Exploring online research methods - Incorporating TRI-ORM

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Open/close headingIntroduction to this page

This page provides practical information on how to use this website. It contains the following information:

  • An overview of the site conventions and navigational features used within the site;
  • Information on the contents of the Self-study section of the site;
  • Guidance on how to use the Self-study section and possibilities for how different users may wish to access the contents;
  • A description of some of the site functionalities designed to increase usability, including the use of headers which can be opened and closed to reveal the contents, a 'personal references list', and a range of learning activities;
  • A description of the technologies used to create these functionalities and of the alternatives for users who are unable to access them;
  • Instructions on how to take advantage of the accessibility features of the site, including the use of access keys.

 

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Open/close headingSite conventions

Open/close headingNavigation

There are a number of navigation options which remain consistent throughout the site:

Open/close headingHeader links

At the top of each page, there are links to the main sections of the site and to the home page. There are also links to tools for accessing content (the search page, the site map and the self-study index pages).

 

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Open/close headingFooter links

At the bottom of each page, there are also the following links:

Link Description
About this website Technical information about the site, including standards compliance and accessibility statements. It also contains information about the types of browsers and computers the site has been designed for, alongside the third-party plug-ins used. There are also links to browser and plug-in software for those who wish to download them.
Disclaimer Legal statement about the information and external links included in the site.
Copyright Permissions and restrictions on the use of the contents of the site, as well as information about linking to the website and third-party copyright.
Citation policy Information on how to cite the materials within the site when incorporated into educational assignments or used in training courses.

Contact us Links to information on how to contact the team.

 

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Open/close headingBreadcrumb links

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Open/close headingMain menu

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Open/close headingSite styles

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Open/close headingInformation

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Open/close headingLearning activity instructions

[?] Instructions on how to carry out learning activities are shown in this style and preceded by a question mark icon ([?]).

These instructions are also found within the style used to mark learning activities.

 

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Open/close headingExamples

 

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Open/close headingLearning activities

Learning activities are placed within this style.

 

 

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Example glossary link

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Example full reference link

Where pages are presented in sequence, there are also navigation links at the bottom of the page as follows:

This style is also used to highlight links within the personal reference list. See the 'site functionalities' section below.

 

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Open/close headingExternal links

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Open/close heading'Mail to' links

Mail to link are preceded by this icon: [M]

Depending on your browser settings, selecting these links will automatically open your email software with the 'To' line completed. Wherever mailto links are used, the full email address is also given for users whose systems are not set to use these links.

 

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Open/close headingOpen/close headings

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Open/close headingExample heading

 

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When a heading is opened, the arrow will point downwards, and when it is closed again, it will point upwards. Wherever these headings are used, a button to open or close all the headings in the page appears beneath the main menu box to the left of the page.

 

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Open/close headingSelf-study module contents

Each module contains reading materials and learning activities designed to allow you to follow the training package as a course, or to locate and work on specific areas independently of the whole.

For each module, the following content is included:

  1. Aims and learning outcomes
  2. Frequently asked questions
  3. Glossary of key terms
  4. Print version available in a range of common formats
  5. References: A list of the resources cited in each module
  6. Further resources: References and external links to relevant books, journals, websites and organisations.

The main content of each module is as follows:

Open/close headingOnline questionnaires (Clare Madge with Jane Wellens and Rob Shaw)

  1. Introduction: Appropriate use of online questionnaires
  2. Advantages and disadvantages
  3. Types of online questionnaires
  4. Sampling issues
  5. Design issues 1: Appearance
  6. Design issues 2: Content
  7. Implementation: Piloting, evaluation and analysis

 

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Open/close headingOnline interviews (Henrietta O'Connor with Rob Shaw)

  1. Introduction: Appropriate use of online interviews
  2. Advantages and disadvantages
  3. Types of online interviews
  4. Sampling issues
  5. Design issues
  6. Technical guide

 

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Open/close headingEthics (Clare Madge)

  1. Introduction: ethical guidelines for online research
  2. Informed consent including withdrawal and deception
  3. Confidentiality issues including data security and subject anonymity
  4. Privacy including the public/private debate
  5. Debriefing and feedback procedures
  6. Netiquette including flaming and online harassment
  7. Practical issues including online libel, spam, viruses and copyright issues
  8. International inequalities
  9. Online power inequalities

 

