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some jotted notes, LM 2009-03-20

In resopnse to the question about the differences between:

  • eResearch in education

  • eResearch for education

  • Education for eResearch

  • (Educational) research for education and e-research

eResearch in education

School students should be modern knowledge-builders and school curriculum should be based on knowledge, ways inquiry and tools of investigation that are relevant for present day and future society/science/economy. Students and teachers should have access to the same data, methods and tools for conducting scientific investigations as modern research communities do. Current school curriculum is essentially based on the knowledge and ways of inquiry that can’t produce knowledge relevant for contemporary society. The gap between school science and “real” science is as never big; and students do not find motivating and challenging to learn knowledge that is not relevant for present day world. Present eResearch infrastructures have been created almost exclusively for “big real” science and are not accessible neither for teachers nor for students. In order to make learning relevant and engaging for school students we need to make knowledge generated by eResearch as well as eResearch methods and tools available for schools. In other words we need to integrate eReseach in education.


Recently published NSF agenda “Fostering Learning in the Networked World” deserves attention for at least several reasons. First, it puts the learning sciences at the centre of the cyberlearning agenda. Second, it takes the opportunities to improve education by harnessing and using scientific and learning data seriously.

The Two Data Deluges: Opportunities and Threats

"Among the greatest benefits—and challenges— of cyberinfrastructure is the deluge of scientific data <….> Today’s highly instrumented science and engineering research is generating data at far greater rates and volumes than ever before possible. In addition, as more human communication takes place in the networked world for education, commerce, and social activity, an extensive digital trace is being created, a deluge of behavioral data. These data are extremely valuable for modeling human activity and for tailoring responses to the individual…” (24)

Will this open a door for eResearch in education and for education?


eResearch Australasia 2008 will be held 29 September - 1 October at the Sebel and Citigate Hotels, Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia.
Refereed papers now available in the conference proceedings. More papers to be added.


5th International Conference on e-Social Science - in collaboration with GESIS (German Social Science Infrastructure Services)

24 - 26 June 2008, Maternushaus, Cologne.

Paper abstracts: 26 January 2009.
Workshop, tutorial and panel outlines: 23 February 2009.
Poster and demo abstracts: 23 March 2009.

The 9th bi-annual International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making
Covent Garden, London, UK
23-26 June, 2009
Jointly organized with the British Computer Society Interaction Specialist Group.

“NDM and Computers”

Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) encapsulates the problems and challenges associated with making decisions in demanding situations. These decisions are often dependent on, or supported by, computing technology. The conference will focus on contemporary research on NDM where interaction with computing technology is an essential feature. It would be interesting to hear of studies where computers have been both a hindrance, and benefit, to NDM. We would like the conference to contribute to our understanding of how computers might ultimately improve NDM. **We also welcome reports of developments in NDM research, including: macro-cognition, cognitive task analysis, micro-macro relationships and alternative approaches.**

Conference website

The Oxford eResearch Conference 2008
Date: 11-13 September 2008
Location: University of Oxford: The Oxford Internet Institute and Oxford e-Research Centre

This multi-disciplinary, international conference on e-Research, use and implications of information and communication technologies (ICTs), like the Internet, in shaping research across the disciplines.

Full papers are here

Seminar: How Learning Design and eResearch could transform Educational Technology?

Prof. James Dalziel of the Macquarie E-learning Centre of Excellence will be visiting CoCo to present the seminar "How Learning Design and eResearch could transform Educational Technology". The event will be held on 20 August from 11-12pm in Rm 230 of the Education Bldg (A35) at the University of Sydney.

For more info see CoCo News Section

Australasian Symposium on Grid Computing and e-Research 2009, Wellington, NZ
(AusGrid 2009) to be held in conjunction with Australasian Computer Science Week

Wellington, New Zealand, Jan 20 - Jan 23, 2009


PS. Not much about education but about e-research and collaboration using the Grid and access grids.

