The paper 'The Application of Mobile Phones for Learning Purposes by University Students' is a worthy example of a research proposal on information technology.
Qualitative research refers to an in-depth and holistic investigation of phenomena by collecting rich narrative materials through the use of flexible research design. This type of study aims at providing in-depth insights as well as an understanding of real-world problems (Moser & Korstjens, 2017). There are various methods used to collect qualitative data, for example, ethnography and interviews (Warren & Karner, 2015). Ethnography is a qualitative research method that gathers documentary, interviews, and observation data to produce comprehensive accounts of social phenomena (Warren & Karner, 2015). In qualitative research, participant observation is very much important. The observer notes specific activities, the arrangement of people, and the movement of people as well as interactions of people in the society (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2011). There are various types of qualitative research design, namely case study, grounded theory, phenomenology, and ethnography research designs (Astalin, 2013). Technology has become a critical tool for facilitating learning in many institutions of higher learning. Many researchers have studied the use of mobile phones for educational purposes, mainly in Asia, and Europe. However, in North America, specifically in Canada, there is little research on the educational use of mobile phones in universities. In my study, I will investigate the appropriation of mobile phones for learning purposes by university students, a case study of Carleton University. The focus of this research paper is to justify my research design and describe various components of my research design, such as research topic, research question, approach, and method.
I choose a case study research design because it is appropriate for investigating the general context of mobile use and the individual experiences of the research participants. Case study research design is also effective in exploring causation to find underlying principles (Astalin, 2013). It is also suitable for the study because it will help me to collect factual data that I need to answer my research question.
Mobile use has dramatically changed the lives and relationships of people in the 21st century. In many universities, mobile phones have become very popular among students as they increase their social inclusion, connectedness, and sense of security (Kaya & Argan, 2015). Most of the previous studies have focused on the use of mobile phones in colleges (Kaya & Argan, 2015). My research topic will be a qualitative case study of the appropriation of mobile phones for learning purposes by university students, a case study of the University of Carleton.
I will achieve the purpose of this study by addressing the following research questions:
The approach for the study will be interpretive. I choose this approach because my focus is to understand subjective experiences instead of just observing facts. After collecting data, I will interpret it to have a better understanding of how and why students use mobile phones in the university.
One of the critical aspects of the study will be to look at the likelihood of the use of mobile phones by students to create as well as implement educational activities while interacting using these technologies. Therefore, I will use a mobile human-computer interaction (MHCI) theoretical perspective to approach my research topic. MHCI, as defined by Love (2005), refers to the study of how people and mobile computer systems interact as well as applications in day to day life. The mobile computer systems here refer to mobile phones whereas the applications refer to features and functions of a cell phone. One of the concepts that will guide the research topic is appropriation. Appropriation is integrated into mobile learning research from information system perspectives as well as social-cultural theories to find out the potential of adopting and shaping mobile technologies for learning purposes.
The purpose of this study will be descriptive. There exist pieces of literature on the use of cell phones by college students. However, little is known about how university students use mobile phones. The previous literature laid the groundwork for future research. This study will attempt to explore as well as explain while providing more information on about use of mobile phones by university students, specifically at the University of Carleton.
Method of Participant Observation
I will select the participants (university students using mobile phones) of the study using a purposive sampling method because this sampling method is effective in information-rich cases. I will collect data through classroom observations, semi-structured interviews, and questionnaires. Before administering questionnaires to my target research participants, I will send them a consent form which will have the following elements: purpose of this study, assurance that participation is voluntary, confidentiality, withdrawal from research, risks, potential benefits and description of the procedures to be followed in conducting the study, among other elements.
After collecting data, I will analyze data using narrative analysis method. This method takes into account the context of each case as well as the different experiences of each research participant.
The participants for my study will be male and female students at the University of Carleton. My target sample size is 200 male students and 200 female students.
I will collect data from the University of Carleton on weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm around the University during tea breaks, lunchtimes and after lectures. This study will take about 4 months.
Astalin, P. (2013). Qualitative Research Designs: A Conceptual Framework. International Journal of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research. Vol.2 (1). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/baa7/c8f5577b0b1798b5e9f559f5cbae32bf1a36.pdf
DeWalt, K. & DeWalt, B. (2011). Participant observation: a guide for fieldworkers. Lanham, Maryland: Altamira Press, a division of Rowman & Littlefield.
Kaya, S., & Argan, M. (2015). An exploratory qualitative study on mobile leisure (m-leisure): a case of mobile phone users in Turkey. Journal Of Internet Applications And Management, 6(1), 21-32. doi: 10.5505/iuyd.2015.47955
Love, S. (2005). Understanding mobile human-computer interaction. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Moser, A., & Korstjens, I. (2017). Series: Practical guidance to qualitative research. Part 1: Introduction. European Journal Of General Practice, 23(1), 271-273. doi: 10.1080/13814788.2017.1375093
Warren, C. & Karner, T. (2015). Discovering qualitative methods: ethnography, interviews, documents, and images. New York: Oxford University Press.