There are many graduate students world wide conducting thesis and dissertation research on the effectiveness of WebQuests. Some of these studies have made it into print as well, though the number of data-based studies in refereed journals is still small. There is not, at this point, any edited bibilography available about WebQuest research.
Here, though are some places to get started to begin your own research.
Google Scholar tracks many kinds of publications ranging from research journals to practitioner magazines and online papers. As of this writing, there are over 3000 articles cited that use the word WebQuest.
To narrow it down some, try adding the word thesis, or dissertation to the search terms.
A search of the ProQuest dissertation database reveals the studies described below. You may access the complete studies in most cases through a ProQuest account at your university.
A case study of the use of an inquiry-based instructional strategy with rural minority at-risk, middle grade students
Swindell, James Wilson, Jr., Ph.D., Mississippi State University, 2006, 183 pages
This qualitative case study examined the influence that an inquiry-oriented technology-rich classroom environment had on eight economically disadvantaged African-American middle-grade males categorized as at-risk for academic failure. The technology tools used were WebQuest activities designed to focus students' learning on using information rather than looking for it. Two additional significant effects of the WebQuest activities were to develop and support students' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Dodge, 1997).
This study was conducted at a rural high school (grades 7-12) with a 100% African-American student population located in a low socio-economic, predominantly African-American community in Northeast Mississippi. The study suggests that providing a structured, active, hands-on, and technology-rich cooperative classroom environment for at-risk African-American males produce these positive results: demonstrated leadership roles with their peers, improved behavior, self-motivation to learn, and academic achievement
Computer use in context: Looking through the lens of language socialization
Talamantes, Mona Loya, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, 2006, 228 pages;
The purpose of this study was three fold: first, to understand the meaning particular students made of computer use as demonstrated in peer-to-peer communicative practices, while using a WebQuest Internet activity; second, to understand how local and nonlocal forms of social organization and culture related to the students' meaning construction in this context; and third, to understand how technology mediated the process.
I employed the lens of language socialization to analyze the specifics of the actions taken by, and the meaning-perspectives held by, the students in order to understand what sense they made of this computer application and how the WebQuest activity, as well as the computer itself, mediated student social action and learning as they worked together on the computer.
Three themes became evident as students worked on the WebQuest: negotiation of task, negotiation of knowledge, and off task behavior. Findings showed that within each of these themes of interaction, language served as a medium of socialization to norms, preferences, and expectations that reflected local and nonlocal forms of social organization and culture. Through this socialization, continuity and coherence were maintained, in the face-to-face encounters between the students as well as in the larger contexts of school and society. That is to say, students' actions reaffirmed and sustained established forms of social interaction that reflected prior socialization in other contexts. Students competently communicated and interpreted the meaning indexed in the language usage of their group, as their acts and stances instantiated particular social activities and identities in order to achieve particular social ends. The technology mediated this process by providing a context in which the students could enact learned forms of social interaction, and by providing the means through which they could demonstrate and construct their social and academic competence within the group.
Recommendations based on the findings of this study are provided regarding considerations for the make-up of student groups, computer set up, and considerations for WebQuest use specifically.
Integrating the Internet in the K--6 classroom: An online self-paced introductory course
Tran, Debbie, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2006, 71 pages
The purpose of this project was to create and evaluate an online self-paced course. This course introduced teachers to some strategies of integrating the Internet in the K-6 classroom. These strategies, which had been successfully used by many educators, were organized into 4 modules. Within each module, integration strategies were presented along with successful stories, an interactive quiz, and a self-assessment practice.
Four teachers from an elementary school volunteered to test and evaluate the course. They filled out a survey to rate the course in 4 categories. The course received an overall positive rating of 3.69 on a scale of 1-4 with 4 as "Strongly Agree." These teachers also participated in a focus group interview to discuss the strategies presented. Although they agreed that these strategies had educational values, they stated that only the strategies in the modules Integrating Web Resources and WebQuest were practical and applicable to their classrooms. This project report concludes with recommendations for future developers of online instructional systems.
The relationship between preservice teachers' social learning style preferences and learning activity role choices
Solis, John D., Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 2006, 198 pages;
For this study, the researcher examined if scoring patterns of preservice teachers on six social learning style preference categories were a predictor of WebQuest role choices. Participants were 118 preservice teachers enrolled in five sections of an undergraduate technology integration course. Participants completed the Grasha-Reichmann Student Learning Styles Scales (GRSLSS), the Instructional Strategy Survey, and a demographics survey. Analysis revealed that scoring patterns across all six social learning style preference categories were a weak predictor of WebQuest role choice. Qualitative analysis of responses to open-ended questions and statements provided further insight to potential variables that may have influenced group work and WebQuest role choices. Implications for effective instruction are included.
