Quoting other studies, should include mentioning what context that particular study has been done. What level of students is being discussed? primary, secondary, post-secondary, teritiary students?
Should Introduction focus so much on literature? Should discussion of literature be done in the following section (research design)? Such discussion could help authors construct and justify the methods which have been used.
b) Research design
There is not much detail how the authors have come up with the research design. More information on how this has been drawn up would give the reader a better understanding of what will be dealt with in the following sections.
What about the ethical consideration that were taken care of in compiling this study? e.g. Did the authors actually ask for permissions for data collection?
‘the students’ access to the group area and their accesss to the communication area were combined and used to represent the degree of participation in online discussion.’ (p. 658) Isn’t this a somewhat far fetched hypothesis. Other factors/variables will influence students’ grades.
Moreover I would suggest that the authors use a qualitative study focusing on the actual interactions of participating students. This could give a clearer picture of how the students’ learning actually benefits from such interaction. Rather than analysing whether there is an improvement in grades, such a qualitative study may shed light on further issues related to learning.
d & e) Discussion and Conclusion
Results presented in this study are quite clear. Also authors are sincere in concluding that the rate of participation in online discussion does not imply better grades.