This essay explores the naturalistic inquiry in an E-learning research to investigate the use of World Wide Web in higher education. Naturalistic inquiry is part of qualitative research where research conducted in the natural environment investigating social and human issues. It seeks to explain why and how, the naturalistic inquiry model was implemented in an e-learning research paper that examined the utilization of the World Wide Web machinery skills in higher education. That is the theoretical based on (Agostinho 2000) viewpoint, the plan or policy of inquiry employed, or the tactics utilized to gather and analyze data.
Naturalistic inquiry featured in an E -learning research, conducted in a university, with post graduate students to see how the online interactions with the web affected the group environment. The research guide is the need to know the interaction that can be launched in a technology sustained learning environment, what is possible or not possible in such a situation.
The method of inquiry used was a case study with in a post graduate teaching and learning environment. The researcher was able to see and interact with the subjects of the investigation.
Two groups of postgraduate university students were in the research where the teaching of the World Wide Web introduced. The Education faculty developed a curriculum for this. At different phases of the research various technologies (video conferencing, inter-net technology, setting up websites) introduced and the impact on the learners and tutors noted. The study complied with the naturalistic paradigm and could be termed as qualitative as it met the criteria support the suitability of the design for the research, process of inquiry and the usefulness of the findings. According to Lincoln & Guba (1985) there needs to be a tie (congruence) between the problem under investigation, the mode of investigation and the environment around which the case study occurs for the research to be able to produce meaningful results (Agostinho 2000). It is evident because there was congruence between the issue under investigation, content of the course and the education theory. The process met the trustworthiness and authenticity criteria for qualitative paradigm. Trustworthiness emerged by prolonged engagement as the researcher engaged the group for the entire program me duration and persistent observation which are among the criteria presented by Lincoln and Guba (1985). The participants were able to give feed back to the researcher as they shared their opinions and findings with the researcher during the course period (Agostinho 2000).The researcher enabled authenticity by introducing herself to the group and what the research was about.
The quality criteria of usefulness of the research product shown by the usefulness of the information to the community involved in the research (Agostinho 2000). As Shulman (1997) has stated, these inquiries start with curiosity but at the end something is learnt. The investigator’s result must translate into a situation in which one teaches the knowledge to the peers in the education community. The work is neither significant nor consequential until it is implicit by others.
The findings from this research serve as a guide those developing web based learning programmes. It is worth noting that the E- learning research was a naturalistic inquiry; having met all the quality criteria and the investigation done in its natural environment.
This essay gives details on how and why one meticulous qualitative research come up to, the naturalistic inquiry paradigm, implemented in an E-learning research study that explored the application of the World Wide Web knowledge in higher edification.