I’m interested in how people think about knowledge, and take action on that knowledge. Evidence, and sound argumentation are under the splotlight, with increasing availability of data, alongside a growing mistrust in the media, politicians, and ‘experts’ more broadly. Understanding how people navigate their own, and others’ knowledge is one of the most pressing social issues of our time in order to develop a sustainable society. My research particularly focuses on how people and policies implicate views on ‘knowledge’, through the ways they find and talk about information, and define ‘knowledge’ in documents such as assessment policies.
Evidence and information seeking: One strand of this work explored how small groups search for, and evaluate, information on the internet. My interest is in understanding how people think about information needs, find information, and how we can support them to do that better whether it’s trying to reconcile competing political views, or evaluating health evidence. I’ve used the lens of ‘epistemic cognition’, particularly in social/collaborative contexts to explore this issue. As a corollary to that I’m interested in the ways that tools like search engines shape our view of evidence (their epistemological implications), particularly as it relates to assessing students. I moved to the University of Technology Sydney’s Connected Intelligence Centre in 2015, with a primary focus on student writing – how students write about evidence, and assess the evidence in other’s written texts. Since then, I have moved to the Transdisciplinary School, and launched the Centre for Research on Education in a Digital Society (CREDS), with my work continuing to take a sociocultural approach to understanding how people use evidence, particularly in the context of expert-expert disagreement.
Data and evidence: My teaching now focuses particularly on quantitative literacy, and teaching students to spot where statistical information has been used well, poorly, or omitted where it should not have been. A key method across my research is in learning analytics – the use of data derived from learning contexts to help us understand learning, and support it more effectively. In this space I’m particularly interested in thinking about how people think about and use data as evidence, especially educator’s use of learning and assessment data. Developing change models to drive use of evidence by students and educators is increasingly interesting to me.