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Friends, Lovers, and Social Media Experimentation: The Need for New Ethical Guidelines

This summer, Facebook released findings from a controversial study. I blogged about my concerns. Less than a month later, OKCupid’s co-founder publicized his own company’s unethical experiments. What timing. The last six months, in fact, have been filled with troubling examples of data misuse and security leaks—think about it: Facebook, OKCupid, Heartbleed, Bash, and the […]

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Facebook Doesn’t Care About Ethics, So Why Should You?

The internet nearly broke when researchers published a new study, “Experimental Evidence of Massive-scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks.” Scientists, conducting a psychological experiment including approximately 700,000 Facebook users, manipulated news feeds to examine the effects of positive and negative posts. Researchers found that Facebook posts influence users’ moods; the general public and research community […]

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Stats, Stories, and Policy Design

In my last post, I mentioned Illinois’ new testing plan, which sets different testing standards based on student demographics including race and class. The policy oozes the flawed logic that has defined the accountability era: Statistics—and experimental and quasi-experimental studies, in particular—represent the gold standard of educational research. Before you either tune me in or […]

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Social Justice and Policy Design

A few weeks ago, I read about Illinois’ new testing plan. It includes a number of points. The most notable is the state’s decision to use different standards to measure achievement among student groups. By 2019, Illinois expects 85% of white students—compared to 73% of Latino students and 70% of black students—to pass the state […]

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Mentoring Graduate Students, Part 2

Discovery is central to graduate education. Students explore new ideas and challenge old beliefs. They practice complex skills and interact with an array of scholars. But, from reading a professor’s trenchant feedback to narrowing your dissertation focus, the process is not always glamorous. Here are a few resources to ease the journey: Purdue Owl APA […]

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Mentoring Graduate Students Part 1

I love Shakespeare. No. Wait. That’s not quite right. I really love Shakespeare. As an undergrad student, I read most of his plays and all of his sonnets. I visited the Folger Shakespeare Library. I studied literary criticisms. I enrolled in as many Brit Lit classes as possible. And, I constantly thought about his lines […]

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Why Scholars Should Use Big and Little Data to Study Complex Issues

Last week, I read an article in the Chronicle about the growth of data-related graduate programs. Big data are big, both in scope and popularity. Large datasets require data analysts with specialized skills. As a result, universities are creating more and more graduate programs to address market demand. As colleges adjust to shrinking budgets and […]

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How Do Scholars Produce Policy Relevant Research?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was named as an Emerging Education Policy Scholar (EEPS). The program, a collaboration between The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, provides the opportunity for young, policy-minded scholars to collaborate with and learn from a range of key policy players. Our first meeting took […]

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Sitting at Some New Tables in the Academic Cafeteria

As Murray Milner documents in Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids, teenagers often order themselves using status symbols. Take a stroll around a high school cafeteria. With few exceptions, students clump neatly into groups: cool kids, jocks, band geeks, drama nerds, emos (not to be confused with emus), and any number of other categories. Each group […]

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Rush to Relevance: Conducting Research to Improve Policy and Practice

“We need research to be more relevant” is a common clarion call in education. Most recently, John Easton, Director of IES, released a video for AERA in which he talks about different initiatives to improve relevancy. During one of my first Ph.D. courses, Bill asked us about the three major responsibilities of academics: research, teaching, […]

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