Talk:Research in education: Open and networked practices

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Thanks for moving this back,Leigh Rnfitzgerald 22:55, 21 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

And thanks to James, for moving it out into the main wiki and working the structure over --Leighblackall 23:59, 22 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Abstract (submitted)[edit source]

This is what was submitted. Need to work it into the page. References are embedded, but not displayed in this talk page.. --Leighblackall 23:59, 22 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

eResearch in education: Open and networked practices and the rise of the citizen researcher

Robert Fitzgerald, Leigh Blackall, Keith Lyons and James Neill,

University of Canberra

Networked technologies combined with the ethics of openness offer unprecedented opportunities for improving access to digital information, facilitating communication, and helping researchers to ask and address new questions in new ways[1]. For many universities, however, eResearch is focused on providing digital repositories which document and distribute scholarly articles and other research outputs, but with limited consideration of how research processes might become more accessible. One of the barriers to opening up academic research is that it is often constructed as a specialised activity undertaken by experts pursuing "higher goals of truth and truthfulness"[2]. Gough argues that the focus on truth distracts us from what we don’t know and that the reduction of ignorance may be a more useful approach to research than the search for truth[3]. Open data is critical to open, networked research. Open management practices are arguably desirable as well, particularly if volunteers are to be attracted to work on large data sets and to trust lead researchers enough to help organise, gather and interpret information. Complimenting participatory research projects are web services that assist people and organisations to build investment and social capital around their proposals. Key elements of the emergent open, networked research culture are openness, transparency, digital formats, asynchronicity, and a tolerance for anonymity and open participation. But as in any culture, there is also a darker side, such as the presence of bullying, trolling, fickleness, new and opache hierarchies, prejudices, group think and cultish behaviours[4]. In an increasingly complex and commodified world, the application of large-scale, collaborative networks to identify knowledge ‘blind spots’ may be vital to help reduce our collective ignorance. The affordances of network technologies to support new forms of collaborative knowledge construction[5] may engage citizens in practices traditionally the preserve of the expert, particularly when based on ethic of openness. Such a scholarly research/learning should encourage and allow for the rise of the citizen educational researcher who will want to ask their own questions and generate their own data. These research citizens will build their own smart tools for sense-making and theory building. To ensure the most productive partnerships between expert and citizen researchers, we will need a new generation of social research tools and deeper adoption of practices in order to support large-scale democratisation of the research in ways that ensure all have the right to research.

Key Words

eResearch, participatory research, democratisation, digital technologies

  1. National Science Foundation. (2008). Fostering learning in the networked world: The Cyberlearning opportunity and challenge. A 21st century agenda for the National Science Foundation. Arlington: NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning. Retrieved from, 24.
  2. 6 Gough, N. (2002). Ignorance in environmental education research. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 18, 19-26.
  3. Ibid
  4. Keen, A. (2007). The cult of the amateur: How the democratization of the digital world is assaulting our economy, our culture, and our values. New York: Doubleday.
  5. Fitzgerald, R.N & Findlay, J. (2011). Collaborative research tools: Using wikis and team learning systems to collectively create new knowledge. In S. Hesse-Biber (Ed.), Handbook of emergent technologies and social research. Oxford University Press, Boston.