Using Action Research to Investigate Social Networking Technologies

June 21, 2013

This article outlines the first cycle of an Action Research (AR) investigation into why professional learners are not using the Social Networking Technologies (SNTs) of their bespoke website. It presents the rationale of how this study came
about, the ontological and epistemological stance of the authors and how this led to the particular choice of contextual based AR enquiry. This article includes reference to some of the most salient literature on AR and discusses the ethical and practical constraints that surround this type of research. The first cycle of AR findings are presented and identify a number of key areas where the website is failing; including a lack of speed in responding to learner queries, negative user perceptions of not ‘owning’ the website, a lack of synchronous private chat rooms, user time constraints, negative user experiences of not being online simultaneously and of a broader failure in unifying school and university websites to promote wider social networking opportunities. In response to these findings, this article puts forward a table which includes an identification of the issues and themes, the methods utilised and how the findings were derived, reflections upon what they indicate, and an action strategy for implementation alongside questions for future research. This article
concludes by stating that the action plan will be implemented and assessed in the next cycle of AR which is viewed by the authors as being part of a contextually valid, lifelong AR spiral process.

The Electronic Journal of e-Learning

Full Article