The effect of EFL reading instruction by using a WebQuest learning module as a CAI enhancement on college students' reading performance in Taiwan
Tsai, Shwu Hui Ellen, Ed.D., Idaho State University, 2005, 259 pages; AAT 3193423
The purpose of this study was to measure reading vocabulary acquisition and reading performance of EFL students when a WebQuest learning module as a computer-assisted instruction (CAI) was utilized to enhance the traditional EFL reading instruction. The study aimed to determine the effects of utilizing the WebQuest as a CAI on the traditional EFL reading instruction in a target university in Taiwan. In addition, this study reported the relationship between student attitudes and student perceptions toward the use of the WebQuest module.
A quasi-experimental research designed was employed for this study. A pretest and posttest reading comprehension assessment were administered for the both groups. The treatment group received a researcher developed WebQuest learning module embedded in a traditional EFL instruction, while the control group received traditional text-only EFL instruction. After the posttest, the treatment group received an attitudinal survey about learning attitudes and perceptions toward the WebQuest learning module.
The data was analyzed by a series of analysis of variance (ANOVA), which were used to determine significant difference between the groups. The results indicate that the students in the treatment group outperformed the students in the control group. The use of the WebQuest as a CAI enhancement produced a significant difference in students' vocabulary acquisition and story reading performance, but not in student's thematic reading performance. The results of survey indicated an overall positive attitude toward the WebQuest learning. A significant correlation was reported between student attitudes and student perceptions.
The effects of an inquiry-Internet research project on motivation, self-efficacy, and academic autonomy in heterogenously grouped high school Latin I students
Wagman, Janet Campbell, Ph.D., Capella University, 2005, 176 pages; AAT 3162731
Some students in heterogeneously grouped Latin classes are at academic risk, due to insufficient knowledge, inability to connect with the subject, and poor performances; all of which sustain and escalate one another until learners believe they also lack the ability to learn any aspect of Latin. The researcher engaged in action research, a branch of qualitative research, to determine if experiential learning methodologies, such as inquiry and research, could increase motivation, self-efficacy, and academic autonomy in Latin students. Using the WebQuest model as the means to understand phenomena and facilitate change, the researcher created an inquiry Internet-research project titled Cur Latina? The researcher recorded the participants' (teacher and students) ostensible behavior and perceptions concerning motivation, self-efficacy, and academic autonomy during their engagement in an inquiry-Internet research project. The researcher collected data via observations, performance assessments, a questionnaire, and interviews. The observation and performance assessment results of the study revealed that the Cur Latina? project helped students achieve competence in an interrelated area within the Latin I curriculum. The students' motivation, self-efficacy, and academic autonomy increased because their areas of expertise were integrated into the Ecce Romani Latin I textbook and would continue to be employed throughout the Latin I course. Student questionnaires and interviews revealed that many students preferred information to be presented holistically with knowledge building upon itself in its relation to a greater whole. Perceiving the search for connected knowledge to be a personal as well as an accomplishable task enhanced the students' academic autonomy and motivation to learn.
The WebQuest creation process: A case study of preservice teachers working individualistically and collaboratively
Roberts, Leanne M., Ph.D., The University of Akron, 2005, 215 pages; AAT 3175341
This study focused on preservice teachers creation of a WebQuest working in either an individualistic or collaborative work configuration. The theories constructivism, adult learning theory, and collaborative learning, with technology integration in preservice teacher education were examined and provided the framework for this study. Through case study research methodology four research questions were examined throughout this study: (a) Why do preservice teacher candidates choose to work in an individualistic or a collaborative work configuration to use Macromedia Dreamweaver to create a WebQuest? (b) How is the process of creating a WebQuest different for preservice teachers in a collaborative work configuration and those working in an individualistic configuration? Why? (c) How do WebQuest products differ between those created in an individualistic work configuration and those created in a collaborative work configuration? Why? (d) How does the role of technology influence the WebQuest creation process and product?
