The purpose of this section is to identify the participants, procedure, data collection methods, and research design of the proposed study. In addition, this section will discuss data analysis, instrumentation or apparatus, and ethical considerations involved.
The population of the study consists of kindergarten teachers and their students aged 4 to 6 years. The sample will be obtained using a random stratified sampling procedure that will involve contacting the educational facilities where participating teachers work. The teachers will be contacted both through social media networks and in person to discuss the research activities and arrange the schedule. The inclusion criterion for the students will be “kindergarten children aged 4 to 6 years whose parents have given their written permission for the child to participate in the study” (Al-Hezam, 2017, p. 48). In addition, the children’s parents will have to be willing to participate as well, as their cooperation will help to assess the outcomes. The sample will include 12 teachers and 80 children who will be studied in groups of 6 to 8 children.
Procedure and Data Collection
Data collection will include conducting semi-structured interviews consisting of questionnaires for students and their parents, and comprehensive reports for teachers. The steps involved in the data collection process will include setting the goals of the interview, designing the questions, assembling the participants, deciding on the medium, and conducting the interview. The teachers will be given information about the aim and the background of the study, which will engage them fully in the research process. In addition, parents will be given instructions on how to provide their children with the necessary devices and resources to complete the assigned tasks using social media. The purpose of this procedure is to provide the participants with a profound insight into the steps of the research and the different aspects involved in it.
The literature review will be used to develop the questions for the interview. The findings from the studies reviewed will be compared to the participants’ responses to identify the effect that the SM interventions had on teachers’ instructional practices. In addition, teachers and students will be asked to provide general feedback on their experiences and performance. To ensure the adequacy and accuracy of data, responses collected in one group will have to be compared and contrasted to those provided by the other teachers.
The specific methodology that will be used in the proposed qualitative study is presented by semi-structured interviews. This research method can be defined as a data collection strategy used to gather information from the key participants of the study (Ruslin et al., 2022). The method will include several steps; first, the purpose and the scope of the study will be determined, and the participants will be identified. The next steps are the consideration of potential ethical issues and planning the aspect of logistics and schedules (Ruslin et al., 2022). These will be followed by developing a guide for the interviews and building a trusting relationship with the participants. The next stage will be the interview itself, followed by a reflection and analysis session. The final steps involved in this research method are the demonstration of the credibility of the study and the presentation of the findings. This methodology is suitable for the problem of interest because it allows the collection of qualitative, open-ended data and learning more about the participants’ views on the use of SM in kindergarten education.
Another strength of semi-structured interviews as a research method is the fact that they can help to identify specific weaknesses and problems that may be caused by the interventions. Within the context of the proposed study, the intervention is presented by SM integration in the instructional practices of kindergarten teachers in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, this methodology can help to identify the issues and difficulties that children and teachers might face in the learning process. However, the method also has limitations; first, some participants might consider the open-ended interviews time-consuming, which may result in their unwillingness to participate (Brown & Danaher, 2017). Second, it can be challenging to write questions that are not leading in any way. Therefore, it will be essential for the researchers to ensure that all the questions are phrased in a neutral and unbiased manner. The design of the approach used is the case study, which is most appropriate for this qualitative research. This design allows researchers to focus on a specific subject, such as SM integration in kindergarten education, in a specific location, which in this case is Saudi Arabia.
Two approaches will be used to analyze the data collected. The first one is content analysis; this approach will be applied to compare, contrast, and analyze the patterns identified in the responses collected from the participants. The second approach is narrative analysis, which refers to analyzing the participants’ stories and perspectives. In this case, the stories analyzed will be presented in the feedback part of the study, which will allow gaining a deeper insight into different ways the intervention has impacted the learning process. To ensure the fidelity and accuracy of the interpretation, different researchers will provide written reports of their perceptions and preliminary impressions before engaging in a detailed discussion of the findings. This measure will help to avoid making biased conclusions that could be influenced by irrelevant or insignificant factors. Several other measures will be taken to handle subjective bias. First, an impartial researcher not involved in the intervention will be invited to evaluate the methodology, design, and findings of the study. Second, participating teachers will also be offered to review the results.
The materials that will be used in this study include devices available to the participating students at home and in the classroom. These will be mainly represented by laptops, mobile phones, and tablets with a stable Internet connection. As mentioned in the previous sections, the main instrument that will be used in the proposed research is a survey questionnaire consisting of several open-ended questions. The reliability of this research instrument will be ensured by implementing it on random samples of teachers and students not involved in the research (Alhumaid, 2020). After that, a statistical analysis will be performed to verify the reliability of the study instruments, and the accepted value will be established before the use of the study with participants.
The validity of the research instrument will be ensured by providing the questionnaires to two social media professionals, who will make their observations and provide suggestions for improvement, if necessary. However, the main instrument for the intervention will be developed by the researcher. The development process will involve creating a questionnaire based on the extensive literature review about the benefits of SM integration in kindergarten education. In turn, the validation process that will be used to determine the technical accuracy of the instrument will involve consulting social media professionals and early childhood education professionals.
