Introducing the Data Archive for Interdisciplinary Research on Learning (DAIRL)

October 14, 2020

DAIRL home page of website

ANN ARBOR—Research about a topic as complex as student learning benefits from perspectives across a wide array of academic disciplines – from economics and neuroscience to psychology and sociology. Structures in academia, however, often serve as barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge-building.

Moreover, not enough research on learning is directly relevant to or informed by education practice and policy. And this research – particularly research published in high-profile journals – tends to understudy the full spectrum of students’ identities and lived experiences. Bridging these gaps is a priority for a growing number of scholars seeking to advance high-quality research that is relevant to the complexities of education practice and policy.

ICPSR recently collaborated with Mindset Scholars Network, an organization that works at the intersection of education research, practice, and policy, to develop Data Archive for Interdisciplinary Research on Learning (DAIRL), a new publicly available data and paper repository. DAIRL provides an infrastructure for sharing and using existing datasets to promote innovative questions and insights about student learning. It is designed to support researchers in applying an equity-centered, multidisciplinary, and practical lens to their work.

“We are very excited to partner with MSN to create a valuable resource for education research. As researchers from many scientific communities and disciplines come together to understand student learning, DAIRL is there to provide access to high quality data as well as other tools and resources to support research that will inform policy and education practice,” said ICPSR Director Margaret Levenstein.

A summary of holdings outlines the 34 datasets in the archive, which include quantitative and qualitative data and can be used for a host of scholarly activities, such as conducting novel secondary research, replicating existing findings, pilot testing ideas in support of a funding application, teaching courses, and mentoring students.

DAIRL also features user resources and a series of working papers from Mindset Scholars Network initiatives, which highlight pressing topics and emerging themes in scholarship on learning.

The Compendium of Studies that Measure Learning Mindsets is a complementary tool that compiles measures of belonging, growth mindset, and purpose and relevance from more than 70 empirical studies. The compendium illustrates how learning mindsets have been measured across multiple disciplines and frameworks, and contains contextualizing information about the study, sample, and measure to aid researchers in using this tool to engage in practice- and policy-relevant scholarship that centers equity.

Together, the resources aim to support researchers in pursuing a more complete understanding of student learning and the structures that shape it.

Shane Redman, [email protected]

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