Diffusion of the Personal Computer Innovation in Public High Schools: A Mixed Methods Approach


Based on the work of E.M. Rogers regarding the diffusion of innovations (i.e. change), the study described in this case was designed and conducted to test the relationships of key psychological variables on the participants’ (high school teachers) behavior regarding the degree of personal computer use. The merger of specific quantitative and qualitative methods allowed for the quantification and comparison of the key variables while providing a rich understanding of the history and current context relative to the innovation in question. The study led to the conclusion that an individual’s perceptions of and confidence with an innovation are clearly connected to the decision to use it. However, as Rogers noted, the conditions and characteristics of the decision-making unit also clearly impact the rate of diffusion of this innovation with teachers. The combination of research methods makes the mixed methods approach particularly useful for studying psychological issues.

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