The Impacts of Online-Resource Based Learning: Does One Size Fit All? Article Critique Example

Armatas, C.; Holt, D; Rice, M.(2003). Impacts of an online supported, resource-based learning environment: does one size fit all? Proquest Education Journals. Vol. 24 No. 2. Pg. 141.


  1. Who was the author(s) of the study? Identify the institutional affiliation of the author(s). (2pts)

The authors of the article include Christine Armatas who is a faculty member of the Health and Behavioural Sciences in Deakin University in Geelong Australia. The other two authors were notable members of the teaching and learning support unit in the same university in the person of Dale Holt and Mary Rice.

  1. What was the title of the article? Does the title meet APA requirements? Justify your answer. (2pts)

The title “Impacts of an online-supported, resource-based learning environment: Does one size fit all” specifically follows the guidelines for titling in consideration with APA style referencing. It could be analyzed that with the definition of the topic discussed in the paper. It does define clearly the main topic and the supporting ideas that further strengthens the issue being presented.

  1. Analyze the reference and identify the journal name, volume number, issue number, and pages for the article. (2pts)

The journal from which the article has been sourced from is the Proquest Education Journals published in its 24th Volume second magazine release noted on page 141.

  1. Where did you obtain the articles (name of electronic database, website url, etc.)? (2pts)

Proquest Education Journals provides a wide array of accessible domain for researchers to find articles such as the one written by Armatas (et al); hence making it the same source for this particular documentation of the study on online distance learning.

  1. Analyze the quality of the abstract using Section 2.04 in the APA Manual and provide the approximate number of words it contains. (The abstract of the study is usually the first paragraph, whether it is marked or not. Do not use the abstract given with the citation material unless it is obvious that there is not an abstract at the beginning of the study. (5pts)

The abstract of this study specifically points out the important elements that make it up hence imposing a clear definition on how it is to be handled and what factors make up the entire context of the research. It also gives a clear glimpse on the procedures or methodologies applied so as to get good data that would support the hypothesis that the researchers want to convene in consideration with the impact of online resource-support applied in the presentation of distance learning on students.


  1. What is the hypothesis or research question of the study?
    (If there is not a hypothesis, it probably does not meet the requirement of being a research article.) (4pts)

The hypothesis in the article is suggested by the lines:

Research, theorizing and practice in the development and use of technologies such as the Internet for educational purposes seem to emanate from two different contexts in the higher education around the globe.

This statement further indicates the position of the paper regarding the impending impact that internet is already having in the course of defining the modern path of education. Relatively, this serves as a guideline for the readers to know where the research is directed to.

  1. What are the independent and dependent variables? (4pts)

The independent variables include gender and age among the participants while the dependent variable includes the courses from where the students are enrolled in. These variables are examined in the research so as to see if there is a relative patter of effect based on the choices of students to study in-school or online and how it directly impacts their culture of learning.

  1. Research Design Questions (8pts)
    • Is the research study qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods? Justify your answer.

The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods which are both evident in the research as the authors tried to measure the impact of the topic based on the behavior of the students alongside their desires and their actual needs as learners from either a distant form of education or in house learning assistance.

  • Name the type of research design used i.e. pre test/ post test control group design, case study, ex post facto.

The research design used for the research included a control group design whereas the results of the test from the online learners are compared with that of the in house learners. Thus evaluating how the different forms of education impact the understanding of the participants concerned in the research.

  1. Sampling Questions (6pts)
    • Identify the number of participants and give a brief description of the sample.

As reported in the research, there were 731 students who agreed to be a part of the study. 58 of these students were enrolled off-campus. There were 602 females in the group and only 109 males. Separated by their courses, these participants were also scaled according to their interests and it has been seemingly observed that among those who enrolled off-campus were older than the on-campus enrolees.  

  • How many groups were used? Did the article describe how participants were assigned to groups? If so, describe here.

Two groups were used for comparison specifically defined by the manner of education and learning that they receive. The consistency of such comparison makes the valuable elements of the study much easier to understand hence making it much easier to evaluate.

  • Explain the methods for sample selection and indicate the number of times data are collected.

The researchers used a one-time examination to see whether or not the interaction of students between an on or off-campus learning creates a specific impact on how the students responded to the lessons they were presented in consideration with the subject they are learning [in this case, psychology].

  1. Explain the instruments used to generate data (numbers, scores) including methods employed to establish reliability and validity of the instrument. (4pts)

To manifest the comparison, there had been several aspects of definition that were used by the researchers. Namely, these aspects of definition include (a) Reported Study Patterns; (b) Preferred Study Media; (c) Accessing and Using the Coursework through the Learning Management System; (d) Using the Communication Tools and Web Links in the Learning Management System; (e) Computer Attitude Scales; (f) Learning Goal, Study Strategies and Interest Scales; and (g) Use of Optional and Prescribed Resources.

These aspects of comparative measurement were evaluated through statistical differentiation of the test scores of the participants as well as that of their response to a particular survey that was handled by the authors of the study prior to the testing process. Using a multivariate analysis of variance the learning goals and strategy measures [based on age and study-concentration] makes the entire research a dependable source of information in line with the need to clarify whether or not internet-based learning does help increase the competence and interest oaf learner rather than the traditional way of teaching and learning in a physical class.