The main ethical consideration that exists about the proposed research is the possible negative attitude of the parents. For example, some may be unwilling to provide their children with necessary devices, or they may be dissatisfied with some aspects of the research, such as assignments that require online communication. Some parents might be against their children spending additional time in front of a screen. To avoid this, it is extremely important to discuss all the details of the study with parents before the intervention. Researchers will have to explain that the design of the study involves limited screen time that will allow them to identify specific advantages of SM integration. To comply with all ethical guidelines, researchers will also discuss confidentiality issues with the participants, as well as the particular roles of all teachers, parents, and students in the study.
The purpose of this section is to discuss the anticipated outcomes of the research and identify the limitations that might be involved. In addition, this section will explain the importance of the outcomes expected and how they will be beneficial in the field of early childhood education.
Anticipated Outcomes of the Research
It is expected that the research will help to identify the impact that social media integration has on the instructional practices of kindergarten teachers in Saudi Arabia. So far, the body of literature on the topic has provided general overviews of the benefits that can be expected in terms of student performance (Alhumaid & Ayoubi, 2020). This research, however, aims to draw clear connections between different types of social media activities and their effects on both children’s and teachers’ productivity. In addition, the outcomes of the research are expected to be useful for educators in developing teaching strategies that involve social media resources.
Limitations of the Research
The proposed study has several limitations that can interfere with the reliability of its outcomes. First, there is a lack of prior research that addresses the issue in question concerning kindergarten teachers in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the existing studies might not take cultural characteristics into account. To avoid negative consequences that might be caused by this factor, researchers will have to address the aspect of culture, determining if any culture-related issues may affect the course of the study (Alhumaid & Ayoubi, 2020). Another limitation is the fact that some interviews may need to be conducted remotely due to the lack of time or participants’ inability to attend the meeting. This, in turn, could have certain disadvantages; for example, the interviewees may get too distracted and not pay sufficient attention to answering the questions of the interviewer. As a result, this would pose a threat to the credibility of the study. In addition, participants may not feel as comfortable while conducting a virtual interview as they would in a real, face-to-face session. This could also make them more cautious when answering the questions, leading to unreliable results.
Another limitation is the location of the kindergartens where the interventions and the interviews will take place. For example, the scope of the study might be limited by kindergartens located in urban areas. This poses a major threat to the transferability of the study since kindergarten teachers and students from rural areas are excluded from the sample (Alhumaid & Ayoubi, 2020). As a result, it may be challenging to use the findings to make specific generalizations about the interventions. Therefore, the researcher will have to include teachers from rural areas and smaller towns in the study sample.
Importance of the Expected Outcomes to the Field
The importance of the expected research outcomes in the field is based on the fact that they can be applied by kindergarten teachers in Saudi Arabia and other countries to improve the learning process. Constantly developing, advanced technologies are being increasingly used in education. However, so far this practice has been mainly limited to higher education and graduate education (Aleisa, 2022). At the same time, there has been a body of research created on introducing technology in kindergarten classrooms. Moreover, studies have identified several benefits that can be realized from the integration of social media into the instructional practices of kindergarten teachers. The proposed study will therefore be highly valuable concerning the hypotheses suggested by prior research. It will allow addressing these theories and suggestions, discussing the tangible impact that has been identified, and applying the findings to the actual learning processes of kindergarten students.
Over the last decade, social media has become an integral part of modern life. However, the potential of using it in early childhood education is still understudied. Therefore, the purpose of the proposed research is to identify the impact of the use of social media on the instructional practices of kindergarten teachers in Saudi Arabia. As part of this qualitative study, a group of kindergarten teachers will introduce several new activities based on the use of social media platforms in their instructional practices. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires will then be used as the main research method to collect and analyze data. The results of this study are expected to either confirm or refute the results of the previous research, which will be identified in detail at the design and literature review stages.
Aleisa, N. (2022). Graduate students’ use of social media as a learning space. Taylor & Francis.
Al-Hezam, D. M. (2017). The impact of digital technology on children’s transition from kindergarten to primary school: Bringing concepts from international research and practice to Saudi Arabia. Waikato Journal of Education, 22(2), 47-52.
Alhumaid, K. (2020). Qualitative evaluation: Effectiveness of utilizing digital and social media in education. ResearchGate.
Alhumaid, K., & Ayoubi, K. (2020). Qualitative evaluation of perspectives on effectiveness of use of digital and social media in education. EDULEARN Proceedings, 25(5), 466-476.
Brown, A., & Danaher, P. A. (2017). CHE principles: Facilitating authentic and dialogical semi-structured interviews in educational research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 42(1), 76-90.
Ruslin, R., Mashuri, S., Sarib, M., & Alhabsyi, F. (2022). Semi-structured interview: A methodological reflection on the development of a qualitative research instrument in educational studies. ResearchGate.