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Open/close headingTechnical guide: Online questionnaires (Rob Shaw)

  1. Introduction to online questionnaire production: Overview and options
  2. Choosing software for online questionnaire production
  3. Using software for online questionnaire production
  4. Diagnostic test of technical knowledge and skills
  5. Introduction to HTML 1
  6. Introduction to HTML 2
  7. Introduction to CSS
  8. Web forms
  9. Introduction to JavaScript
  10. Form validation
  11. Key design issues
  12. Gathering information about participants
  13. Server-side processing

 

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Throughout the self-study modules, we have also included a series of case studies and examples illustrating some of the key issues in the use of online methods in practice, as follows:

Open/close headingCase studies and examples

Open/close headingOnline questionnaires

Name (Institution) Project title Relevant issues
Martin Bruder (University of Cardiff). Study on Imagination.

Design of welcome screens for online questionnaires.
Neil Coulson and Rebecca Knibb (University of Derby). How an Online Support Network Affects the Experience of Living with a Food Allergy.

Recruitment for online questionnaires through soliciting visitors to web sites.
Claire Hewson (University of Bolton). Empirical Evidence Regarding the Folk Psychological Concept of Belief.

Sampling; Recruitment; Identity verification; Response rates.
Nicola Illingworth (University of Stirling). Women's experiences of infertility. Recruitment for online questionnaires through transmitting appeals to mailing lists.
Clare Madge and Henrietta O' Connor (University of Leicester). The 'Cyberparents' Research Project. Sampling; Recruitment; Identity verification; Incentives.
Constantine Sedikides (University of Southampton); Alison Lenton (University of Edinburgh) A range of studies carried out through the 'Social Psychology Web-lab'.

Piloting,
Design of evaluation questionnaires in pilot studies.
Michael Solem and Waverly Ray (Association of American Geographers) Internationalizing Geography in Higher Education.

Recruitment for online questionnaires through emailing list based samples
Tim Vorley (University of Leicester). A Critical Geography of UK Biotechnology.

Sampling; Recruitment; Identity verification; Incentives.

 

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Open/close headingOnline interviews

Name (Institution) Project title Relevant issues
Nalita James (University of Leicester). Teacher Professionalism, Teacher Identity. How do I See Myself?

Sampling; Recruitment; Interview format; Identity verification.
Joëlle Kivits (University of Leicester). Health information on the internet: Researching information seekers and practices in a mediated health context

Sampling; Recruitment, Interview format; Identity verification.
Clare Madge and Henrietta O' Connor (University of Leicester). The 'Cyberparents' Research Project.

Synchronous online interviews.
Clare Madge and Henrietta O' Connor (University of Leicester). The 'Cyberparents' Research Project.

Designing the interview script; Prepared text to start an interview.

 

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Open/close headingEthics

Name (Institution) Project title Relevant issues
James Barker (Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth). Privacy and thirdspace in the research of gay online communities.

Privacy issues.
Penny Cholmondeley (University of Alberta). Evaluating the 'WISEST (Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology)' Resource Network.

Good practice in gaining consent.
Claire Mercer (University of Leicester). Social Exclusion and the internet in Tanzania.

Online inequalities; The 'digital divide'.
Jenny Pickerill (University of Leicester). Participatory research and internet activism.

Debriefing; feedback.

 

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Open/close headingTechnical guide: Online questionnaires

Name (Institution) Project title Relevant issues
Martin Bruder (University of Cardiff). Study on Imagination. Implementing online questionnaires (Self-produced questionnaires).
Nicky Shaw (Leeds University Business School).
Work-life balance.

Implementing online questionnaires through institutional systems.
Michael Solem and Waverly Ray (Association of American Geographers) Internationalizing Geography in Higher Education.

Implementing online questionnaires through institutional systems.
Tim Vorley (University of Leicester). A Critical Geography of UK Biotechnology.

Implementing online questionnaires through institutional systems.

 

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A direct link to these pages can be found in the 'Resources for tutors' section of the site.

 

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Open/close headingHow to use the self-study modules

The content of each module is arranged in a sequential order and it can be navigated by following the [Back] and [Next] links at the bottom of each page. Alternatively, you can choose from the links in the contents page at the beginning of each module or use the main menu links on the left-hand side to navigate directly to pages of interest.

Three tools are also also included to allow you to access the module contents in different ways. Links to these tools are provided at the top of each page.