Seven study participants, four working in a collaborative work configuration and three working individualistically, provided evidence that mechanisms of collaboration occur in both configurations, in some instances benefiting, and in some instances impeding the WebQuest creation process and product. All seven participants considered prior experience in an introductory technology course a benefit to the WebQuest creation process and resulting product. The factors that emerged as themes within this study were: (a) individualistic configuration for control; (b) collaborative configuration for mutual engagement; (c) mechanisms of collaboration in collaborative and individualistic work configurations; (d) prior experience from an introductory technology course; and (e) supported autonomy vs. collaboration.
Based on findings of this study, additional research is indicated within the areas of working configurations in the larger context of learning communities, and the impact this has on technology related project. A new theory of "supported autonomy" stemming from this study also requires further investigation. To reveal the impact of preservice teacher experiences with technology imbedded in authentic tasks in methods courses on teaching practices in their own K-6 classrooms, a long-term investigation is necessary.
Using the Internet to research curriculum-based topics at the grade five level
Bryand, David A., M.Ed., University of Prince Edward Island (Canada), 2005, 140 pages
As part of an action research study, the best learning and teaching strategies for the most effective use of the Internet as a research tool for grade five students were examined. Students' reactions and attitudes to using the Internet were explored throughout the study by use of a questionnaire, student learning logs, and participation in an inquiry-based learning activity developed by the researcher called a webquest. Student-centered and cooperative learning approaches, constructivist teaching practices as well as student enthusiasm for learning were examined during the research. The study's findings support the contention that the Internet can be an effective source of information for students at the fifth-grade level, and that appropriate use of the Internet can increase student understanding of curriculum topics, can encourage cooperative and student-centered learning, and can actively engage students in the information process. Implications for effective teaching and learning strategies that have an impact on student learning are also highlighted.
Actividades de desarrollo ocupacional WebQuest, "Exploro mi futuro"
by Castro De Jesus, Elsa M., M.Ed., University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (Puerto Rico), 2004, 127 pages;
Exploro mi futuro es un conjunto de actividades diseñadas para jóvenes de escuela superior. Las actividades y et producto final del proceso de exploración, enmarcadas en la teoría del Dr. John Holland, están desarrollados para que se identifique con alguno de los seis tipos de personalidad postulados por la teoría. Utilizando et sistema WebQuest, se produjo un programado en Microsoft Power Point que incluye: Introducción, Explora, Pasos y Conclusión. Incluye once actividades que se pueden acceder mediante "Adobe Reader". También incluye vIdeos que se visualizan en "Windows Media Player" y conexiones a la Internet. Los materiales producidos incluyen un Manual de Consejería , un CD-ROM que contienen las actividades de desarrollo ocupacional y una Plantilla para et estudiante. Se validó et proyecto de forma preliminar con un panel de jueces expertos y con estudiantes de escuela superior.
Electronic literacy: Teaching literary reading through the digital medium
Rozema, Robert Adams, Ph.D., Western Michigan University, 2004, 263 pages;
Over the last decade, digital technology has become an increasingly important part of education. In the discipline of English language arts, digital technology has been enlisted to teach writing, as the word processor and more recently, the World Wide Web, have provided new tools and new publishing opportunities for student writers. The presence of digital technology is less pronounced, however, in literature instruction in secondary schools. In both theoretical and practical discussions of digital technology and literature, the two mediums have been conceived as radically different. This dissertation argues that the digital medium, and more specifically the World Wide Web, can support literature instruction at the secondary level. It begins by identifying two central concerns that have marked historical and contemporary approaches to literature instruction: concern for the text and concern for the reader. Next, through an examination of hypertext, it proposes that the digital medium can meet both concerns, and supplies a theoretical model for implementing digital technology in the literature curriculum.
Subsequent chapters illustrate how this model functions in a practical context by drawing on action research conducted in a secondary classroom. Specifically, these chapters describe how two Web-based learning tools, the literary MOO and the WebQuest, were used to reinforce reader-oriented and text-oriented literature instruction. The literary MOO, used in conjunction with the novel Brave New World , helped students evoke and elaborate on the story world of the text, make personal connections between the text and their own lives, and discuss the text in an egalitarian and collaborative way. The WebQuest, used in conjunction with the novel Heart of Darkness , helped students learn about critical theory and read the text in an analytical and text-centered way. The dissertation concludes by considering how English language arts teachers might best be trained to integrated Web-based technology. Drawing on case studies of four intern teachers, this final chapter argues that teacher educators must equip their students to use technology in ways that are practical, as well as theoretically sound.
