Academic journal article Journal of Management and Organization

Audience Response Systems as a Data Collection Method in Organizational Research

Academic journal article Journal of Management and Organization

Audience Response Systems as a Data Collection Method in Organizational Research

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Audience responses systems are electronic devices allowing audience interaction and they are increasingly being used in educational and business settings to enhance various pedagogical and practical processes. This paper discusses how ARS technology may be used as a method of collecting data for research purposes. Specifically, this paper demonstrates ARS technology's potential utility by duplicating findings from two organisational studies, it discusses how ARS technology may be used to address three prevalent data collection problems, and it suggests how ARS technology may provide scholars with increased access to certain organisational settings, as well as greater integration between research and service activities.

Keywords: audience response system, personal response system, audience response technology, data collection techniques, data collection technology, organizational research methods

INTRODUCTION

Data collection is an important element of any research methodology. As scholars strive to understand behavioural phenomena in organisations, the need for data collection methods that are convenient to both scholars and respondents and which may be used to gather data from a wide variety of organisational settings becomes important. This is especially true given evidence suggesting that individuals are becoming less inclined to participate in organisational research (Bryman 2000). The purpose of this paper is to discuss how audience response system (ARS) technology may be used to collect data for research purposes.

This paper is in four parts. First, we review the literature on audience response systems and discuss how they are traditionally used. Second, we duplicate findings from two organisational studies to demonstrate how ARS technology may be used to test theory. Third, we discuss how ARS technology may be used to address three prevalent data collection problems. Fourth, we discuss other issues related to using an ARS for research, including limitations and benefits, such as increased access to certain organisational settings and a greater integration between research and service activities.

AUDIENCE RESPONSE SYSTEMS

An audience response system is an electronic device designed to allow immediate interaction between an individual presenter and a large audience. An ARS typically has two parts. The first component is a remote control (or 'clicker') that audience members use to respond to questions. The second component is an electronic receiver (or 'hub') that records, and optionally, displays individuals' responses. An ARS allows for a large number of individuals to respond simultaneously (e.g. 1,000 people). Each individual response is recorded by the hub and can be displayed via projector or exported as a data file for use in other software. For example, a presenter during a board meeting could use an ARS to present a multiplechoice question to a group of partners, have each partner choose an answer, and then immediately display the number selecting each answer.

ARS technology in education

ARS technology was originally designed as a pedagogical tool to enhance student learning in elementary, middle- and high-school, university, and post graduate settings (Fies & Marshall 2006). Caldwell (2006) documents the use of ARS technology in fifteen different disciplines of higher education (e.g. medicine, physics, psychology; also see Duncan 2006). The growing use of ARS units reflects the many benefits they can provide for teachers and students. For example, Homme, Asay, and Morgenstern (2004) reported an increase in attendance and enthusiasm of resident doctors using an ARS for board review sessions. Similarly, Miller, Asher and Getz (2003) found that participants using ARS units reported greater presentation quality, speaker ability, and attention during professional education programs when compared to participants not using an ARS. Others have reported that use of an ARS benefits a range of classroom activities, including collecting demographic information, allowing students to share knowledge and experiences pertinent to course content, polling student opinions on various academic and public policy issues, testing comprehension of course material, giving in-class quizzes, and facilitating group discussion (Byrd, Coleman & Werneth 2004; D'Arcy, Eastburn & Mullally 2007). …

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