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population and 3.15 (M) for the community college online student population. Minority

students comprised 12.70% of online enrollments while 23.35% of total student

enrollments at the Midwestern community college during the 2008-09 academic year.

The validity in this study was maintained by triangulating the data gathered using

the online interviews and comparing them to the quantitative data gathered from the pre

and posttest results as well as the classroom community scale. The data was also

triangulated between participants in the beginning Spanish class and the intermediate

Spanish class. According to Hatch (2002), ―Triangulation of unobtrusive data with data

from other sources is one way to improve confidence in reporting findings based on such

information‖ (p. 121). Also, negative case analysis was used by illuminating several of

the negative cases which were in contrast to the themes gathered. These cases were

intentionally sought since they did not fit the themes and so that the research provides a

complete picture of the data. Examples of these are found in the findings section under

the appropriate theme.

Qualitative researchers are responsible for the accuracy of qualitative data

(Creswell, 2003). To ensure reliability and validity, the verification procedures employed

in this study are:

  • 1.

    Clarification. The researcher‘s reflexivity (attitudes, prejudices and biases) may influence the interpretation of the study (Creswell, 2003).

  • 2.

    Transferability. Themes will come from descriptions and codes found in the data. (Creswell, 2003).

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