Digital Humanities: Past, Present, Future: A one-day symposium presented by the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney

10am-4pm, Tuesday 2 September 2008, The Gallery, Female Orphan School (building EZ), Parramatta campus, UWS


eResearch Australasia, 28 Sep - 3 Oct 2008 , Melbourne, Australia.


Sent: Thursday, 31 July 2008 4:59 PM
Subject: [Digital Innovation] 01.01.Events in August

1 August: DIU Launch and seminar Why a historian needs the DIU: some informal case-studies
Iain McCalman, Professorial Fellow, Department of History, University of Sydney


Sent: Friday, 1 August 2008 5:02 PM
Subject: Formation of Intersect - the new peak eResearch body for NSW

Dear members of the eResearch community,

I am delighted to inform you of the establishment of Intersect, the new peak eResearch organisation for NSW.
The Intersect proposal was approved by six NSW universities and funding has been provided through the universities and the NSW government. Intersect was formally established as a not-for-profit company on 25thJune. A Board of Directors has been appointed with Professor Mark Wainwright as Chairman, and Dr Michael Briers as interim CEO.


v. 30-06-2008, unpublished draft

The new Labour Government’s educational initiatives with the promises “to turn every secondary school in Australia into a digital school” and “boost the research and development capacity” have triggered a range of new discussions about the implications of new political agendas on educational research. Research-related discussions at the ACER and symposia “A digital education revolution” and the Educational Research Futures task group’s discussions initiated by the AARE and ARDEN are just few such examples to mention.

There has been a lot of action on another digital end of research policy and practice, called “e-research”. Among many others, the key developments over the last two years include the release of the Australian E-Research Strategy , the Strategic Roadmap and Investment Plan and the recent announcement of the Roadmap’s Review . These developments, however, have been almost unnoticed by the educational research community and education, as a discipline, essentially has been left out from the national e-research strategies and budgets. Why bother?
E-research has already shaped research agendas of many “soft” sciences. E-humanities and e-social social sciences have become important buzzwords in many research funding games and, in some countries, even got dedicated lines in the national research budgets.

E-research in educational research is a different story...


Social and cultural aspects of e-research, grid and/or cyberinfrastructure become increasingly an attractive research topic for social scientists and cultural anthropologists. It is not surprising why. Interesting and important research themes can be found almost on the surface of e-research phenomenon. As an example, at least two research questions are represented in the following titles of the papers presented at e-research conferences this year:

  • M. Daw, R. Procter, Y. Lin, T. Hewitt, W. Jie, A. Voss, K. Baird, A. Turner, M. Birkin K. Miller, W. Dutton, M. Jirotka, R. Schroeder, G. de la Flor, P. Edwards, R. Allan, X. Yang, R. Crouchley (2007) Developing an e-Infrastructure for Social Science. Paper presented at the Third international conference on e-social science, Ann Arbor, MI, US. URL

Question 1: Is there a limit for productive collaboration?

  • J. Dalziel, C. Nguyen, R. Warouw (2007) Macquarie University: ASK-OSS, DRAMA and RAMS: eResearch support from MELCOE. Paper presented at the E-Research Australasia 2007. Brisbane. URL

Question 2: Is there a limit for effective(?) technical communication?


Last week some e-science websites published the following exciting news:

“Prestigious Prix Europa award has been won by the BBC Climate Change Experiment, in which the BBC and the Oxford-run project worked together and encouraged over 250,000 people to donate computer time to the world's largest climate modelling experiment…” ( news 22-Oct-2007)


"To design one is nothing,
To build one is easy,
To fly one is everything."

(Otto Lilienthal)

The UK PolicyGrid tries to design and implement a middleware infrastructure that supports policy-related research activities based on social science research. The project called “Semantic Grid Tools for Rural Policy Development & Appraisal” (nb. it’s not difficult to imagine similar policy grid for educational policy decision-making and research). The design of the middleware is based on the provenance architecture. It requires to provide a 'thick' description of the contextual information that allows to interpret data and resources adequately (e.g., Who, What, Where, Why, When, Which and How the resource was created). The concept of the Semantic Grid is central to the design of this project.

