Data Analysis

Once the data were collected, they were analyzed using Microsoft Excel, a computer software spreadsheet. Quantitative descriptive statistics were employed to analyze data from the researcher's database for the grading criteria of the students' projects and were displayed in tabular form (see Table 1).

After each of the responses to the prompts in the students' journals were coded as being a generally positive, negative or neutral statement, a value of 1 was given to each of these in order to determine the total number of positive, negative and neutral statements. The total positive, negative and neutral statements was entered into the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and plotted in a “radar” graph. This analysis gauged how the respondents--as a whole--felt about each activity. The radar graph is similar to scatter plot except there are three variables (positive, negative and neutral), (see Figure 1).

Data from the first questionnaire were also analyzed using Microsoft Excel. Histograms were used to analyze the numbers of students who used their free time in the computer lab, gave or received help and who liked or disliked specific activities. Radar graphs were again used to gauge how students felt about using email, being local experts and their own understanding of science.

Finally, data from the two Likert scale questions on the second questionnaire were tabulated and analyzed for the percentages of students who agreed that the profiles accurately reflected their feelings and attitudes. The percentages were graphed in the form of a “pie chart” using Microsoft Excel (see Figure 11).