Longitudinal Student Research Competency: Comparing Online and Traditional Face-to-Face Learning Platforms


  • Jodi Constantine Brown California State University, Northridge
  • Hyun-Sun Park




distance learning, knowledge retention, research self-efficacy


This exploratory research compares longitudinal research self-efficacy and retention between a completely asynchronous Master of Social Work (MSW) online cohort and its traditional face-to-face counterpart. This study used a non-equivalent comparison groups design with two groups: online instruction only (n=16) and traditional face-to-face instruction (n=32), with pretest (Time 1), posttest (Time 2) and follow-up (Time 3) standardized measures of practice evaluation knowledge (PEKS) and research self-efficacy (RSES) in a beginning research methods course. Results indicate that students’ knowledge and research self-efficacy improved between pretest and posttest and remained significantly improved at follow-up one year later, with no significant difference between online learners and traditional face-to-face students. Students gain and maintain confidence in research methods and evaluation regardless of the learning platform utilized.

Author Biographies

Jodi Constantine Brown, California State University, Northridge

Associate Professor, Director of Online and Offsite Programs, Department of Social Work

Hyun-Sun Park

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work