Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Search for Recent Research

Here I am, sitting at my dining room table trying to finish up a few paragraphs on the physical conditions of school buildings for my final paper. I have been toying with these paragraphs for days now because I keep running into the same problem: outdated research.

My paper is very data-driven, i.e. I rely heavily on studies, reports and dissertations published by people who have, well, done the work for me. For this section of my paper, I needed data on, among other things, the statistical relationship between the conditions of a school building and student achievement, low-income school districts and inadequate school facilities, and how specific aspects of school facilities impact learning. The information available on this topic is scanty to say the least, but there are a number of studies and dissertations from the 80's and 90's on the internet. The problem is that I can't use research from 1995 to talk about the current state of education inequality! I have yet to find a study done in the last 10 years on the school facilities gap, and I really need this information. I've changed my search terms at least 20 times but I cannot locate any relatively recent research on this topic.

This impasse that I have reached leads to an entirely different discussion about how recent research must be for one to use it in a paper, and what inferences one can make from old research about the current state of affairs. 
However, for now all I ask is that you comment on this post if you know of any data that might help me move forward with this section of my paper! 

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