The effect of the WebQuest Writing Instruction on EFL learners' writing performance, writing apprehension, and perception
Chuo, Tun-Whei Isabel, Ed.D., La Sierra University, 2004, 176 pages;
Recent years have seen growing enthusiasm for exploiting the Internet's potential in language teaching and learning. Capable of providing rich, real language input through interactive hypermedia functions, web resources promise to bring about positive learning outcomes that traditional classroom materials alone cannot achieve. To effectively integrate web resources into EFL (English as a Foreign Language) writing instruction, the researcher designed the WebQuest Writing Instruction (WWI) on the basis of the WebQuest model with an assumption that such a pedagogical model supports major learning and second language acquisition theories.
This study investigated the effect of the WWI on students' writing performance and writing apprehension. In addition, it examined students' perception of web-resource integrated language learning as experienced in the WWI and sought to determine the relationship between students' perception and the change in their writing performance and writing apprehension over the instruction process.
Students in two junior college second-year classes at a college of foreign languages in southern Taiwan provided the subjects of this study. One class (N = 52), as the control group, received traditional classroom writing instruction. The other class (N = 51), the experimental group, received the WWI. Both groups used the process writing approach. In the control group, teacher-directed oral discussion in the traditional classroom provided the primary writing input. In the experiment group, the WebQuest lessons directed students to surf web resources for writing input. Data collected included a writing performance test and a writing apprehension test administered to both groups and a post-instruction perception questionnaire administered to the experimental group. The research project was conducted within a 14-week period.
The results indicated that the WWI improved students' writing performance significantly more than the traditional writing instruction. The WWI class also experienced significant reduction in writing apprehension; however, no significant difference in reduced apprehension could be found between the WWI class and the control group. In addition, students had a favorable perception of the WWI, recognizing more advantages than disadvantages of language learning through web resources. Nonetheless, no significant correlation could be detected between students' perception and their improved writing performance. Neither was there a significant relationship between students' perception and their reduced writing apprehension.
The findings suggested that integrating web resources into EFL writing instruction, using the WebQuest model, was effective for enhancing students' writing performance and provided a positive learning experience. It is thus recommended that EFL teaching practitioners adopt the WebQuest model in making use of web resources for their instruction. Since very few studies of this kind have been conducted, further research is warranted to shed light on the effectiveness of WebQuest-based pedagogy on EFL learning.
WebQuest design strategies: A case study measuring the effect of the jigsaw method on students' personal agency beliefs, engagement, and learning
Frazee, James Phillip, Ed.D., University of San Diego and San Diego State University, 2004, 186 pages
The WebQuest model continues to grow in popularity, with teachers from around the world and many teacher-educators and experts in the field of educational technology espousing its potential to extend content knowledge and promote higher level thinking. While the model is well received by teachers and students alike, most evidence of its effectiveness is anecdotal, and there is very little in the way of empirical research on the elements that make an effective WebQuest. Furthermore, rich descriptions of how students interact during a well-developed WebQuest are largely absent from the literature. In short, the WebQuest model suffers from a lack of scholarly research which may impede practitioners interested in using this approach to design and deliver effective Web-enhanced instruction.
Successful WebQuests must address three pedagogical design challenges: Enhancing students' personal agency beliefs; sustaining student engagement; and, promoting students' deep understanding and critical thinking. This dissertation was a comparative two-case case study that investigated how one cooperative learning method, Jigsaw, was adapted for use with a WebQuest about living with AIDS . The researcher compared two versions of the WebQuest, one with and one without the addition of the Jigsaw method, and showed how they addressed each design challenge.
Feedback from 89 students participating in two undergraduate history classes revealed significant differences by class in the following important areas: Students in the No Jigsaw class were more likely to use a negative statement to describe the quality of interaction with their teammates post-Jigsaw. Students in the Jigsaw class perceived more strengths and fewer weaknesses with the WebQuest than the No Jigsaw class, and shared more positive and fewer negative remarks regarding overall satisfaction with the WebQuest experience. Perhaps most importantly, students in the Jigsaw class spent significantly less time on task post-Jigsaw when controlling for Midterm Score and prior experience with the content domain. Finally, while students from both classes did equally well on the measures of content learned, the results suggested that the students from the Jigsaw classes were more efficient with the time they spent working on the WebQuest task outside of class.
