Article 1 Critique

            In an effort to examine the technology
experiences of students and teachers both inside and outside of school, Wang,
Hsu, Campbell, Coster, & Longhurst (2014) conducted a mixed methods study
to investigate the assumption that middle school students are more tech savvy
than their teachers.  To conduct the
study, Wang et al. (2014) employed a sampling of 24 science teachers from New York and Utah.  A total of 1,079 student participants were
chosen for the study, with eighth grade students selected from eight schools in
Utah, and sixth grade students selected from
ten schools in New York.  The sampling procedure for selecting the
schools, students, and teachers was not identified in the study (Wang et al.,
2014).  While the researchers did
identify the small teacher sample as a limitation of the study, a more
comprehensive sampling of teachers would have allowed the researchers to
generalize the findings of the study to a larger population.  Increasing the sample size of teachers
involved in the study could also have increased the overall reliability of the
survey instrument used (Fowler, 2014).

The study used a mixed methods approach
that included a quantitative survey, classroom observations, and teacher focus
group interviews.  While triangulation of
data was achieved by using these three methods of data collection, observation
data was not included in the results of the study.  The survey used was field tested with a group
of students prior to administering, but there was no mention of field testing
the survey with adults (Wang et al., 2014). 
Conducting a field test with both sample groups could have assisted in
establishing reliability and validity of the instrument (Fowler, 2014).  The researchers achieved a Chronbach’s alpha
of 0.8, signifying a high level of internal consistency among the survey
items.  This relatively strong
reliability of the survey instrument leads to the potential for stronger
validity of the results (Salkind, 2014).

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Wang et al. (2014) relied on both
descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the survey data.  A t-test for dependent samples and the
Wilcoxon signed rank test were used to compare the mean differences of
technology use inside and outside of school for teachers and students.  Additionally, the proportional odds model was
used to examine the differences between teacher and student technology
use.  This use of multiple statistical
tests aids in verifying the results of data analysis.  In addition to the survey instrument, the
researchers conducted focus group interviews. 
Wang et al. (2014) did not indicate that focus group questions were
piloted prior to the study. 
Additionally, the researchers did not mention the use of member checking
to increase validity of the findings (Creswell, 2014; Seidman, 2013).  Although saturation was not discussed, the
researchers did state the focus groups met three times throughout the
semester.  Results of these interviews
were coded by two researchers.  This use
of intercoder agreement aids in strengthening the reliability of the focus group
approach (Creswell, 2014).  Focus group
interview results were used to strengthen and support the survey data

The study by Wang et al. (2014) adds to
the existing body of research regarding the differences in the use of
technology by students and teachers.  The
researchers found that, despite the assumption noted above, teachers use
technology more often than their students both inside and outside of
school.  The data regarding the frequency
of the use of technology by teachers and students inside and outside of school
was presented clearly in the tables provided. 
There were several areas within the study that could be improved.  Namely, the sampling for the study could be
strengthened.  By making an assumption
that science teachers use technology more often, the researchers limited their
sample, and thus the results of the study are not generalizable to a larger
population.  Ultimately, despite the
weaknesses noted, the researchers were successful in answering the research
questions selected to guide the study.


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