Evaluation of student facing web-based services: Studyit (CORE Education)

Publication Details

The document provides a final service report on the Studyit website as part of a larger evaluation of web-based learning services for children and young people in New Zealand. The report is complemented by similar reports relating to the AnyQuestions and WickED websites.

Author(s): Ann Trewern and Derek Wenmoth, CORE Education Limited.

Date Published: August 2008

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Section 2: Research Approach

The qualitative data for this research was gathered during the months of June and July 2005, which was the first year of operation of the Studyit website. The data comprises three key elements that includes analysis of the text-based forum discussions, interviews of students and interviews of mentors.

1. Transcript analysis

Questions or requests for help or information submitted to the asynchronous forums by students and the responses provided by mentors are fully archived and remain viewable on the Studyit website. A transcript is a single message if it stands alone or a thread of messages if replies are involved.

Transcripts were selected and analysed as follows,

  • A sampling process was utilised. Fifty transcripts were selected from each of the three forums on the site using a random number selection process. A total of 150 transcripts were analysed and these comprised:
    • 50 science forum transcripts
    • 50 maths forum transcripts
    • 50 "other" forum transcripts
  • A specially designed framework was used for the analysis. This is explained through this research report.
  • At the time this research was undertaken the English area had not been established.

2. Student interviews

  • Fifteen invitations were sent to students to participate – ensuring a range of levels of participation (emails were supplied by the Studyit coordinator at CWA from the records they held of online participation.) Of these 5 invitations "bounced" – (invalid emails)
  • A second batch of emails was sent and only 2 responses were received. One respondent declined because he didn't want his parents to know about him being online with this site.
  • After discussion with David Stuart (from the Ministry of Education research division) the research team agreed to look at alternative approaches regarding the use of focus group interviews. Three group interviews took place in schools in Auckland (1) and in Christchurch (2) involving a total of 15 students.

3. Mentor teacher interviews

  • Interviews were completed by email questionnaire and phone calls. Five mentor teachers were interviewed.
Special Note

Quotes used in this report are presented in shaded panels referred to as Tables. These have been left unedited, except where portions have been deleted or identifying detail (eg names) substituted. Where this has occurred the substitution is contained within square brackets, or the deletion noted with' …' The aliases of mentor teachers and individual student nom-de-plumes have been retained in some cases as they provide the reader with some of the flavour of the interactions. In other cases student aliases have been substituted with 'student A' or 'student B' etc