  1. An overview of all the module contents can be seen at any time by navigating to the 'Site map'.
  2. For those looking for specific information within the self-study materials, the 'Self-study index' can also be used to allow you to browse contents organised into an alphabetical list. This also contains direct links to all the case studies and learning activities. If you use this route, you are recommended to familiarise yourself with the structure and navigation of the self-study areas of the site (including the 'open/close headings' and the 'personal references list') to avoid possible confusion.
  3. It is also possible to carry out a search for the information using the 'Search' link.

Frequently-asked questions are also available in each module.

 

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Open/close headingSite functionalities

To enhance the usability of the site, the following technologies have been used:

JavaScript coding, pop-up windows, Macromedia Flash movies, Adobe Acrobat-produced PDF files.

In every case, the aim has been to ensure that this does not reduce accessibility and alternatives are provided to ensure that the same information or activity is available to users without these technologies.

The following table shows how these technologies have been used and provides an indication of how to use the alternatives that are available.

Functionality Technology required Alternative
Open/close headings (found throughout the site) JavaScript enabled browser, version 5 or above (IE and Netscape Navigator/Mozilla browser)

All headings are automatically opened so that all information is accessible. The open/close links remain but have no effect. Tailor-made instructions are provided to users with no JavaScript or users of older browsers.

Personal references list (found when there are references in the text) JavaScript enabled browser. Pop-up window enabled.

For users with no JavaScript, the full references can be displayed by navigating to the 'references' sections. Tailor-made instructions are provided. Those with disabled pop-up windows will also need to navigate to the 'references' page within each module to find the full reference within alphabetic lists.

Learning activities produced in Flash. (also the Flash-based Intro page and home page) Flash player plug-in enabled browser running Flash player version 6 or above (this version has accessibility features).

All flash movies include accessibility information. Where the accessibility of the movie in doubt or for activities which are dependent on drag and drop interactions, text-based alternatives are provided.

Print versions of modules produced via Adobe Acrobat Adobe Acrobat viewer plug-in enabled browser

For users without the Adobe Acrobat plug-in, print versions are also provided in HTML and Rich-Text Format.

Learning activities produced with JavaScript. JavaScript enabled browser. In many cases, this will also need to be pop-up window enabled.

All JavaScript actions that occur through clicking a mouse can also be triggered via a keyboard or alternative.

For users with no JavaScript, text alternatives are provided in 'noscript' tags with tailor-made instructions. Those who do not wish to enable pop-up windows will need to temporarily disable JavaScript to see these alternatives.

The 'About this website' page offers links to browser and plug-in software for those who wish to download them.

 

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Open/close headingHow to use the accessibility features

Open/close headingChanging the look of the website

If you would like to change how the website looks to, for example, create a display with greater visibility, there are a number of options. It is possible to change the font size of the site because all text is sized using relative sizing. Because Cascading Style Sheets are the only means of adding design features used by the site, it is possible to override the colour and layout by changing the browsers settings or applying your own Style Sheet. A guide to making changes in different browsers is available from the following link:

[External Link - opens in a new window] http://jarmin.com/ demos/access/ control.html

 

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Open/close headingSkipping repetitive content

If you are using screen-reading technology to access the site, it is easy to skip content using the 'hidden' links which appear on every page. The first of these is a 'Skip to main contents' link which allows you to pass over the navigation to the main content of pages. The second link 'Skip main instructions' allows you pass over the instructions for using the open/close headings and the personal references list which appear whenever a page uses these features.

 

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Open/close headingNavigating using access keys

If you are using a recent version of the most popular browsers, you are likely to be able to take advantage of keyboard access keys allowing you to navigate directly to different sections of the site via the keyboard.

The following access keys are in use on every page of the site:

0 = Access key information

1 = Home

2 = Skip to main contents

3 = Search

4 = Site map

5 = Module index

6 = About the website

7 = Contact us

i = Introduction

m = Modules

r = Resources

p = Project background

They are used by pressing them together with the 'Alt' key on your keyboard ('CMD' on the Macintosh).

This will immediately load the page in most browsers, but in Internet Explorer the link is only selected and you will need to press [Return] or [Enter] on your keyboard to activate it.

Note: Access key only works in the following browser versions (Internet Explorer 5+, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape 6+, Opera 5+). See the 'About this website' page for browser information and links to downloads if necessary.

 

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