CCE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Laurie P Dringus

Committee Member

Steven Terrell

Committee Member

Richard D Manning


autism, discrete trial training, DTT, electronic data collection, handheld device, special education


The purpose of the current study was to determine the efficiency of an electronic data collection method compared to a traditional paper-based method in the educational field, in terms of the accuracy of data collected and the time required to do it. In addition, data were collected to assess users' preference and system usability. The study included a sample of 20 preschool special educators from the Mailman Segal Center's Baudhuin Preschool and Autism Institute located in Davie County, Florida, who conduct daily data collection and analysis.

The study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to determine answers to five research questions. These were, (1) to what extent is electronic data collection faster than traditional paper-based data collection, (2) to what extent does electronic data collection aid special education teachers and paraprofessionals to collect more accurate data than traditional paper-based data collection, (3) to what extent is the use of electronic data collection result in significant time savings relative to traditional paper-based data collection during data graphing, (4) to what extent do specialists prefer either data collection method and for what reasons, and (5) to what extent do specialists rate the usability of the handheld device used for electronic data collection.

Results suggested that both formats are comparable in terms of data collection time F(1, 18) = 3.53, p = .077 and accuracy, F(1, 18) = .928, p = .348 but that electronic data graphing is faster (M = 40.4, SD = 2.17) than paper-based graphing (M = 80.4, SD = 52.61). A higher percentage of participants (60%) preferred the electronic-based data collection method due to its graphing capability and better organization of data. The electronic data collection system used in this study was found to be more usable than 86.8% of all products tested using the System Usability Scale (SUS) and, therefore, could be considered a "C" or at an "acceptable" level or "good" relative to the other 200+ systems tested using the SUS by Bangor, Kortum, and Miller (2009). The electronic-based data collection system could also be considered an "A-" based on Sauro and Lewis' (2012) scale.

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