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Collaborative Research

Upper level college courses often require collaborative research projects or research done collaboratively. Paper Masters can help with your collaborative research project or find you references that are examples of collaborative research in any field of study.

What is Collaborative Research?

The use of the Internet for Online learning is rapidly expanding. The characteristics of the Internet that make it well suited for use in a collaborative approach to learning are nearly infinite. One of the leading ways of assisting students on the Internet s by working with them in research and writing. This style of learning is called collaborative learning. Paper Masters defines cooperative learning, the theory upon which it is based, and how it can be used. The concepts describing social interdependence, behavioral, and cognitive-developmental theories all contribute to the practice of cooperative learning. The way in which social interdependence is structured dictates how individuals interact, which in turn determines outcomes. The interdependence between members of a group defines the essence of the group and interdependence can be nonexistent (individualistic), negative (competition), or positive (cooperation).

Other Learning Theories That Support Collaborative Research

Cognitive-developmental theory states that cooperation is an essential prerequisite for cognitive growth. Both Piaget and Vygotsky held that cognitive development and intellectual growth stem from cooperative learning strategies with peers. Behavioral learning theory posits that students will work for reward, but will not if the task yields either punishment or no reward. These three theories use different assumptions about cooperative efforts, but are basically in agreement that cooperative learning promotes higher achievement than learning that has as its basis competition and individual effort. The successful use of cooperative learning requires five key elements:

  1. There is an understanding shared by all members of the group that either everyone, or no one, succeeds.
  2. Individual performances are assessed to ensure individual accountability.
  3. Students work to achieve mutual success using verbal discussion and explanation, knowledge sharing, and comparing present to past learning.
  4. Students are taught appropriate social skills in leadership, trust-building, decision-making, communication, and conflict management.
  5. The students identify how the processes used by the members maximize learning for everyone involved.

Paper Masters has explored the social constructivist perspectives on learning and teaching in research papers on collaboration. The postmodern constructivist perspective is that understanding and learning are inherently social; social interaction engenders greater levels of learning and reasoning. Several explanatory theories attempt to explain why social interaction has this result. According to Piaget, social interaction creates cognitive conflict, which in turn generates intellectual development. The learner is led in new directions by the conflict created between understanding and experiences. When all the participants are engaged in problem solving versus observing, and if the partners’ cognitive levels are comparable, children working with peers exhibit greater cognitive growth than those working alone. Verbal interaction is seen as the key to cognitive change.

This social constructivist perspective is exerting an influence on the educational reform efforts that encourage students to take a more active role in their learning by discussing disagreements, explaining their ideas, and solving complicated problems cooperatively. Lundberg (2003) researched two questions pertaining the role of peer learning, first whether non-traditional students (defined as part-time, commuting, working more than 20 hours a week) participated in peer learning less than traditional students, and second, whether student success in understanding science can be predicted using a peer learning approach. Discussing science with and teaching it to peers was the strongest predictor for understanding the material. The finding held even when nontraditional students are less frequently engaged in peer interactions. Using the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ), Lundberg found that for both traditional and non-traditional students, the strongest predictor of understanding science was teaching it to peers. More frequent participation in explanations of procedures, theories and use of equipment resulted in a better grasp of science. This variable was more significant than research with faculty, quality of relationships with faculty, and homework. The second strongest predictor of understanding also applied to both groups of students, and was the discussion of science theories.

Web usage can support and extend classroom learning with browsers to access materials and resources such as Paper Masters' custom research paper and term paper writing service. Further resources include chat rooms and web boards for interaction, and software to create and post presentations and text. The most basic use of the web is to gain access to resources and material around the world on a 24-hour basis with services like Paper Masters. Students can order research by subject matter, and access additional relevant sites through links at the sites accessed initially. Academic textbook publishers are supporting their texts on the web. Assignments and tests can be accessed Online and transmitted electronically to the teachers via email. Content is current because the sites are updated continuously. Interaction between students and faculty can be accomplished via chat rooms, and in addition, web boards carry discussions in threads by main Collaboratives, yielding a logical flow of dialogue. Web boards can be used to extend classroom discussions. This arrangement works to the benefit of individuals too shy to speak up in face-to-face interactions. Document and presentation displays are easily posted, making course material accessible from anywhere. In addition, copying costs are decreased, misplaced or lost materials can be reprinted from the web, and material can be password protected Very little expertise is needed to use the web in these ways.

Bento, R.F. & Bento, A.M. (2000). Using the web to extend and support classroom learning. College Student Journal, 34(4), 603.
Carlsmith, K.M. & Cooper, J. (2002). A persuasive example of collaborative learning. Teaching of Psychology, 29(2), 132-135.
Harland, T. (2003). Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development and problem-based learning: lining a theoretical concept with practice through action research. Teaching in Higher Education, 8(2), 263-272.
Johnson, D.W. & Johnson, R.T. (1998). Cooperative learning returns to college. Change, 30(4), 26-35.
Lundgerg, C.A. (2003). Nontraditional college students and the role of collaborative learning as a tool for science mastery. School Science and Mathematics, 103(1), 8-17
Palincsar, A.S. (1998). Social constructivist perspective on teaching and learning. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 345.
Williams, Wiebe, Yang, Ferzli, and Miller. (2002). In support of pair programming in the introductory computer science course. Computer Science Education, 12(3), 197-212.

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Collaborative Research

Paper Masters specializes in collaborative research and theory driven research papers. Paper Masters can help with your collaborative research project or find you refrences that are examples of collaborative research in any field of study.

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