Potential Research Topics

As part of the application process, prospective students must develop an original research proposal (see the EOI form for detailed requirements). Below is an overview of current CRADLE areas of focus, potential supervisors, and recent CRADLE publication(s) on those topics to illustrate the potential scope of work. We would expect a prospective candidate to develop their proposal taking one of these topics as a starting point, then share it with prospective supervisors prior to the EOI submission.

Effective feedback for learning – including feedback literacy

Potential supervisors: David Boud, Phillip Dawson, Joanna Tai

Feedback can have a positive impact on learning, but what makes for effective feedback? Beyond participating in well-designed feedback processes, students may need to develop particular strategies in how they approach feedback so that it has an impact on their learning, now and into the future. A project could focus on feedback literacy interventions, or feedback designs, including digitally mediated feedback and peer feedback.

  • Dawson, P., Yan, Z., Lipnevich, A., Tai, J., Boud, D., & Mahoney, P. (2023). Measuring what learners do in feedback: the feedback literacy behaviour scale. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.

The implications of generative Artificial Intelligence for assessment and feedback in higher education

Potential supervisors: Phillip Dawson, Margaret Bearman

Generative artificial intelligence (genAI) has disrupted previous ways of thinking about the purposes and designs of assessment and feedback in higher education. There is a need for the close study of what educators and students do in response to this. Students interested in this project would be joining a larger team investigating how genAI interacts with assessment and could take a focus on educators or students.

Academic integrity and assessment security in online assessment

Potential supervisors: Phillip Dawson

As assessment has rapidly shifted online, and artificial intelligence has increased in its capabilities, many educators have expressed concerns about cheating. A range of assessment designs and technologies have been deployed in response. This project involves an investigation of the effectiveness of those approaches at addressing cheating (if it really is cheating), as well as their potential harms and benefits.

  • Dawson, P., Nicola-Richmond, K., & Partridge, H. (2023). Beyond open book versus closed book: a taxonomy of restrictions in online examinations, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Educationhttps://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2023.2209298

Developing evaluative judgement

Potential supervisors: David Boud, Margaret Bearman, Joanna Tai

The capability to judge the quality of work of self and others is an important part of becoming a capable professional practitioner and should be intentionally developed during university studies rather than being left up to chance. How can learners be better supported to develop the ability to make judgements about their own learning? How can it be fostered in different contexts? How does it develop over time? This project might take a particular disciplinary or contextual focus to address these questions.

  • Tai, J., Ajjawi, R., Boud, D., Dawson, P., & Panadero, E. (2018). Developing evaluative judgement: enabling students to make decisions about the quality of work. Higher Education 76, 467–481. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-017-0220-3
  • Fischer, J., Bearman, M., Boud, D., & Tai, J. (2023). How does assessment drive learning? A focus on students’ development of evaluative judgement, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2023.2206986

The role of the social world in feedback and assessment (e.g. culture, relationships, emotions, and power)

Potential supervisors: Rola Ajjawi, Margaret Bearman

Beyond the cognitive, there are significant emotional, social, and material influences on the way that feedback and assessment unfolds in the world, and shapes who learners might become. How might this change what learners, teachers or institutions do? This project offers the opportunity to research assessment or feedback as a cultural, social or sociomaterial practice.

  • Bearman, M., Ajjawi, R., Castanelli, D., et al. (2023). Meaning making about performance: A comparison of two specialty feedback cultures. Medical Education 57(11), 1010–1019. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.15118

Digitally mediated learning from the university to the workplace

Potential supervisors: Margaret Bearman, Rola Ajjawi, Joanna Tai

Workplaces are increasingly mediated by big data, analytics, and artificial intelligence. This has implications for universities and for learning-on-the-job. How do we navigate a world with new kinds of knowledge practices? This project could investigate learning practices across the continuum of higher and professional education.

  • Bearman, M., Ajjawi, R. (2023). Learning to work with the black box: Pedagogy for a world with artificial intelligence. British Journal of Educational Technology 54, 1160–1173. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.13337

Diversity and inclusion in assessment and feedback design and practice

Potential supervisors: Joanna Tai, Margaret Bearman, Rola Ajjawi

Students with diverse backgrounds and capabilities are choosing to enrol at university. While participation rates are improving, success and retention lag behind. Assessment and feedback are implicated as key practices that influence whether student success, but how do these significant parts of university study contribute to their inclusion? This project could explore diverse student experiences relating to assessment and feedback, and/or the affordances and limitations of current and emerging assessment designs.

  • Tai, J., Mahoney, P., Ajjawi, R., Bearman, M., Dargusch, J., Dracup, M., & Harris, L. (2023). How are examinations inclusive for students with disabilities in higher education? A sociomaterial analysis. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 48(3), 390–402. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2022.2077910

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