2019-03-06 HED-OER5 OER research landscape
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Overview of the OER research landscape
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Last updated: 3/6/2019
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This research landscape was conducted in Fall/Winter 2018-19 as part of a study of the global OER landscape for the Hewlett Foundation. An accompanying slide deck provides additional context. The research landscape was designed to be targeted, not comprehensive, so it could serve as a starting point to understand research trends. It began with expert recommendations and desk research on key sites (e.g., the OER Research Hub, GO-GN, Commonwealth of Learning, OECD iLibrary, ROER4D, etc) to find articles that are more likely to be influential or known in the field. It generally pulled more recent publications and excluded research that is only applicable in US contexts (e.g., policy implementation in a K-12 district). It was constrained by the researchers' ability to review only English language articles, excluding potential research from non-English speaking authors.

Our goal in sharing this research landscape with the field is to provide:
-A tool for those searching for research to find relevant articles by geography, topic, or methodology
-A simple platform for those conducting research to be able to share their work with interested readers
-An analytical overview of the research base to spark discussion within the field about potential future priorities

We expect that readers will suggest changes to the research as presently coded and additions of research not captured. Given time and capacity limitations, review of individual articles was extremely brief, so coding may not perfectly reflect every article. We welcome and encourage the field to treat this as an open resource to be continually improved.
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Total studies reviewed128Note: A handful of studies reviewed are books which are split into separate lines for greater detail and readibility, so counts in this tab are slightly high as each line is treated as a "study."
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Additional studies found (not individually reviewed in detail)41
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Total studies identified169
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Geography
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This section provides an overview of articles by geography, including both the geography of researchers and the geography of interest in the study. Because studies with mixed-geography research teams and studies that assessed multiple regions are coded "multi-region/global", there are more studies and researchers from each region than counted in the region-specific lines. When considering the multi-region/global pieces, there are researchers and studies in every region of the world.
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Geography% of studies about geography% of studies with researchers based in geography# of studies about geography# of studies with researchers based in geographyNotes
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Multi-region/global42%20%5626Researcher geography: Cross-region research teams (e.g., a mix of European and African) are coded multi-region/global.
Study geography of interest: Research that is broadly applicable (e.g., theoretical frameworks) is coded multi-region/global, as well as research that studies two or more distinct regions.
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Africa14%12%1915
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North America14%27%1834
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South/Southeast Asia10%5%136
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Europe8%27%1034
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Central/South America6%5%86
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Oceania5%5%77
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East Asia1%0%10
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Middle East0%0%00
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Total100%100%132128
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Number of US studiesNotes
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11Included US studies if they were reasonably likely to be relevant in international contexts
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Area of focus
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This section provides an overview of articles by area of focus, including the education level and substantive topics of the study. Note that coding allowed studies to have multiple topics of interest -- for instance, both teacher practice/pedagogy and student learning outcomes -- and most studies did cover more than a single topic. The definition of each area of focus is broad and impressionistic to provide a quick sense of the content rather than a strict assessment of whether research fits a particular view of what constitutes measurement of the topic (e.g., it does not try to strictly define what counts as "student learning outcomes" and is generally inclusive when articles discuss student achievement, engagement, etc.).
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Percent of studies by level by region of studyNumber of studies by level by region of study
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Education level% of studies# of studiesNotesMulti-region/globalAfricaNorth AmericaSouth/Southeast AsiaEuropeOceaniaCentral/South AmericaMiddle EastEast AsiaMulti-region/globalAfricaNorth AmericaSouth/Southeast AsiaEuropeOceaniaCentral/South AmericaMiddle EastEast Asia
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Higher education58%7435%79%82%69%56%100%50%na100%191514957401
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Both24%31Mentions both education levels48%5%0%8%33%0%0%na0%2610130000
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Primary/secondary12%154%16%12%23%11%0%50%na0%232310400
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General6%8Does not specifically refer to specific educational context, e.g., theory13%0%6%0%0%0%0%na0%701000000
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Total100% 128 100%100%100%100%100%100%100%0%100% 54 19 17 13 9 7 8 - 1
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Area of focus% of studies that focus on this area# of studies that focus on this area (each study can have multiple focus areas)
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Adoption and discoverability35%44
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Teacher practice/pedagogy35%44
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Perceptions of OER28%35
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Policy design and implementation25%31
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Student learning outcomes17%21
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General OER context/background17%22
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Research landscape16%20
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Financial outcomes13%16
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Student uses of OER13%17
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Content and technical design11%14
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Total studies with focus area coded 126
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% of studies with multiple focus areas71%
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Methodology
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This section provides an overview of articles by methodology. Note that coding allowed studies to have multiple methodologies -- for instance, both qualitative interviews and an opinion/perceptions survey.
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Study methodology% of studies that use this methodology# of studies that use this methodology (each study can include multiple methodologies)
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Desk research/literature review48%60
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Qualitative case study33%41
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Qualitative interviews33%41
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Opinion/perceptions survey32%40
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Observational data with statistical controls for causal inference8%10
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Observational data without statistical controls for causal inference6%8
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Meta-analysis1%1
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Randomized experiment0%0
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Total studies with methodology coded 126
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% of studies with multiple methodologies52%
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Publication and researcher type
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This section provides an overview of articles by publication and researcher type. Note that the approach to collecting research included searching select journals, so the distribution leans towards journal articles published by academics. "Other" researcher types also includes research teams comprised of multiple types of researchers.
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Publication type% of studies# of studies
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Peer-reviewed journal article56%86
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Book or book excerpt20%31
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White paper or report12%19
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Informal online article4%6
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Dissertation3%5
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Presentation3%4
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Other1%2
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Total100% 153
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Researcher type% of studies# of studies
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Professor74%95
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Graduate student7%9
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Practitioner7%9
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Other12%15
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Total100% 128
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