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Educational Evaluation (University of Cambridge & University of East Anglia)

Project Summary

The project involves the establishment of a research archive of educational case studies drawing on the work of participants from around the world in the 'Cambridge Conferences', on educational evaluation which have been taking place since 1972. A selected set of case studies, together with the case records upon which they draw and a range of other contextual data will allow users of the archive to engage critically with case studies which in many instances have played a role in defining the aims and methods of qualitative educational research.

The policy and methodological contexts of the case studies will be documented and further developed through a series of interviews with the researchers responsible for their production, and which will become a key element of the archive. These interviews and other data would then form the basis of a 'grounded', domain-specific descriptive vocabulary to complement and extend existing keyword sets and vocabularies. Users of the archive (researchers, teachers and students of research methods) would then be able to interrogate data, methodology and analysis related to the case studies from a range of starting points.

The archive will be constructed using the D-Space digital repository and the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) hosted at the University of Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET) with user access via a suite of 'Semantic Web' applications. This will allow not only resource description and discovery, but will also provide a basis for the resources to be presented to the widest possible range of users through a range of web interfaces. These are novel but well-supported and robust technologies and have already been used in support of current educational research projects within the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme. The Principal Investigator (Carmichael) has had considerable experience in introducing novel technologies into environments in which users, while experts in their own fields, are not high-end users of IT. Much of the technical infrastructure described in this proposal would in fact be 'hidden' from research participants and users and a key role of the Project Researcher would be mediating and supporting the use of technology in support of the broader project objectives.

The intention of the project is not only to develop an archive of context-rich and significant case studies, but also to model a replicable process by which other archives could be developed in fields where complex, case-based data need to be securely archived but also retrieved, extended and combined in innovative ways.

Educational Evaluation web site

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