Waikato Journal of Education


remote data collection techniques
ethical practices in research
distance learning
Covid-19 lockdown
nursery school education

How to Cite

Fenmachi, E. A. (2022). New approaches to data collection with research participants: Distance learning in Cameroon. Waikato Journal of Education, 27(2), 73–78. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v27i2.933


This article draws from a larger doctoral study that examines parents' and teachers' perceptions of parental involvement in early childhood learning. The Covid-19 lockdown happened on March 18, 2020, in Cameroon before data collection was completed, therefore presenting an opportunity to investigate home-school relationships during this period. The private nursery school's initiative in organising distance learning during the lockdown was unexpected, considering Cameroon is a lower-middle-income country where most families struggle to afford digital tools for online learning. Thus, I was interested in finding out perceptions of how this was achieved. New approaches for data collection were adopted using WhatsApp messaging and Zoom interviews with parents and teachers; WhatsApp messaging was especially chosen to suit participants' needs in this context. The head teacher was recruited as a teacher-researcher who elicited children's stories through conversation and drawing techniques. There were challenges in renegotiating participants' consent and setting Zoom interviews due to differences in time zones and poor network connectivity. After data collection, retrospective ethical approval was sought to include the additional information in my research. The insights gained from the study can be helpful for researchers concerning emergency response strategies in data collection, steps for gaining further ethical approval and adding knowledge on research methodology about online data collection.


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