Academic journal article College Student Journal

Characteristics of an Effective Web Site in Educational Leadership

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Characteristics of an Effective Web Site in Educational Leadership

Article excerpt

This study examined the characteristics of an effective Web site in a department of educational leadership at a university in the Southeast. Research on the use of the Web by prospective graduate students has identified consistent findings, yet such studies tend not to delineate among academic programs of study. To determine if variation does exist by academic program, this study utilized qualitative and quantitative methodologies to determine the characteristics that comprise an effective Web site for a specific academic department. Results are consistent with findings in earlier studies, suggesting that academic departments, regardless of discipline, may benefit from the current understanding on the use of the Web by prospective graduate students.

**********

The literature on the college choice process indicates that prospective students rely heavily on the information found on institutions' Web sites (Poock and Lefond 2001; Stoner 2001). Much of the research on Web site influence in the college choice process has focused on prospective undergraduate students (Christiansen, Davidson, Roper, Sprinkles and Thomas 2003; Pope and Fermin 2003). In recent years, the literature has expanded to include the influence of the Web in the college choice process of graduate students (e.g., Poock and Lefond 2003).

Studies on prospective graduate students' use of the Web provide an aggregate view of this population. That is, researchers have included graduate students or prospective graduate students from an array of disciplines. It is not known if the views of prospective graduate students vary by field of study. Therefore, this study addresses the characteristics of an effective Web site as viewed by graduate students in a specific field of study, educational leadership.

Background

The college choice process received enormous attention in the past two decades (e.g., Hartman 1997; Jackson 1982; Konnert and Giese 1987; Litten 1982). With the explosion of the Internet came the incorporation of the Web in this process. Researchers have consistently found that prospective students utilize the Web on an increasingly frequent basis. In a 1998 study of Internet use among prospective students, Strauss found that a majority of the participants in their search for institutions in which to apply and attend did utilize the Web to some degree. In 2001, Poock and Lefond studied college bound high school students and found that virtually all of them relied upon the Web when applying to colleges or universities. Clearly, the Web plays an integral role in the college choice process for undergraduates.

Research on the college choice process of graduate students has been more recent, and the findings are quite similar to those focusing on undergraduate students. Poock and Lefond (2003) examined the characteristics of effective graduate school Web sites utilizing focus groups and surveys, and Poock replicated this in 2005. Additionally, Hoeflich (2002) surveyed new graduate students at a major research university. A consistent finding in these studies is that an institution's Web site is the dominant tool utilized by prospective graduate students.

Studies have addressed the elements of Web pages that prospective students desire and expect, but researchers have concentrated on individual institutions or a national study within a field of study. It is unclear if differences exist among prospective graduate students when controlling for field of study. Therefore, examining the characteristics of effective Web sites as they pertain to prospective graduate students within a given field of study is obviously warranted. For this study, the program of focus is educational leadership.

Methodology

Participants in the study were graduate students within the department of educational leadership at a doctoral/research university--intensive in the state of North Carolina. The methodology for this study used focus groups and surveys. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.