Exploratory portals of research data in education

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This paper presents a powerful tool to enhance research in education: ‘exploratory portals’, supporting effective storage, sharing and exploration of large sets of research data. The workflow is the following: data are gathered by a research group; they are then classified according to a taxonomy (the one that best fits the group’s research interest); once uploaded in the portal, they can be ‘explored’ via a combination of faceted search (enriched by Boolean operators) and data mining techniques. The system can thus answer in a few seconds to sophisticated user’s queries that otherwise would require hours; it can save a session’s results and materials for sharing with other scholars or for further investigation. The paper presents a case study of exploratory portal, dealing with data on (technology-based) education. The portal has effectively been used by five different research groups, to run complex investigations of data about technology integration into schools.

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