This question is aimed almost entirely at “higher” education faculty, regardless of the branch(es) of knowledge that they represent.

My intention is not to be rude and/or to insult people here, jut to give some of my thoughts about an assignment of homeworks and/or similar tasks.

I did some research in the field of “assigning homeworks and/or similar tasks”, mostly by talking via my facebook chat with students and people who finished their college and who are from Croatia, and, when they had some courses in which there was an assignment of homeworks or similar tasks, some instructors(professors) insisted that the homework must be solved and given to them, while some were not so strict and for them the student had either the possibility of giving her/his (or his/her) homeworks so to obtain extra points which could affect their final grade in that course.

If you ask me, both of these methods of work are not good enough, the first one is extremely destructive, and the second one is destructive (but not extremely), and what is being destroyed is relationship professor-students and, also, the motivation and inspiration for the course itself.

Because, the professor should do precisely this:

1) She/He should do all that he can to motivate and inspire as much as possible as many students as possible in such a way that they do see that the course that they are attending is interesting and worthy of research, and is probably needed later in such a way that other courses will be built by some (or all) knowledge that comes from the course she/he is giving to the students.

2) She/He should explain to students that it should be good for them to try to solve some exercises in the books they encounter, and she/he could give to them some exercises that could help them to gain better understanding of what is going on in the subject-matter of the course, because even if some youngsters are determined to do very good research work and/or to teach, or to do one of those two things, they will probably do it better if they actually were solving some exercises and problems and saw from that how generalizations are and can be obtained, and how an attitude toward doing some exercises can raise questions that can clarify a lot what exactly is going on.

3) She/He should explain to students that the test(s) they will have to write (or, more generally, attend to) will include in itself the obvious requirement that they were not lazy during the duration of that course, and that they will have a better chance of passing the exam if they decided to practice (during the course) various approaches and methods in their adventure of solving some exercises and, more generally, tasks, and the more they exercise in a right way the more they will master the subject-matter of the course.

The approach where students must do a homework, or where they need not to do it, but if they do not do it then their grade can be lowered down, or be not as high as it could be if they did the homeworks are non-inspirational and contain in itself an elements of force (I could also say violence, but will not), because, some gratitude should be shown to those youngsters, because they actually came to listen to you, and want to learn something new, and want that you inspire them, and want that you be good to them, and want that they have as much freedom as they can during the attendance of your course and during an activites that are related to your course.

And what do you do? You put on their shoulders a burden of “necessary” homework or of “not needed but I could reward you if you do it” homework.

But, they can work in groups and/or with themselves only, even if they are not forced or “almost-forced” to do something. They will surely do exercises if they are interesting to them and if they are presented to them in an interesting and clever way.

Yes, there will be some that will not do them them even with almost the nicest and cleverest approach presented to them, or they will do them but will not feel the need to present them to someone, be it professors or colleagues attending the same course. And there will be some that will gladly do them and ask professors for better approach and/or advices. But neither group will not feel less worthy because some did the homework and succeeded in attaining the higher grade, and some did not and because of that their grade is lower than of some colleague who did all or almost all of the homework assignments.

So, I am just thinking of an approach where everything will be at least as good as it is, but where there is no tendency to reward in this or that way students who wanna do their homework and exercises in the course, and not to reward those who do not wanna.

I should tell that English is not my native and I am not good at it, so it could be that I did not reflect my thoughts crystally clear the way I wanted.

So, it would be nice to know what do you think about the concept of studying where there are no homeworks and/or similar tasks that must be done, and of the same concept where are also no homeworks and/or similar tasks where doing them could award some students, and not doing them could not-reward some other students?

Also, as I am not a professor anywhere, it could be that I am not competent for even asking something like this, or to go into discussion about approaches of this kind, and also, all of this was researched only with students or those who finished the college in Croatia, so that I do not know generally what is the situation in the whole world.

I’m writing the introduction for a research proposal and am trying to express that our approach is “experimental” in the sense that it uses more exploratory and alternative methods rather than that it uses a controlled experiment.

Is the phrase “experimental approach” appropriate in this context? If not, what are alternatives? (Words like “novel” and “exploratory” aren’t quite right.) Which way should that phrase be interpreted in general?

Do you know of any authors who discuss the compatibility of action research (AR) and actor-network-theory (ANT)?

In my specific case I plan to do my PhD field research in a series of participatory planning initiatives, where I will actively promote and propose the use of digital tools during the participatory activities (hence, the AR approach).

My preliminary review of the literature shows certain similarities between AR and ANT, mainly due to the importance given to the knowledge of the people being studied. While AR scholars should adapt their research plans to the needs, priorities and understanding of the community; ANT researchers should “follow the actors” to avoid using foggy explanations (such as social context, cultural aspects, etc.).

