Quantitative Research Summary 1 John Z. Doe September 5, 2007 EDST 750

Quantitative Research Summary 1
John Z. Doe
September 5, 2007
EDST 750
Topic: Use of computer technology in the classroom
Li, Q. (2002). Gender and computer-mediated communication: An exploration of
elementary students’ mathematics and science learning. Journal of Computers in
Mathematics and Science Teaching, 21(4), 341-359.
The primary focus of this study was to analyze the gender differences in
communication patterns used by elementary students, while learning mathematics and
science using computer-mediated communication (CMC). The secondary focus of the
study was to examine student interaction related to gender differences, while using CMC
to learn mathematics and science. The researchers wanted to assess the roll of CMC’s
effects on the educational gender gap between females and males in a collaborative
learning environment by evaluating messages created by students for length, generation,
and the use of five language functions. Earlier research has revealed the advancements in
CMC in creating a powerful learning tool for students, motivating students who have
trouble adapting to learning in a traditional school setting, and assisting in the reduction
of student gender gaps. The researchers want to determine the types of communication
and interaction differences between student genders created by CMC.
Research Questions
The researcher’s of this study developed four questions to guide their experiment.
The first was to determine whether male and female students differ in their use of five
language functions in their messages. The second was to determine whether male and
female students differ in their use of the five language functions in their initial message.
These first two questions will be answered using analyzed data related to the five
language functions. The third was to determine whether male and female student
messages differ in terms of the length. The fourth was to determine whether male and
female student messages differ in terms of the generation value. The third and fourth
questions will be answered using data on message generation and length.
The population of this study consisted of twenty-two students, eleven female and
eleven male, from a Toronto, Ontario sixth-grade inner city elementary school. Each
subject was a participant in the 1999-2000 “Knowledge Forum Knowledge Building
Community Project”.
The data used for this study encompassed every electronic message from the
populations mathematics and science courses. The Knowledge Forum Knowledge
Building Community Project team recorded and provided all the data for analysis in
electronic form.
Each individual message from the data was analyzed for generation and the five
language functions – asking information, giving information, making suggestions,
presenting opinion, and expressing disbeliefs. The messages where marked according to
whether the messages were independent or interactive, then assigned a generation value
as defined by Henri*. The messages then where marked according their association with
the five language functions. Each message having at least one sentence containing a
match to one of the five language functions were marked as that language function. If a
message contains the same language function multiple times that message is marked as
that specific language function. If a message contains multiple language functions each
language function used was marked.
Each message was also measured for length by using T-units. This study states
that a T-unit is defined as a main clause plus what ever subordinate clauses happen to be
attached or embedded within it. A clause is defined by this study as one subject or one
set of coordinate subject with one finite verb or one finite set of coordinate verbs with
one finite verb or one finite set of coordinated verbs.
Research questions number 1 and 2 were answered by using descriptive and
inferential statistics on the data collected analyzing the five language functions. Male
student messages contained the language function “presenting opinion” most often, while
“asking information” was second. Also a third of the male messages contained the
language function “giving explanation”. Of the female messages one-fifth contained the
function “giving explanation”, while the most frequently used function is “asking
information”. One the other hand, male messages presented the function “asking
information” less than the female messages. Overall the most frequently used function
was “asking information”, while the other four functions showed no statistical difference.
Initial message data on the five language functions presented that on the average
males have more “giving explanation” initial messages than do female students. Overall
the statistical data on the other four language functions shows no significant difference.
Study question three was answer by using T-units to measure the length of student
messages. According to the averages, male student messages have few T-units, thus
having shorter message lengths than female students.
Study question four was answered by using a generation value. The research
shows that the female students generation value is significantly lower than that of the
male students. This leads the researchers to propose that females tend to initiate
discussions more than male students.
This study found that in the realm of mathematics and science learning using
CMC, that gender gaps still exist. Specifically, this data demonstrates that male students
have a greater level of interactivity with CMC than do the female students. The
researchers also found that the explanations and opinions of male students are more likely
to be presented than suggestions; although female students are less likely to present
opinions and explanations but more likely to request a significant amount of information.
Also, the data shows that conversations are often initiated by female students through
questions, and that male students more often enter the conversation after initiation. This
data clearly show that female students communicate and interact with CMC in a
significantly different way than to male students.
Although it is evident that gender gaps do exist with online technology, this
studied a small population group therefore does not represent a large enough data
platform to significantly determine a concrete explanation of gender gaps. Further
research, on a larger scale, must be done to not only determine the significance and cause
of the gender gaps but to create a basis for creation of new computer based learning tools.
Provide a paragraph describing your reaction to this research. Is the research
sound in your opinion? Why or why not? Explain why this research would be useful to a