Application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Research
- Revolutionizing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) remains on the top agenda of many developing countries including India. Much stress has been made to facilitate the application of ICTs in developmental planning and research. The application of ICTs in higher education and research is seen as another potent and convincing paradigm for development in developing countries.
- Despite its polemic nature, ICTs have undoubtedly impacted the teaching and learning process positively. Human beings have advanced skill that allows them to share knowledge with others and the use of ICTs to make this transfer and sharing of knowledge all more interesting is, indeed, praiseworthy. ICTs enhance our access to knowledge as well as act as a supplement to knowledge that we gather through traditional sources. In this post, we will focus more on the application of ICTs in academic research at universities.
1. Broadly, there are three levels where ICTs have made a mark on academic research namely:
(a). Level 1: Pre-Data Analysis Phase
1. Role of ICTs in Pre-Data Analysis Phase: This includes the application and use of ICT tools during the research process before one reaches the data analysis phase. It is quite appalling to observe how technological tools can be used to achieve the pre-data analysis research goals. Undeniably, computers and the internet have made a remarkable impact in this area. Some of how ICT’s can be used during the pre-data analysis phase are:
- it can be very helpful for the literature review of any topic in any discipline. The college libraries have adequate material to help research scholars for writing a dissertation; yet to incorporate the fast-paced global changes into one’s writing and literature review, the internet is highly reliable.
- Some universities have e-library (digital library) access as well. This saves time and effort for the researchers to travel back and forth between two spaces.
- Portals like e-Gyankosh, JStor, Google Scholar, Shodh Ganga, Microsoft Academic Search, etc. are very helpful to do a rich literature review. There are several other online repositories of multi-disciplinary literature such as SSRN, EPW, and Encyclopaedia Britannica among others.
- ICT tools are helpful for the process of data collection. Surveys can be done online using Google forms. To conduct a large-scale study, tools like survey monkey and Qualtrics are very helpful. These tools help to accommodate questions based on conditions, and logic and do experiment trials.
- Software like Mendeley is very useful for the literature track. Mendeley helps to manage, share and find literature content. Such a thing was not possible in the past.
- Microsoft Word also has features that help to manage content and dissertation writing. Many college professors ask for write-ups and data via email. They send back reviewed files to the scholars with suggested changes and suggestions. The ‘track changes feature in MS Word saves time and effort for both researchers and mentors in terms of avoiding unnecessary meetings.
- Features like Google Translate have profound value for international students and students coming from regions where different languages or dialects are spoken.
- There are mobile applications that allow scholars to connect and share knowledge.
(b). Level 2: Data Analysis Phase
2. Role of ICTs in Data Analysis Phase: The role of ICTs during data analysis is immense. It can be very useful for qualitative as well as quantitative data analysis.
- Quantitative data analysis: involves varied techniques such as regression models, t-test, analysis of variance, path analysis, hierarchical regression analysis, linear modeling, etc. All this requires using a huge database collected at national and state levels. Some statistical software that helps is STATA, SPSS (Statistical Package for Statistical Computing), MATLAB (The Mathworks), R (R Foundation for Statistical Computing), SAS (Statistical Analysis Software), and GraphPad Prism among others. Such software makes it quite easy to run regressions and makes data analysis more comprehensive for the researcher as well as a general audience.
- Qualitative data analysis: also makes use of several ICT tools. Tools like recorders have proved to be very valuable for keeping all the information stored and collected at the time of multiple interview schedules. Recorders make it an Online Classroom Program easy for the ethnographers to listen to the interviews. In terms of storing information, software like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. is very helpful. These give access to multiple parties including the researcher, mentors, academic friends, etc. To make qualitative data more scientific and objective, data analysis tools like ATLAS. ti, SPSS Text Analysis, NVivo, Transana (used for video transcribing), etc. are widely used.
(c). Level 3: Post Data Analysis Phase
3. Role of ICTs in the Post-data analysis Phase: Once the data has been collected and the data analysis process is over, ICTs can be applied in the post-data analysis phase as well. Some of how ICTs can be used during the post-data analysis phase are:
- ICTs such as a computer, the internet, online journals, newspapers, etc. are a good platform to share findings with academia as well as the general audience. A lot of policy decisions are made by the new and worthwhile findings made by individual researchers in various fields. Online journals such as Economic and Political Weekly, The Social Science, Idea for India, and ScienceOpen are good mediums for getting one’s work published.
- There are collaborative writing tools (Typewrite, Upwork) that are widely used in cases when several researchers wish to write and combine studies.
- In terms of bibliography and referencing, ICT tools like advanced versions of Microsoft Office Packages are very useful.
- ICTs have proved to be very useful for plagiarism checks as well. Some tools used for this are Plagiarism Checker, Anti Plagiarism, Plagiarisma, and so on.