. I wanted to be prepared for any circumstances that will be in future research life. Therefore, one interview was recorded and then transcribed, but for another I took notes. As for me both ways have pros and cons. In the first case I did not like transcribing as it took much time, but for sure it gave more details, as for second interview I liked the idea of writing key words, at the same time I was afraid of being biased and taking notes of those ideas that were important for me.
Overall, this fall session is a significant starting point for our actual data collection of Master’s Thesis. I have understood the main challenges and opportunities of the chosen research design and data collection instruments. I am looking forward to collecting data and making contribution to chosen area of research.