Preparing teachers to use technology: The WebQuest in the secondary English language arts methods classroom
Dobson, Melinda C., Ph.D., Western Michigan University, 2003, 198 pages;
This study focuses on why and how English language arts methods instructors can integrate WebQuest development into their courses. Behavioral, cognitive, and constructive learning theory are established as a theoretical basis for introducing the WebQuest into the English language arts methods curriculum. Practicing teachers are surveyed about their WebQuest-use to identify positive and negative outcomes of the activity. National and international standards the WebQuest fulfills are identified. This study focuses on how to integrate technology in general into the methods course and then documents the development of the researcher's WebQuest and that of three different secondary English language arts methods classes over three academic semesters. Surveys, course electronic-conference transcripts, questionnaires, and preservice teacher-created WebQuests are the primary sources of evidence.It is determined that preservice English language arts teachers can integrate pedagogical skills and content knowledge into an effective Web-based lesson by creating a WebQuest when given technology support. The WebQuest allows teachers to utilize student-centered learning, cooperative learning, critical thinking activities, and authentic assessment while also tapping into the vast resources on the World Wide Web. The study also documents how three preservice teachers were able to use WebQuests in their intern teaching.
Guidelines for designing inquiry-based learning on the Web: Online professional development of educators
Lim, Byung-Ro, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2001, 272 pages;
This study sought to identify guidelines for designing online inquiry-based learning environments (OILEs) for professional development for teachers. Specific questions were: (1) What design elements are currently being used to facilitate inquiry on the Web, (2) What are the critical characteristics of online inquiry based learning environments, (3) What structure and scaffolding would be necessary to facilitate inquiry on the Web, and (4) What would appropriate design elements be in terms of facilitating inquiry on the Web?
In order to understand online inquiry-based learning environments and articulate design guidelines, three cases that used an inquiry-based learning approach on the Web were selected: WebQuest, Inquiry Page, and the Learning to Teach with Technology Studio. Interviews with designers, developers, and teacher-learners were conducted, in addition to document analyses. Strengths and weaknesses of each case were identified. A model for designing OILEs was first developed, based on principles derived from the case studies. Next, an initial set of more than 60 prescriptive guidelines for designing OILEs was created. Following review by several professionals in the field, guidelines were subsequently revised.
The model has three levels: (1) an inquiry module, (2) a nurturing environment, and (3) a community of inquiry. The design guidelines suggested in this study cover four main areas: (1) assessment of the preconditions, (2) design of an inquiry module, (3) design of a nurturing environment, and (4) design of a community of inquiry. Based on comments by reviewers of the guidelines, unresolved issues were identified. These issues include: (1) asking a right question, (2) promoting ownership, (3) using multiple levels of representations, (4) using national curriculum standards, (5) using a design mode, (6) planning inquiry, (7) carrying out systematic investigation, (8) using inquiry performance, (9) ensuring effective reflection, (10) providing scaffolding, (11) providing resources, (12) using various cognitive tools, (13) developing customized space, and (14) developing a community of inquiry. Also, three other general issues were discussed: (1) visual representation of structure for inquiry, (2) teacher-as-designer approach, and (3) instructional use of OILEs.
Student motivation, self-efficacy and task difficulty in Web-based instruction
Reinhart, Julie Marie, Ph.D., Indiana University, 1999, 132 pages;
This study sought to investigate the relationship between motivation to learn from web-based instruction with task difficulty and self-efficacy. There is a need to study this topic because of the increased use of web-based technologies for educational purposes. The findings of this dissertation work should further our understanding of what influences a student's motivation to learn from web-based instruction.
Sixty-three undergraduate education majors participated in this study. The participants were grouped by their perceptions of self-efficacy with web-based instruction (low, medium and high). They were then randomly assigned to an instructional task that was either of low, medium or high difficulty level. The students were then asked to spend two 50-minute class sessions to complete an assigned instructional task.
There appears to be a positive relationship between students' self-efficacy for web-based instruction and motivation to learn from web-based instruction. This finding is based on the instructional tasks the participants completed. Also, this result is not conclusive and further research needs to be done to either support or reject the finding. Another result suggests that students' motivation to learn from web-based instruction is positively related to achievement with such instruction.
Other findings suggest that the issue of students' control of their learning may not be an important issue for certain types of web-based instructional activities. This is because students' motivation levels and achievement levels do not appear to be significantly related to their 'control of learning beliefs' when they are involved in short-term WebQuest instructional activities.
Finally, the findings suggest that future studies that compare the difficulty levels of instructional tasks should not use hypothetical instructional tasks to measure perceived differences in task difficulty. Future studies should use pilot tests in which the participants actually participate in the instructional activity that they rate.