Challenging idea?


The US Association for Institutional Research is quite serious about utilising their data archives and improving research in postsecondary educational institutions. This fellowship program for attending the Summer Data Policy Institute (June 8 - 15, 2008) and learning how to use their postsecondary education databases is open for researchers form all countries. (NB. The AIR's databases might be a useful resource for comparative educational research.)

Core URLs:
  • AIR's web site: URL
  • Program description: URL
  • SPIN link: URL

Other related links and thoughts are in the blog


All right. Let’s face it: “Today’s research community must assume responsibility for building a robust data and information infrastructure for the future” (p.1). Recently the group of QUT researchers produced the report that analyses the legal aspects of research data infrastructures and provides some suggestions how to build it:

  • Fitzgerald, A. & Pappalardo, K. (2007). Building the infrastructure for data access and reuse in collaborative research: An analysis of the legal context. Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project. URL


“This Report examines the legal framework within which research data is generated, managed, disseminated and used. <…> The Report considers how these legal rules apply to define rights in research data and regulate the generation, management and sharing of data. The Report also describes and explains current practices and attitudes towards data sharing. A wide array of databases is analysed to ascertain the arrangements currently in place to manage and provide access to research data. Finally, the Report encourages researchers and research organisations to adopt proper management and legal frameworks for research data outputs…” (CreativeCommons, 12-09-2007).


This blog complements the earlier blog Data repository for teacher education.

It's worth noticing that the need for a database for enhancing teaching and school leadership is one of the five core recommendations in the recently published Australian's Institute's for Teaching and School Leadership report “Teaching and leading for quality Australian schools” (Zammit et al., 2007, pp. 40-43).

“Much research has been conducted investigating the so-called ‘knowledge society’ in which knowledge production, knowledge transfer and knowledge networking have emerged as critical capabilities. However, as Fullan (2002) reported, historically schools have been weak at knowledge building and sharing. It is important to identify not only the data needed by classroom practitioners and school and system leaders, but also how best to engage educators and policy makers in collecting, using and sharing evidence to improve teaching practice and student outcomes. Moreover, through research the teaching profession can participate in shaping its own directions and contribute to the development of policy, practice and frameworks of excellence." (Zamitt et al., 2007, 40).


An interesting scoping study called "Data Repository for Teacher Education" (Australian Council of Deans of Education) was funded by the Carrick Institute In the beginning of the year. This is probably one of the first signs of a ‘serious’ e-research in Australian education.


Most of the projects and online methodological resources produced under the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Researcher Development Initiative (RDI) are a great asset for social scientists, particularly those who are interested in e-research.

One of recently made available resources includes self-learning materials for those UK researchers who want to use international databases “The Linking International Macro and Micro Data”. Some of these materials are accessible for everyone (not databases however).


A summary of a collection of strategies to assist organisations overcome the challenges of integrating innovative technology into their teaching and training processes has been published. what matters – innovate and integrate reviews research findings, identifies potential obstacles to innovation and outlines steps that can ease the introduction and integration of technology into education and training organisations.

A full copy of the research "Innovate and Integrate: Embedding innovative practices" can be found at:

From: SixtySeconds, 6(16) September 2007. URL

The following Axel’s Bruns’s paper, originally published in First Monday and summarised this week in CreativeEconomy, caught my attention for its research tools and methodology.

  • Axel Bruns (2007) Methodologies for mapping the political blogosphere: An exploration using the IssueCrawler research tool, First Monday, 12(5). URL

This paper studies patterns of interaction in blogosphere using network mapping tool IssueCrawler. Many other similar methodologies and internet research tools are available (and usually for free). Social researchers employ them broadly and provide valuable information about virtual communities and social networks (e.g., see First Monday for other ideas).

What do we know about educational virtual communities and networks? Not many of them probably thrive, nevertheless they do exist. Research issues and tools are available. Answers are missing.


