Evaluating Research & Publications
in Educational Research

The overall goals and objectives for this module are to:

  • Identify and characterize the discipline in which a research topic is classified. Understand the structure of the discipline, including information about the accepted types of research contributions and publishing practices. 
  • Use this understanding to characterize the factors that indicate whether or not a publication is a key publication, or seminal work, within a body of research, and describe how these factors are applied and measured. 
  • Understand the nature and use of citation data.  Identify and use relevant tools to critically analyze the literature with respect to article citations, impact factors, and other types of data. 
  • Analyze a topic and search a citation database using correct tools and strategies, evaluate search results for significance, manipulate search results to identify highly cited papers, and key researchers, institutions, or journals with the most publications on the topic.

The content is organized into 5 units:

A.  About Research and Assessment

Understand how the intellectual structure of a discipline defines or influences the types of research questions, data, and publication practices that are acceptable scholarship in the discipline. Learn how to recognize and locate seminal papers.

B.  Citations: What, When, How…..

Explore the citation practices of researchers and learn about citation analysis.  Describe the assumptions and the pros and cons of using citation analysis to identify important publications. 

  Citation Tools: Selection and Use

Define citation database and Identify, critique, and select the different kinds of tools that include citation data.  Compare two major sources of article-level citation data:  Web of Science and Google Scholar. Understand the purpose/use/misuse of impact factors and Journal Citation Reports (JCR).

  Hands-On Searching

Understand the importance of searching databases with expertise. Learn about and apply good search practices, including topic analysis and structure of search statements. Access, perform good topical searches, and refine search results in the Web of Science database.

E.  Hands-On Citation Analysis

Use the Web of Science database to search a topic and analyze the results for article-level citation data.  Use Journal Citation Reports to locate journal impact factors by discipline.   Interpret citation data and apply to your own research topic.
Use the "Analyze" function in Web of Science to identify major authors, institutions, and journals in a research area and critique, interpret, and apply findings.

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