I have reached a new learning challenge and blog task for LiDA 101. I am planning a critical essay on the research question: Can online open education resources reduce educational inequalities? In the lead-in to writing the essay, I am reviewing approaches to evaluating online sources of information.
My task today is to write a blog post evaluating an open-access source of information relating to my research question, ideally, a peer-reviewed article. I have selected a research article authored by Croteau (2017) “Measures of student success with textbook transformations: the Affordable Learning Georgia Initiative”. I found the article by searching the Database of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The article was published in the Open Praxis Journal, a peer-reviewed scholarly open access journal, owned by the International Council For Distance and Open Education.
To evaluate the above article, I will be applying the “CARS Checklist for Online Source Evaluation” (Harris, 2016), which I will apply as a broad guide to evaluate the credibility, accuracy, reasonableness, and support for claims made in the article that link to my research question. I have presented the checklist below as an infographic.
I found the article by searching the Database of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). It was published in Open Praxis, a peer-reviewed scholarly open access journal owned by the International Council For Distance and Open Education (ICDE). The Open Praxis website states “Research articles and innovative practice articles are subject to double-blind peer review by a minimum of two Reviewers and ICDE will ensure global representation in the choice of Reviewers.” The article’s author Dr Emily Croteau is a Senior Academic Coordinator at the University of Kentucky. The author’s professional email address is stated on the front page of the published article; she features on the University of Kentucky’s website in the staff section.
Harris 2016, states “The goal of the accuracy test is to assure that the information is actually correct: up to date, factual, detailed, exact, and comprehensive”. Croteau’s article is recent, published in 2017, and uses data collected in 2015. The purpose of the article is to answer the research question “is using OER associated with a change in student learning outcomes?” (Croteau, 2017, p.96). findings from a range of recent studies that are negative, neutral, and positive about the impact of OER on students’ learning outcomes are cited, providing the study’s context and where it sits within the current body of related research literature. Research methods, data analysis, results, and conclusions are explained in detail, including critical discussion of findings and potential confounding variables.
The claims made in the article are reasonable, supported by data, and very believable. As mentioned above, differing research findings are presented and analysed. This is done in a clear, calm and objective manner without any obvious bias.
As previously mentioned the article was published in the Open Praxis Journal. Additionally, the study can be found via DOAJ and ERIC, two quality controlled academic databases of peer-reviewed scholarly research articles. Further, Croteau’s article is also cited on the Affordable Learning Georgia website. Croteau also cites a number of peer-reviewed studies that found using ORE had no effect on students’ learning outcomes, thus corroborating her research results.
The article fares well across credibility, accuracy, reasonableness, and supports criteria of the CARS checklist. I will use it as a source, with many others, in my pending critical essay assignment.
Affordable Learning Georgia (n.d.) ALG Statistics, Research, and Reports. Retrieved from https://www.affordablelearninggeorgia.org/about/reports
Croteau, E. (2017). Measures of student success with textbook transformations: the Affordable Learning Georgia Initiative. Open Praxis, 9(1). 93–108. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.9.1.505
Database of Open Access Journals (n.d.) How do we define ‘Open Access Journal’, ‘Quality Control’, ‘Research Journal’ and ‘Periodical’?. Retrieved from: https://doaj.org/faq#definition
ERIC Institute of Education Sciences (n.d.). Selection Policy. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?selection
Harris, R. (2016). Evaluating Internet Research Sources.Retrieved from https://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm
Open Praxis (n.d.). Editorial Policies. Retreived from https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/about/editorialPolicies#sectionPolicies.