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Number 12 (3/2003)

MOTV Facilitates the Entry into Quantitative Research

Anu Vähäsoini    

Research Methods Web Resource (MOTV in Finnish) has been operating for two years and has already acquired a number of frequent users. During 2002 the web resource was used on about twenty methodology courses in different universities. It was also used as support material on a number of other courses.

Assistant Tanja Helle from the Department of Regional Studies and Environmental Policy in the University of Tampere and lecturer Leila Karjalainen from the Mikkeli Summer University are both experienced MOTV users.

Tanja Helle Tanja Helle has been satisfied with the web resource.
- I run a research methodology course and MOTV has been in active use on the course as support material. Students collect a small amount of data and then use the data for statistical analysis.

A multipurpose resource

- In the exercises MOTV is used in different ways, for example, as an information source or support material. I also recommend it for self-access study, especially if a student has been unable to attend the exercises, Tanja Helle says.

Helle believes that MOTV facilitates the entry into the world of quantitative methodology.
- Many students are a bit worried about the methodology courses beforehand and also their computer skills vary a lot.

MOTV's easy-to-understand interface with its illustrative content offers a solution to both problems. Using MOTV, even students with limited computer skills are able to learn the principles of statistical methods just by following instructions. - I cannot think of anything negative to say about the web resource. I have been pleased with MOTV and will continue to use it. Maybe more data sets could be included but even now MOTV contains one data set covering environmental attitudes, which is eminently suitable for my students, Helle praises.

New perspectives on methodology teaching

Lecturer Leila Karjalainen has used MOTV for two years, often as background material for planning her own courses. She runs statistical methods courses in the Mikkeli Summer University.
- I am a mathematician and a statistician, so I am familiar with statistical methods. Nevertheless, MOTV has offered me new ideas and insights for my methodology teaching.

In her opinion, ease of access, independence of location and time are the main advantages of MOTV. She also praises the way FSD data are integrated into the web resource.
- I often browse the data sets and study how they have been used to teach methodology. I am especially fascinated by the way practical examples are used to illustrate the issues taught.

Medicine for quantiphobia

Like Tanja Helle, Leila Karjalainen has noticed that students are apprehensive about quantitative methodology and that quantitative research is seen as difficult. She believes that MOTV facilitates the entry into the world of numbers and quantitative research.
- MOTV interface teaches theory but at the same time it is very practice-oriented with its SPSS exercises. By doing the exercises and practising themselves students notice that statistical methodology is, after all, not so hard to understand. After that they are much more open to the possibilities offered by quantitative research.
- Even though it is not possible to use Internet on my courses, I always give my students the link to MOTV so that they can use it in future.

Karjalainen says that MOTV is very suitable for self-access study if a student has not been able to attend a lecture. Moreover, it offers easy access to information about many particular issues like, for example, cross-tabulation.

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