Block 4 Activity 15: Citation Networks

citation network


This activity focuses on Dawson et al., (2014), Current state and future trends; a citation network analysis of the learning analytics field.

The task started by reading the abstract and looking for the aim and main findings.  Next came looking at the practical implications section 4.3 and looking at figure 4 and table 1 which identified ten most cited papers in the field. Following reading of sections 1 and 2 a two-page summary of the article was created.

Reflecting on my experience of reading the paper, I found it a difficult read as suggested it would be, given my limited knowledge of learning analytics.  However I liked looking through an article using this method as I felt it made me focus in on sections 1 and 2 with a bit of insider knowledge.  I found that there was a lot of repetition throughout the paper, so don’t think I missed out any real information especially as section 4.3 covered the main findings of the research.  I gained an insight into citation networks and how they are used.

I can’t but think that the field of learning analytics is itself a clique which is difficult to make any route into by a newbie.  It is supposed to be interdisciplinary looking to cross boundaries.

Looking at table 1 and the number of citations of the top ten articles I saw that the most cited article from Google Scholar was published in 1994.  The most cited article from LAK/Journal citation was published in 2010.  Perhaps the 1994 article was used to create an overview of the history of learning analytics? The penetrating the fog analytics learning and education article we read earlier in this block was listed in the table.  It was 2nd top LAK/Journal citation but had only 60 Google Scholar citations ranking 6th. More weight appears to be given to articles with a LAK/Journal citation within the report.  Do we accept that these reflect a certain level of quality as argued by White (1990)? Do we accept that the highly cited Google Scholar article, Social Network Analysis: methods and applications (1994) must be indicative of impactful research? A good starting point maybe within a diverse field of learning analytics.

This is my summary of the Dawson et al., (2014) article  citation networks.



Dawson, S., Gašević, D., Siemens, G. and Joksimovic, S. (2014) ‘Current state and future trends: a citation network analysis of the learning analytics field’ in Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, New York, ACM Press, pp. 231–40; also available online at citation.cfm?id=2567585 (accessed 16 December 2015).

White, H.D., 1990. Author co-citation analysis: Overview and defence. In Scholarly Communications and Bibliometrics, C.L. BORGMAN Ed. Sage, Newbury Park, CA, 84-106.


Image: adapted from image available at



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