3.0 Methodology3.1 IntroductionThe methodology used in any research determines the accuracy of results attained. In this case where investigation involves collecting views on distance learning education from Saudi females, qualitative data was important. The data collected was based on feminine theory and it involved seven participants. Two of the participants were female lecturers taking students through distance learning while the other three were female students pursuing distance learning. As explained in details below, a semi-structured interview was applied in collecting qualitative data from the participants and data recording done using an mp3 recorder.
These information was later used to fill in the semi-structured interview schedule. Since the collected data was in Arabic, the researcher translated it to English for the purpose of analysis and interpretation. Though distance learning has been embraced among the Saudi population, girls and women still face certain barriers in its accessibility. The applied research design was phenomenology research design. This was based on the fact that the researcher intended to interpret the challenges affecting female students under distance learning programs in Saudi Arabia from their perception. In this regard, the researcher relied on information provided by the participants.
Data explicitation was then done instead of analysis to ensure that the contents of the interview were presented as a whole or without losing any data. These was achieved through development of themes and recording of each interview as a single case study. Lastly, emerging general and unique themes were brought together. This chapter presents the type of data collected, data collection, recording and analysis methods and procedures adhered to and the process applied in developing relevant themes.
The participant’s selection criteria is also explained in details. 3.2. Qualitative Approach to ResearchAccording to Tewksbury (2009), qualitative research approaches provide a deeper understanding on social issues under investigation as compared to statistical analysis. data collected through qualitative methods therefore offers a better and enhanced understanding of the issues since information collected is richer and more informative. In this research, the issue under investigation is a social issue. The researcher’s aim was to identify and explain the views, opinions and experiences of participants in distance learning. This clearly indicates that statistical information was not of any use and as a result, qualitative research approach was found to be the most appropriate.
The researcher needed an approach whose primary value would be to bring a clear and complete understanding of experiences by Saudi females in distance learning programs and the challenges they experience in pursuing further education. She intended to find out whether participants were actually satisfied. As such, the only applicable approach was qualitative research approach. Tewksbury (2009) stipulates that the greatest advantage of qualitative research approaches lies in its ability to predict the future.
There are different methods applicable in collecting qualitative data. For this research, the most appropriate was found to be face to face interviews. This is because the researcher intended to find out the views and experiences of the participants with regard to distance learning. The major advantage of conducting face to face interviews is that the research gets to learn what the participants know, how they see things and an explanation of the knowledge held (Bruce, 2007). According to Kvale, interviews offer researchers an opportunity to understand the real meaning of what the interviewee says (Kvale, 2009).
This is because participants are given an opportunity to present their views, perceptions and beliefs regarding the issue under investigation. Radnor (2002) further explains that research interviews are like a conversation between two people instigated by the interviewer for the sole rationale of gaining access to information that is relevant to the research (Radnor, 2002). The researcher is in a position to guide participants in answering the questions thereby ensuring that only relevant data is provided.
As such, they were the most appropriate for the researcher as she had only 30 minutes to collect information from each participant.