Towards Supporting Academic Authors, Researchers, and PhD Students in Higher Education

Towards Supporting Academic Authors, Researchers, and PhD Students in Higher Education

Eileen O'Donnell (Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland) and Liam O'Donnell (Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7730-0.ch006

Abstract

Academic authors, researchers, PhD, Doctoral, and Master's students, write articles for journals, books, book chapters for inclusion in edited books, papers for conferences and conference proceedings, and so forth as a method of communicating and sharing scholarly research findings. This chapter reviews the supports necessary to learn how to effectively undertake research and successfully publish the findings. These supports could satisfactorily be provided through an e-learning portal or an e-learning platform. An e-learning module could be used to facilitate collaboration amongst staff, researchers, PhD, and post graduate students, who share similar research interests. Staff and students should be encouraged to develop a community of practice with fellow researchers as this relationship could provide beneficial peer support for as long as their research interests evolve and endure.
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Introduction

Academics, librarians, researchers, PhD and doctoral candidates, master and undergraduate students, may at some stage of their career write up and report scholarly research findings for publication. The PhD researchers’ journey can be an emotionally rocky road (Skakni & McAlpine, 2017). This chapter proposes providing supports to guide and assist in this complicated process, by investigating some of the issues which researchers encounter when performing their research and suggests that an e-learning module would assist researchers in overcoming these issues, “with the worldwide spread of journals in educational research, such technology-enhanced research has received much attention since the turn of the century” (Hwang & Tsai, 2011, p. 65). For the purpose of this chapter, the term researchers is going to include all members of staff and the student body who are actively involved in conducting research, academic authoring, publishing findings and building up research profiles.

A Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) or an e-learning module on research methods and statistical analysis is envisaged not as a replacement for existing structures to assist researchers, but as an enhancing technological solution to augment existing approaches through blended learning. Technology has enhanced research through the ease of access to electronic journals and other citable electronic media. The use of word processing applications and referencing packages has made the writing up of research findings more efficient. The use of statistical analysis applications, spreadsheets, and database packages, has streamlined the process of analysing data, and the production of graphs and charts to illustrate the findings. The use of graphs and charts has greatly improved the readability and understanding of research outcomes. Communications between co-authors, editors and publishers through e-mail has greatly improved the flow and process of publishing academic research. Online submission of electronic papers has further enhanced the publishing process.

Technology enhanced learning (TEL) refers to the support of teaching and learning through the use of technology and can be used synonymously with e-learning. Technology enhanced research has the possibility of supporting researchers and perhaps improving the quality of research. An e-learning module is stored in a predefined location on an e-learning platform and is dedicated to a particular subject area. Students are provided with user names and passwords to access and contribute to this module. Because the e-learning module is online students can access this module at any time from any place providing they have the appropriate computer equipment and broadband access.

While collaborating on papers and writing chapters of books, realisation dawned that a greater knowledge and use of research methods and statistical analysis was necessary to improve the quality of research and meet the requirements of peer reviewers. “Improving the quality of the student learning experience is a key issue in the higher education sector” (Dermo, 2009, p. 203). Power, Miles, Peruzzi, and Voerman (2011), and Parkinson (2009), suggest students can benefit from peer-to-peer mentoring in higher education. Hence, this book chapter proposes that an e-learning module on research methods and statistical analysis which encourages peer-to-peer mentoring could effectively support students and researchers and encourage peer-to-peer mentoring.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Learning Module: Stored in a predefined location on an e-learning platform and is dedicated to a particular subject area. Students are provided with user names and passwords to access and contribute to this module. Because the e-learning module is online, students can access this module at any time from any place, providing they have the appropriate computer equipment and broadband access.

Quantitative Analysis: The use of techniques including ratios to analyze numerical data which represent measurable characteristics in order to make sense of available information.

Community Of Practice: Formed when a group of people are drawn together through shared interests or goals.

Technology-Enhanced Research: Technology-enhanced research has the possibility of supporting researchers through the use of technology and perhaps improving the quality of research.

Online collaboration: People working together online to achieve a shared goal.

Asynchronous Discussion: Refers to discussions which do not take place in real time. Each subscriber has the opportunity to research and present their opinion to a discussion board for peers to review at some later time. Asynchronous discussions enable subscribers to plan, research, structure, and reflect on their submission before they submit it to the forum for peers to review.

Blended Learning: Occurs when electronic learning resources are used to augment/enhance traditional teaching methods.

Academic Authors: Academics who write articles for journals, books, book chapters for inclusion in edited books, papers for conferences and conference proceedings, and so forth, as a method of communicating and sharing scholarly research findings.

Qualitative Analysis: Qualitative methods facilitate the use of open ended questions which enable participants to give their views and opinions on issues without any influence from the researcher.

Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL): Technology-e enhanced learning (TEL) refers to the support of teaching and learning through the use of technology and can be used synonymously with e-learning.

Mixed Methods: A mixed methods research design approach incorporates elements of both qualitative and quantitative analysis to gather different kinds of data for analysis relating to the same phenomenon to improve understanding.

E-Learning: Various forms of teaching and learning which are facilitated through the use of technology.

Synchronous Discussion: Synchronous discussions refer to discussions which take place in real time. Subscribers respond to other subscribers’ suggestions and comments without the opportunity to plan, research, structure, and reflect upon their submission to the forum.

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