If somebody argued that e-research is quite common practice in social and educational research, I probably would agree. Well, at least one method – online surveys – is quite common in current social research practices.

If somebody argued that social e-research is not supported and social e-research methods are not thought at universities, I probably would agree too. Well, at least I know two research-intensive universities that currently do not have a standard platform for doing online surveys for academic research (Ref1). Have you ever heard that online research methods would be covered in university research method courses?

Nevertheless, I was quite successful finding two good academic websites with self-learning materials, references and other resources dedicated to online survey method.

  • Exploring Online Research Methods Incorporating TRI-ORM: URL

  • WebSM – Web Survey Methodology: URL

More resources and links for those who want to do online survey are in the blog.


This entry complements the earlier blog about the British perspectives on innovation in education. Recently NESTA (The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) produced an interesting report analysing the innovation systems in six ‘low innovation’ sectors.
  • Policy & Research Unit. (2007). Hidden innovation: How Innovation happens in six 'low innovation' sectors. UK, London: NESTA. URL

Education, together with oil production, construction, retail banking, civil legal services and rehabilitation of offenders, is among those six.

The British report examines whether these sectors really perform so poor in innovation or whether traditional indicators (e.g., investment in R&D) do not capture all of the innovation that takes place in these sectors. While there is some evidence that some innovation processes in education are ‘hidden’ and traditional performance metrics probably fail to capture a broad variety of local development-led innovations in schools, the flaws in the innovation system are also obvious.

The main ideas from this report about the 'hidden innovation' and innovation system in education are summarised in this blog.


It seems, that the idea to use iPod generation technologies for scientific dissemination attracts increasingly more public attention. The news about SciVee website, discussed in one of the blogs before, have been reappearing in various sources: InformationWeek, The Wired Campus.


“Education is integral to the story we now tell of global competitiveness through innovation. But innovation still has an uncertain place within education” (Bentley & Gillinson, 2007, p. 4).

Over the European summer British researchers produced several interesting reports on innovation in education. One of them:

  • Bentley, T., & Gillinson, S. (2007). A D&R system for education. UK: Innovation unit. URL.

Drawing on the innovation practices from education and other domains, the report outlines the core features of successful innovation systems and essential elements of an innovation system for education. “Greater support for the involvement of teachers and school leaders” and “importance of users and collaborative development in generating and spreading innovation” are the main recurring ideas in this publication. In essence the authors stress the need for a shift from Research and Development (R&D) to Development and Research (D&R). Risk management and the need for new ICT-based platforms for educational innovation are other two emerging themes.

More ideas and citations from this report are in the blog.


Data mining or Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD) is the process of discovering hidden patterns and knowledge within large amounts of data and making predictions of individual outcomes and behaviours. Data mining techniques are well acknowledged in banking, retail and many other commercial service sectors for their power helping to understand consumer individuality and improve individualised services. How data mining is applied for understanding learners’ needs and personalising learning?

The ideas summarised in this blog mainly come from two papers about educational data mining:

  • Zhao, C.-M., Luan, J. L. (2006). Data mining: Going beyond traditional statistics. New Directions for Institutional Research, 131, 7-16. URL
  • Romero, A. C., & Ventura, S. (2007). Educational data mining: A survey from 1995 to 2005. Journal of Expert Systems with Applications, 33, 135-146. URL


This blog is a blend of the facts, ideas and visions from two E-research Australasia presentations about scientific publishing and dissemination of research data and results. The ideas and examples come from two science domains: astronomy and computational biology. At the end there are some quick observations and thoughts about recent trends in educational dissemination.


  • Phil Bourne: Thoughts on the future of scientific dissemination. URL
  • Alex Szalay: Science in an Exponential World. URL


This information about USQ SII Road Show was distributed via e-research mailing list. There are quite a few presentations related to the educational research. The announcement and abstracts of the projects are below (all republished from the program/website).
We are please to announce that registrations are now being accepted for the 'Merri at USQ - The USQ SII Projects Road Show' at the following: The Road Show will be held in the following cities in August 2007: Melbourne, 16 August Sydney, 17 August Perth, 20 August Adelaide, 22 August 2007.