The Dependence on APA Style

  1. APA guides the writer in the format of the paper. Using your article identify and explain the basics elements of APA style. (For example: reference format and citations; header; levels of headings; order of pages; margins; alignment; spacing; typeface; use of numbers, etc.) Be very thorough. For each APA element mentioned indicate the APA Manual section and page number where the element was discussed. (10pts)


First to note is that of the title; APA style research defines the title as the primary summary of the entire study wherein the author/s intend to create a clear presentation of the study itself especially in line with the need to consider what they are trying to discover in the research. Notably, the authors of this study were able to consider such pattern. Another is that of the use of an abstract to present a preface of the study. This research specifically made use of the said element of research hence creating a more indicative definition of the goal of the study explored in this research. The authors also used headings effectively to separate the concentration of the different parts of the paper which is a highly defined characteristic of APA referencing.


  1. APA suggests sections that should be included in a research report. Review your article and identify and/or explain all parts of the study. Do not define or tell what they should contain, but rather, summarize these sections. (A summary reduces the material to a concise explanation in your own words.) (10pts)

The introductory part specifies the path that the study is to take in line with the desire of pointing out how online learning differs from in-class education and how the said differences of learning approach specifically affect the student’s performance. Notably, these considerations have been further defined in the research through the use of headings. Part of which is that of the focused discussion on what is resource-based learning; what is distance learning; what is online learning and how these matters relate to the traditional way of teaching used in an in-class education presentation.

From this point, the researchers branched out in reassessing their resources based on the process or methodology that they intended to use to prove their claims especially regarding the importance of student motivation and student response to the subjects that they are presented with in class. The definition of the methodologies specifically sever as a guide that specifically notes the process from which the authors are to derive their conclusion about the primary impact of online learning on modern learners at present.

As they conclude their findings and discussions, the researchers found out that learning success specifically comes from student motivation and willingness. Affected by their age and their understanding on the importance of learning students respond differently to education; on the other end, online resources or online-based learning did not seem to have that much of a different impact on the part of the students. Relatively, these findings show that their methodologies have proven that the relation between learning success and learning process vary based on age and realization of learning importance on the part of the students which play a greater role in assuring that one actually gets the proper learning that he or she needs from class.

  1. Is the reference list done correctly according to APA guidelines and is there a reference for every piece of material cited in the study? Is every reference properly cited in the paper? Provide examples to justify your answer. (4pts)

Although the authors did utilize proper referencing procedures, especially when it comes to notably referencing the sources of the information that they used in the research, the pattern they used in citing the references appears to be more of an MLA approach than the APA pattern since they did not add in the page number for each referenced material. In the reference page, the same thing could be observed as the title of the materials were not italized as based from basic APA guideline.

Overall Quality of Research

  1. State the limitations of the study (i.e., maturation, regression, history, subject characteristics, data collector characteristics); these should be acknowledged in the study or inferred from your knowledge about the threats to validity. (3pts)

Although the researchers did use actual sample data from the participants who agreed to undergo the research proceedings, it could be analyzed that simply basing the measurement of online learning effectiveness based on student attitude and the test results would not suffice the required explanation on the matter. The authors should have considered estimating why the students chose the internet as their primary source of learning and why others chose to stay within the traditional grounds of education. Learning the rationale behind this phenomenon directly from the students gives an in depth understanding as to whether or not they think internet-based learning is helpful or not and likely would impose on how they view the same thing later on after actually engaging in the said form of getting education.

  1. Analyze the use of ethical procedures or absence thereof. (Is any mention made of informed consent or permission to conduct the study?) If not, what procedures would have been appropriate?) (5pts)     

Ethical measures have not been duly considered in this research as it did not involve any defined concentration on going through the personal thoughts or opinions of the participants. Remaining balanced in their sources of data, the researchers focused on measuring the effects of internet-based learning as well as the attitude of the students towards the matter through the use of the evaluation of the test score-comparisons and the survey process.

  1. Analyze the qualities of the research in terms of worth. Was the topic clearly written, relevant, and a contribution to educational knowledge? (This should be an in-depth exploration of what you discovered as you read and should be between 150-200 words.) (10 pts)

The authors were careful enough to handle the topic in a more refined indication of what the issue is about and who are the primary stakeholders of its exploration. The modern culture of getting education has become a worldwide phenomenon that the society embraces today. This then does not only make the discussion of the research accurate, it also makes it interesting especially for those currently trying to think about the said matter.

Quotations and Phrases

  1. Quote a passage of fewer than 40 words directly from the article as though it were the first time you had cited the article. Be sure to use appropriate punctuation and reference citation format. (5 pts)

“The aim of the current study was to investigate differences between students as a function of age and mode of study with respect to their reported use and perceived value of the online-supported RBL environment” (Armatas, et al, 2003, p 146).

  1. Paraphrase the quotation from the previous question as though you had cited it in a previous paragraph. Use the appropriate punctuation and reference citation format. (5 pts)

Armatas (2003) and his colleagues hoped to investigate the different impacts of online-supported RBL environment teaching process between students based on the function of age as well as the mode of study that they use in learning (146).

  1. Quote a passage of 40 or more words directly from the article as if you had cited it in a previous paragraph. Be sure to use appropriate punctuation and reference citation format. (5 pts)

“Given these differences, off-campus students were expected to have stronger learning goals and well-defined study strategies. In contrast, the on-campus students were expected to be less certain about their learning goals and learning strategies and possibly less positive and more anxious about using computers” (Armatas, et al, 2003, 146).