The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education

Issues in E-Research: Log In/Out Virtual Fields

Shesha Kanta PANGENI

Evolution of technology and its tremendous use in education has changed the ways of educational services in higher education around the world. There is worldwide access to higher education through virtual learning environments. This is a new avenue for 21st century education and within a short time, it has been able to establish new culture of learning i.e. e-learning or online learning. As a result, e-learning has been the greater field for educational research. In this context, this paper focuses on methodological issues of the Internet mediated research (e-Research) with particular focus on virtual fields. Paper explores and discusses on possible sources of data, methods of data collection, process of analysis and ethical issues to adopt research with virtual fields. In doing so, the purpose is to reveal answer to the question: how do e-Researchers deal with methodological issues related to collecting data, determining data sources, data analysis/interpretation, and ethical considerations? Paper presents examples from the Internet mediated empirical studies. Conclusion of the paper is that e-field or cyberspace is an avenue for modern researchers. Researchers are supported with various Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools for field access, data collection, analysis and interpretation. However, they need to pay full attention to deal with major issues such as locating and gaining access to virtual/Internet-mediated fields, selecting e-participants and working with them, and using varieties of ICT tools for data collection, analysis and interpretation.

KEYWORDS: e-Research, virtual field, e-participant, e-data collection, cyber ethics.

DOI : 10.17718/tojde.328946