Sharing successes and hiding failures: ‘reporting bias’ in learning and teaching research

Dawson, Phillip and Dawson, Samantha L. 2016, Sharing successes and hiding failures: ‘reporting bias’ in learning and teaching research, Studies in higher education, pp. 1-12, doi: 10.1080/03075079.2016.1258052.

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Title Sharing successes and hiding failures: ‘reporting bias’ in learning and teaching research
Author(s) Dawson, PhillipORCID iD for Dawson, Phillip
Dawson, Samantha L.
Journal name Studies in higher education
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2016-11-24
ISSN 0307-5079
Keyword(s) reporting bias
publication bias
research synthesis
academic freedom
scholarship of teaching and learning
Summary When researchers selectively report significant positive results, and omit non-significant or negative results, the published literature skews in a particular direction. This is called ‘reporting bias’, and it can cause both casual readers and meta-analysts to develop an inaccurate understanding of the efficacy of an intervention. This paper identifies potential reporting bias in a recent high-profile higher education meta-analysis. It then examines a range of potential factors that may make higher education learning and teaching research particularly susceptible to reporting bias. These include the fuzzy boundaries between learning and teaching research, scholarship and teaching; the positive agendas of ‘learning and teaching’ funding bodies; methodological issues; and para-academic researchers in roles without tenure or academic freedom. Recommendations are provided for how researchers, journals, funders, ethics committees and universities can reduce reporting bias.
Notes In Press
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/03075079.2016.1258052
Field of Research 130103 Higher Education
130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
1301 Education Systems
1303 Specialist Studies In Education
Socio Economic Objective 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Society for Research into Higher Education
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE)
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