Big data and educational research

Part of book or chapter of book English OPEN
Beneito-Montagut, Roser (2017)
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Subject: H1 | HM | L1

Big data and data analytics offer the promise to enhance teaching and learning, improve educational research and progress education governance. This chapter aims to contribute to the conceptual and methodological understanding of big data and analytics within educational research. It describes the opportunities and challenges that big data and analytics bring to education as well as critically explore the perils of applying a data driven approach to education. Despite the claimed value of the increasing amounts of large and complex data sets and the growing interest in making sense of them there is still limited knowledge on big data and educational research. Over the last decades, the developments on information and communication technologies are reshaping teaching and learning and the governance of education. A broad variety of online behaviours and transactional data is (or can be) now stored and tracked. Its analysis could provide meaningful insights to enhance teaching and learning processes, to make better management decisions and to evaluate progresses –of individuals and education systems. \ud This chapter starts by defining big data and the sources and artefacts collect, generate and display data. In doing so it explores aspects related to data ownership and researchers’ access to big data. It then assesses the value of big data for educational research by critically considering the stages involved in the use of big data, providing examples of recent educational research using big data. \ud The chapter is not meant to provide the “how to” details of the analysis of big data. Instead, it aims to offer a pragmatic perspective and to highlight the necessity for educational researchers to acquire computational and statistical skills and to engage with interdisciplinary work to deal with big data, and, at the same time, abide a sociological mind. The chapter also highlights research areas that can be explored to augment our understanding of the role of Big data in education.
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