Qualitative Research In Online Language Learning: What Can It Do?

Stickler, Ursula and Hampel, Regine (2022). Qualitative Research In Online Language Learning: What Can It Do? In: Information Resources Management Association ed. Research Anthology on Remote Teaching and Learning and the Future of Online Education. IGI Global, pp. 174–190.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-6684-7540-9.ch010


This article explores the theoretical foundations of qualitative research in online language learning. It will look at the distinction between offline and online language learning and discuss whether different ways of knowledge generation are appropriate for those different learning environments. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be examined and their fit with various learning theories evaluated. Fundamental theoretical differences between epistemologies supporting a realist ontology and those favouring relativist ontologies will be presented and set in the context of online language learning research. Finally, an argument will be presented that in a sociocultural framework, going beyond quantitative research approaches is necessary to adequately understand the experiences of learners and teachers who share a common interest in novel digital environments.

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