The themes discovered from the literature were often clear and easy to establish, and many texts reiterated similar topics and concepts. Whilst some distinct ‘ambivalence’ existed in perspective or interpretation by some of the researchers in the texts, this was in itself a point of interest for this research, as shed light on theme context and placement into the PBH (Problems and Benefits Hierarchy).
Establishing themes to build a picture of thinking and practice around uptake of technology in learning and teaching has proved a fairly functional and informative way to approach creating a basis by which a variety of additional data sources can be placed via a series of further structured combinations for comparison analysis. This then allows an attempt to draw some tentative conclusions around problems and benefits of the increase in technology uptake for learning and teaching.
Using the literature review to establish the key themes by which all other categories and topics were then adapted and aligned gave a clear system by which to accommodate all data, avoiding too much duplication or overlap, though some is always present, particularly in some themes. This is in the nature of the territory, and is therefore acknowledged as a challenge to interpretation and analysis in this pilot study.
Themes were therefore established, and a frequency table was drawn up by allocating a simple code to each text, noting mentions of any theme accordingly. This established the frequency of each theme occurrence across all literature in the review. An occurrence was regarded as some aspect of the text or paper being aligned or directly involved with the theme or themes.
In total, sixteen themes were established:
- INSTITUTION SUPPORT
- SOCIETAL CHANGES
- ICT SUPPORT (Provision)
- ELEARNING SUPPORT (Provision)
- SKILLS AND TRAINING (All aspects, Students & Staff)
- COST (All aspects)
- DEPENDENCIES (Infrastructure & Systems)
- DIGITAL DIVIDE (Inc Device Divides)
- PEDAGOGY / LEARNING DESIGN
- STUDENT CENTRED LEARNING
- LEARNING QUALITY
- CONVENIENCE / WORK LIFE BALANCE
- SHARED RESOURCES (All aspects)
- ASSUMPTIONS (idealism)
- > Click this link for Theme table with literature code allocation and frequency totals
- > Click this link for Theme Frequency totals piechart
Of the sixteen themes most often occurring in the literature, the top six most frequently appearing were Institutional Support, Societal Changes, Pedagogy/Learning Design, Student Centred Learning, Learning Quality and Convenience/WorkLife Balance.
|Theme in Literature||Number of occurrences||Percentage of occurrences|
|INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT||9 occurrences||8%|
|SOCIETAL CHANGES||12 occurrences||10.6%|
|PEDAGOGY / LEARNING DESIGN||13 occurrences||11.5%|
|STUDENT CENTRED LEARNING||12 occurrences||10.6%|
|LEARNING QUALITY||13 occurrences||11.5%|
|CONVENIENCE / WORK LIFE BALANCE||9 occurrences||8%|
Table 1 showing frequency of top six literature themes
Themes were divided into problems, benefits, according to information from the literature review (predominantly being seen as either causing problems or benefits). Most themes were either one or the other, but a minority of themes were both problems and benefits. The placing of the theme as either a problem or a benefit was significant as would be further interpreted by data derived from the stakeholder research groups.
|Theme in Literature||Problem or Benefit (literature setting)|
|PEDAGOGY / LEARNING DESIGN||Benefits|
|STUDENT CENTRED LEARNING||Problems and Benefits|
|LEARNING QUALITY||Problems and Benefits|
|CONVENIENCE / WORK LIFE BALANCE||Benefits|
Table 2 showing problem or benefit setting of literature theme
These themes then indicated that a further level of analysis was required, that of context. By establishing not only the type and frequency but also the context of a theme’s occurrence in the literature, one might be able to establish its place in the Problems and Benefits Hierarchy more accurately. The fact that the PBH required some level of interpretation as to ‘real’, ‘imagined’, ‘intermittent’, ‘persistent’ and ‘legacy’ led to a further set of contextual categories being developed in order to give informative setting to the PBH placing. These categories sought to shed further light on how a theme occurrence had appeared in terms of what had led to it’s appearance. The contextual categories fell into four broad areas, with categories in each area. Aligning them with the PBH factors created a system of measurement of context. Categories could therefore estimate levels of ‘realness’ or ‘persistence’, for example, by looking at theme context in this way.
An interpretivist approach was used to create the context categories, as once data is seen – in this case the content of the research papers – it becomes clearer how estimations of context of themes might be measured. It appeared from the literature that using the category terms listed here would most accurately capture the type of context being dealt with. Whilst not a robust set of terms, it may be that this is in itself a finding of the research, in that an explicit set of reliable terms can be applied for the interpretation of context of research data such as being analysed here.
These context categories were then assigned to theme occurrences for each source (though not individual ‘macro’ occurrences), using a simple scale of terms, in order to indicate their consequent PBH factor. See below for terms used and consequent PBH factor, and for table containing all occurrences with their contextual category allocations.
|Contextual Scope||Types of context in scope (examples)||Description||PBH Factor|
|CONJECTURE, SPECULATION, ASSUMPTION||PA – Personal Assumption||statement from a personal or individual standpoint with no evidence or expertise present||[PBH:Imagined]|
|DC – Data Conjecture||statement being attributed to data which is not adequately evidenced|
|HS – Hearsay||statement attributed to ‘everyone’ or similar, which is only assumption|
|CONTEXT ASSOCIATION, STRENGTH AND FREQUENCY
||IAL – Contextual interpretation/association low strength & frequency||occurrence measurement of theme in research – low||[PBH:Intermittent]|
|IAH – Contextual interpretation/association high strength & frequency||occurrence measurement of theme in research – high||[PBH:Persistent]|
|EVIDENCE AND EXPERTISE||EK – Expert Knowledge||statement made from deduction or logic using expert knowledge, but not directly connected to research evidence||[PBH:Real]|
|RE – Research Evidence||statement made as a result of research evidence [PBH:Real]|
|SYSTEMS, CHANGE, THE PAST||P&C – Refers to the past or need for change||statement about the past, or requirement for change in systems or central strategies, policies or provision||[PBH:Legacy]|
Table 3 showing key to terms for literature theme contextual categories and PBH allocation
- > Click this link for Contextual Category Allocation Table – this shows how the sources were allocated contextual codes to place them into this system of ranking.
- > Click this link for Contextual Categories to PBH for top 6 themes
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