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iPad Research Study Methodology

Study Methodology

Faculty Participants

During each term of the iPad study, participating faculty members teach two sections of the same course. Pepperdine provided students in one section with iPads while the other section used various computing devices. Both sections maintain equal access to Courses (powered by Sakai) and iTunes U.

View Documents and Forms

Data Collection

Throughout each term data was collected via the following channels:

  • Pre-term technology use survey. This survey helps to ensure that students in the iPad and non-iPad sections were comparable in terms of technology use, age, etc.
  • Classroom observations. During each observation, two research team members observe the same class, taking note of the following:
  • The use of the iPad/laptop/mobile devices by students
  • The structure of class time and teaching style
  • Students' activities during class
  • Group learning activities
  • The use of technology as it pertained to a specific style of teaching and course content
  • Classroom environment during lecture and group learning activities
  • Focus groups with students. During focus group sessions, an iPad research team member spoke to students about their use of technology and/or the iPad in their courses.
  • Post-term technology use survey. All students in iPad and non-iPad sections took this survey.
  • Post-term interview with participating faculty member.
  • Collection of grades. Grades were collected for selected assignments/activities from iPad and non-iPad courses.

This study has approval from Pepperdine University's Institutional Research Board.

Example Study Time Line

Spring/Summer 2010

  • Announced iPad Research Study to campus community
  • Invited Pepperdine faculty members to apply to participate in the study
  • Selected faculty members to participate and began to work with them to select iPad apps for their courses
  • Developed administrative materials: institutional research board documents, loaner agreement documents, pre-term technology use survey.

September 2010

  • Presented study to students in iPad and non-iPad sections, all students signed research waiver agreement and took technology use survey
  • Distributed iPads to students in iPad sections
  • Addressed iPad use issues for faculty and students
  • Prepared template for classroom observations
  • Scheduled classroom observations and student focus groups for all iPad and non-iPad sections

October/November 2010

  • Distributed all signed research waivers and loaner agreements back to students
  • Conducted classroom observations
  • Conducted focus groups with students
  • Developed post-term technology use survey for students
  • Prepared for iPad collection in December
  • Selected faculty to participate in iPad study in spring 2011 term

December 2010

  • Administered post-term technology use survey to all students
  • Collected iPads from students, assess, and bill for damages according to agreement
  • Selected faculty participants for spring 2011 term
  • Began working with spring 2011 term faculty participants to select iPad apps for their courses
  • Revised iPad loaner agreements for spring 2011

January 2011

  • Repeated tasks from September 2010.
  • Began to analyze data collected during fall 2010 term.
  • Interviewed fall 2010 term faculty participants about their experience teaching with the iPad