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Research Essay Pro/Con (Wallace): Home

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Web research tips

Be especially cautious about web research on COVID-19. Not only is the situation changing quickly, making it harder for online publications to keep their information up-to-date, but there's also been a lot of misinformation circulating on this topic. Here are some websites you might try:

Privacy on college campuses

  • Protecting Student Privacy - US Department of Education's detailed guide to FERPA. Includes FAQs and resources broken down by topic, such as "security best practices."
  • Inside Higher Ed - An online news source that focuses on issues in higher education. Try "student privacy" in quotation marks in their search box.
  • Security Matters, EDUCAUSE Review column. EDUCAUSE Review is an online magazine focused on technology in higher education. This link leads to their articles on security issues.

Big data during a pandemic

Terms to help you search

General tips

  • Think about the audience you're writing for and what type of evidence would be the most effective.
    • For example, public officials and legislators may want statistics and research articles, but a personal story might appeal more to a college student.
  • Research is a trial and error process. Try the suggested search terms below in different combinations and see what results you get.
  • Use Advanced Search and try searching multiple concepts at once.

Privacy on college campuses

Prompt: "Should colleges be allowed to use apps and other forms of tracking to improve student outcomes, health, and/or general campus safety?"

  • Learning analytics
  • Blackboard or Canvas
  • Learning management system (LMS)
  • "student success" and privacy
  • "campus safety" and "student privacy"
  • FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
  • Big data and education
  • Student rights

Tip: Try blackboard AND student privacy AND analytics, for example.

Big data during a pandemic

Prompt: "In the age of COVID-19, is the tracking and release of personal data in the name of public health justified?"

  • Pandemic and data privacy
  • COVID-19 and privacy
  • Compare country responses (South Korea and the United States, for example)
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Public health
  • Surveillance

Tip: It's unlikely you'll find a lot of academic research published on the COVID-19 response yet because research takes time. But there are plenty of news articles that discuss citizen privacy during a pandemic, and quote experts in healthcare or public policy.

Tip: You can apply academic research on privacy concerns during previous pandemics (such as the 2009 H1N1 outbreak) to our current situation.