Naturalistic inquiry in e-learning research

Shirley Agostinho

Abstract


In this article, the author explains how and why one particular qualitative research approach, the naturalistic inquiry paradigm, was implemented in an e-learning research study that investigated the use of the World Wide Web technology in higher education. A framework is presented that situates the research study within the qualitative research literature. The author then justifies how the study was compliant with naturalistic inquiry and concludes by presenting a model for judging the quality of such research. The purpose of this article is to provide an example of how naturalistic inquiry can be implemented in e-learning research that can serve as a guide for researchers undertaking this form of qualitative inquiry. As such, the focus of the article is to illustrate how methodological issues pertaining to naturalistic inquiry were addressed and justified to represent a rigorous research approach rather than presenting the results of the research study.

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