Identifying the Help Givers in a Community of Learners: Using Peer Reporting and Social Network Analysis as Strategies for Participant Selection
The author presents a three-step process for selecting participants for any study of a social phenomenon that occurs between people in locations and at times that are difficult to observe. The process is described with illustrative examples from a previous study of help giving in a community of learners. This paper includes a rationale for combining peer-reporting questionnaires with social network analysis to find the authorities among a community of pre-service teachers. Triangulation is recommended as a technique to verify results and ensure accurate findings from the questionnaires. Implications and limitations are provided to help facilitate a successful modification and adaptation to future studies.
KeywordsParticipant selection Peer reporting Social network analysis Peer assistance Help giving Pre-service teacher education Instructional technology Technology support
The author is grateful for Drs. Kyle Peck and John Cowan for their contributions to the ideas presented in this paper. Peck helped to conceptualize the initial idea to use Malcolm Gladwell’s theories, and Cowan suggested social network analysis as a possible method for participant selection.
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