The Strongest Link: Finding Suitable Sources for Your Research Paper

My post revolves around my pursuit of the source denoted at the end of Page 5 in this week’s class reading; for those who didn’t know to which i was referring, it is 16 McGraw-Hill, “Building the Best Student Assessment Solution,” New York: Acuity, 2009.


I was actually surprised at the ease with which I found what I feel was the original source of information behind the citation; it was literally the second link I encountered when searching for the citation in full on Google. I found that the webpage contained a full-length PDF file explaining the Best Student Assessment, and I felt I could trust the site’s authenticity. I decided to experiment with three other sources found in the weekly reading and they, as well, were discovered within the first 5 links when searched on Google. I am not pointing this out to say that all research paper sources can be found this easily; I just assume I had good luck.

Regardless, finding a reliable source does not effectively constitute a research paper, and the source that is employed in its construction must be utilized in such a manner that its general focus coincides with that of the paper. In addition, the research paper must accurately refer to the source and make either make effective use or reinterpretation of its contents, to reinforce the paper’s claim.

In the case of Big Data and the Best Student Assessment Source, both the paper and its source promote the process of data mining (or data warehousing) as a new and effective means of pushing along student achievement and improving the student learning experience. Both the purpose of the paper and the source agree on this point, and the two possess a certain synergy when paired together, and serve to further reinforce the author’s claims on data mining in education.

2 thoughts on “The Strongest Link: Finding Suitable Sources for Your Research Paper”

  1. First off, I like the title. Second, yeah I agree that there is a sort of ethos that comes off of the synergy between the two that you mentioned in your last paragraph. But as far as the actual material goes, what do you think about the claims that the author is making? Do you agree with him that mass data mining could help in schools? I am all for big data but there have to be some drawbacks to this I would imagine. I am having trouble finding a link, but I know that I’ve read somewhere that teachers will often be influenced by preconcieved notions of how their good their students are, and that will reflect in their grades. I think massive data mining could make the gap between good and bad students larger.

  2. I am really on the fence about whether data mining is a good thing or a bad thing; hence why I didn’t put up much support or resistance to the claims made by the sources. It’s not a cop out, I just honestly don’t know how I feel on the subject, as it is too wide scope for me to sit here and say how I feel. I suppose, being a statistician in nature, I would lean to pro-mining, but I just can’t formulate a strong opinion.

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