I am concerned, however, about my own positionality: can I use ANT to guide my analysis and approach if I am an actant with his own goals and motivations? Namely I hope that participants will be willing to experiment with the digital tools I propose, otherwise my research would be (partly) a failure.

Publication bias. Reproducibility problem. Abusing statistical tests.

These are some of the many criticisms received by all fields of science for a long time. If I read an article on Psychological Science and am sceptical of their results, or if I want to apply another statistical techniques to see if the results remain convincing to me, I can’t. I need to run another experiment. Or if I want to conduct a meta-analysis, maybe having other researcher’s raw data is better than just the mean/CI they report in journals.

If scientists’ mission is for public good and for the advancement of knowledge, why don’t they publish their results in raw (of course they need to remove research participants’ privacy information). They shouldn’t be afraid of others’ criticising their work. Only truth can endure the testing of time.

Nowadays, with the prevalence (and low price) of online storage platform and sophisticated database management, why don’t they do it for the public’s good?

EDIT: by raw data, I mean to make the dataset public and accessible to everyone (well… at least researchers)

I am sending this question here as I believe it applies to the academic part of education/pedagogics.

I would like to know alternative K-12 education programs or curricula that encompass STEM, world history and world geography (including physical and political geography). Systems that are content-focused, with a clear intent of exposing the student to as much knowledge as possible. For example, a method or curriculum such as Montessori or Waldorf or the International Baccalaureate that is focused on skills and content for these areas.

Some background: My British wife and I are having our first child soon. I was educated in private schools in Brazil, highly focused on content, and she was educated partially in grammar schools and partially in traditional public schools in London. We both went to school for several hours a day (6 or more) and brought home a lot of homework. We want the same for our children. We currently live in Austin, TX and analyzed the curriculum for Texas schools and noticed that it misses or has very little of:

  • World history
  • World geography
  • Biology
  • Chemistry and Physics (these seem to be elective or partially elective)

For example, we have friends who went to college without ever studying the periodic table, the Roman Empire or even knowing where Hawaii is located. On the other hand, our friends learned how to drive in high school which we think is not the most useful topic. We are happy to (and intend to) send our children to private school, but would like to know more about the different methods that are content-focused. We read about the IB but it focuses more on what they call “international mindedness” which is not what we are looking for.

We submitted an application to our HREC (Human Research Ethics Committee) and received their approval to conduct the study. In our application, we submitted a base questionnaire with some of the questions we were interested in asking. However, we want to conduct a study with semi-structured interviews following a grounded theory approach. That is, as we interview participants, we want to adapt our questions to explore emerging topics. For context, we are in Europe. However, I’d be surprised to find that there’s much deviation across the globe.

  1. How does the ethical approval work in semi/un-structured studies in which you don’t know about all the questions you might ask in advance?
  2. How much freedom do we have to deviate from the original questionnaire?
  3. Should we constantly keep the HREC in the loop after each interview?

I have submitted a paper and got a R&R. After the submission, I have learned new method techniques for my research and I found those very compelling.
Now, I would like to use them and I was wondering whether I could change the method section of the reviewed paper and re-submit the changed paper with the new method?
It would still be the same research question, the same dataset and theoretical framework (with minor adjustments). Of course, I would explain in detail that the newly discovered method would suit very well to the same dataset used before, would present the results better and thus, improve the paper a lot. However, the reviewers haven’t criticized the used method or suggested a new method approach for my paper.


  • Is such a change in the method section after the first peer review round possible?
  • Is such a change acceptable and okay for the journal editors and the reviewer?

First of all, my apologies if this is not the proper community for this question, but I did not found any other one closely linked.

I am doing a research on the features of all the tools of a certain software field (e.g. all the graphic design software packages). I’ve started to analyze dozens of them, in order to obtain conclusions. However, some of them are deprecated, other ones are hard to test due to their licenses, etc.

I decided to obtain conclusions not for “all the tools”, but for “the most relevant tools”. But I do not know how to determine, through a proven method, which a “relevant software tool” is.

I’ve been collecting about 10 parameters of each one of the software tools. Among them:

- Number of users,
- Number of mentions in papers,
- Number of case studies made,
- Type of license (open, freeware, paid),
- Date of last update, ...

This is an important hurdle in my research, since I can develop my own method to give relevance to software tools (which would not be the target of my research), or I can try to find if anybody has already developed a method to perform this, weighting all of these parameters, in order to determine the relevance of a software tool. I can also choose the 5-6 tools which I like the most but IMHO it’s not proper of a research work.

Any tip to find this method is welcome. I’ve been searching in some citation tools (IEEExplore, Google Scholar, …), using some keywords like “software relevance”, “relevance methods”, etc., with no success.

Thank you very much in advance.