According to Maxwell (2005) qualitative research is the system of enquiry that attempts to establish a largely narrative and holistic descriptions to enable the researcher understand about a given social phenomenon. The researcher decided to use a qualitative research design for this social phenomenon since it is conducted within natural settings with the use of interviews, documents reviews, and observations which can be used at the same time. In this case, a researcher is actively involved to interact with respondents, hence gathering first hand information which is reliable.
Therefore a qualitative research design is a plan for gathering and utilizing the qualitative data for the desired information to be obtained with adequate precision or in order for the null hypothesis to be tested in the right way. Qualitative research makes use of inquiry orientation which covers many forms of inquiry (Punch, 2005). The forms of inquiry include naturalistic inquiry, field study, interpretative research, case study, ethnography, participant observation, and inductive research. These forms of inquiry facilitates understanding and explaining the significance of social phenomena with very little disturbance to the natural settings if any (Ryan, 2007).
This research was developed to determine how computer interaction negatively affects teenagers socially. The research targeted a population of fifty-two high school students, whose ages ranged between 15 to 17 years, therefore representing teenage population. A visit was made to the place of research before the real study for the researcher to introduce herself to the concerned authority and the students concerned, as well as to obtain the background information that covers the research topic. This was important because the researcher needed to familiarize herself with the concerned individual at the place of study. Naturalistic inquiry orientation was found necessary because the entire exercise was aimed at examining situations in the real-world with little or no disturbance to the participants (Ryan, 2007).
Criterion-based or purposeful sampling was used in due course of the research to gather primary information from the field. According to Nastasi & Schensul (2005), the purposeful sampling is used to gather samples whose characteristics are relevant to research questions. Sampling refers to the selection of unit, settings, and individuals to be studied. Homogeneous sampling strategy was used because the research was conducted on a population constituting exclusively boys. This type of sampling strategy simplifies analysis, reduces variation, and facilitates interviewing of groups. The sample size of fifty-two students was large such that it allowed for the identification of consistence in the findings hence valid results. According to Ritchie & Lewis (2003), large sample sizes discourage the occurrence of biases and research errors.
The researcher administered questionnaires to students which they filled in. This method of data collection ensured that the students were not disturbed, because even those students who had verbal communication and socialization problems contributed by providing the necessary information. Use of questionnaires was a significant step toward ethical protection of participants. According to the student responses, the major mode of communication they used among themselves was chatting over the Facebook site. This mode of communication was the most common because of the cheaper introduced internet broadband. Most students also had personal computers in their rooms. Students were found to spend most of their free time logged in to Facebook. Face-to-face type of communication was found rare among students and with their teachers and parents, because the students had already developed socialization problems. The academic performance of the students was found low. This was because the students could not adequately socialize with their teachers, and as well they could not get enough time to review their class notes.