This entry is an eclectic summary of the key trends in scientific research methodologies, technologies and practices followed by some reflections about the state of the art and future of the educational research. Essentially this blog is a mashup of ideas from three unrelated in a structured world readings and some outsider's thoughts that link them in a complex world.


  • Alex Szalay: Science in an Exponential World. Paper presented at eResearch Australasia Conference, Brisbane, 26-29 June 2007. URL
  • OECD: Evidence in Education: Linking Research and Policy, 12/06/2007. OECD, CERI. URL
  • Uri Wilensky and Michael J. Jacobson: Complex Systems in Education: Scientific and Educational Importance and Implications for the Learning Sciences. Journal of the Learning Sciences. 2006, Vol. 15, No. 1, Pages 11-34. URL



TechTalks: e-Research Gathers Speed, 17 July 2007. More...

Colloquium in HE: Trying to De-mystify Public Policy for Higher Education, 24 July 2007. More...

Research Fest: Communities and Change, 22-26 October 2007. More...

Note. There is no any link between these talks (except this blog). But links emerge in dialogues, if we listen…

Several potentially useful e-research tools for social and educational researchers were presented at e-research Australasia 2007 conference. Most (all) of them have not been finished yet. Nevertheless, feel free to go ahead and to see the demos or explore prototypes. Here some annotated links.


A collection of links and short summaries of who is doing what in e-research at Go8 universities. The list is not comprehensive, representative and inheritably not objective. Nevertheless, might be useful.

Last updated: 25-07-2007


This week many politicians have been immersed in the debates about a broadband access in Australia. While the focus of this dispute has been on how many Australians (98% vs. 99%) will (should) have an access to a high-speed broadband network, it was a good motive to read and think about education and how educational research could help to embrace all this “fast stuff”. Thus, this entry is about innovation, education, educational research and e-research.


Note: Picture from the Civil Society Institute website (about the logo).
E-research is about e-rights, e-responsibilities, e-access, e-intellectual property, e-privacy, e-etc. I can’t add much to the Jane’s Anderson’s and Kathy’s Bowrey’s paper, annotated this week in AustralianPolicyOnline, but felt that it would be inappropriate to leave it unnoticed in this blog. By providing a solid review of the literature about indigenous cultural property, open access to knowledge and the gap between them in the modern society, this paper also provides a good source for thinking about other legal and moral aspects of e-research in education, social sciences and humanities.

Below is the extract from the paper and URL. Together some more links related to this topic.


Today I found several articles about three Australian middleware development projects (ARROW, DART and ARCHER) funded under the DEST Research Information Infrastructure Initiative (RII).

Treloar A, & Groenewegen, D. (2007). ARROW, DART and ARCHER: A Quiver Full of Research Repository and Related Projects, Ariadne, 51. URL

Paterson, M., Lindsay, D., Monotti, A., Chin, A. (2007). DART: a new missile in Australia’s e-research strategy, Online Information Review, 31 (2), 16-134. DOI 10.1108/14684520710747185. URL

Are they relevant to social research?


This entry is about other aspects of the same, mentioned in the earlier blog, Australian e-Research Strategy and Implementation Framework. This time is about:

Research culture


Recently (May 2007) the Australian Government accepted An Australian e-Research Strategy and Implementation Framework. This document outlines a general vision and strategic plan for the enhancement of e-research capacities in Australia over forthcoming five-year period. I think this document deserves some interest of academic research community too, particularly of those who work in education. This is my first thought about it.

Education for e-research


What is e-research?

Generally speaking "e-research" is research practices enabled by the combination of:
• shared computational power;
• distributed access to large databases; and
• virtual environments for collaborative research work.
Here, you can find the Australian DEST definition of e-research.