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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/190

Title: A thematic synthesis of Community of Inquiry research 2000 to 2014
Authors: Kineshanko (Befus), Madelaine K.
Supervisor(s): Moisey, Susan (Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University)
Examining Committee: Arthur, Peter (Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia)
Garrison, D. Randy (University of Calgary)
Graham, Charles (External Member, Brigham Young University)
Degree: Doctor of Education (EdD) in Distance Education
Department: Centre for Distance Education
Keywords: Community of Inquiry
Thematic Synthesis
Research synthesis
Issue Date: 20-Mar-2016
Abstract: This meta-synthesis study examines the nature, focus, and context of the large and diverse corpus of research literature that has arisen from a highly utilized and cited distance, blended, and online learning framework, the Community of Inquiry (CoI). The heterogeneous thematic synthesis was conducted using a three-stage approach. In stage one, online and locally installed proprietary and open-source research software programs were used to identify and aggregate a collection of 1,515 empirical research artifacts citing the seminal article that introduced the CoI. This data set was cross-tabulated and analyzed to establish reliability of research publication sources. Stage 2 examination reduced the collection to 910 journal articles, conference papers, books, book sections, masters theses, doctoral dissertations, and non-academic papers. These 910 artifacts were examined for study inclusion criteria and to determine seminal article citation use. Of the 910 artifacts examined, 581 (64%) were excluded from further analysis; 258 for nominal citation use, and 323 for study parameter deficiencies. In stage 3, the 329 artifacts that met inclusion parameters were re-examined to determine the level and intent of CoI citation use within each artifact. The synthesis was conducted in three steps; the first step to identify “basic” themes, the second “organizing” themes, and lastly “global” themes. Iterative, inductive coding of the 329-item synthesis dataset identified 24 basic themes ranging from citations to attribute use of simple descriptions to more complex uses of adopting CoI tools as methodology or validation of the CoI framework itself. The 24 basic theme codes were then examined for similarities and differences in order to postulate 11 organizing themes. Finally, the 11 organizing themes were scrutinized from varying perspectives to articulate four global themes. The findings of this study show that the terms, concepts, processes, and tools described in the seminal publication are still germane to distance, blended, and online researchers and educators to define terminology, measure factors, introduce CoI-based concepts to positively influence learning conditions and experiences, and to validate or extend the framework itself.
Graduation Date:  -1
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10791/190
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