SCOPE of Open Education: A New Framework for Research




engagement, open education, motivation, research framework, social justice


The field of open education and research on the topic has notably expanded since the introduction of the term 20 years ago. Given these developments, a framework to structure research inquiry is necessary to ground and organize findings in open education. We propose the SCOPE framework for open education research: social justice, cost, outcomes, perceptions, and engagement. In this article, we explain how this framework emphasizes the need for social justice at the forefront of open education research. In addition, we incorporate existing theories in social justice, motivation, cognition, pedagogy, and engagement into each of the components to propose theoretical connections to future open education research. We suggest areas in which future research is needed. Finally, we conclude with suggestions as to how the SCOPE framework may be useful when connecting open education to open science and open scholarship as well as a call for considering intersectionality and critical methods in quantitative research (QuantCrit) in future inquiry.

Author Biographies

Virginia Elizabeth Clinton-Lisell, University of North Dakota

Dr. Virginia Clinton-Lisell began her career in education as an ESL teacher in New York City. She then obtained her PhD in Educational Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science at the University of Minnesota where she was trained in educational research. She has published over 50 articles in education research and teaches courses in education research, program evaluation, and psychological foundations of education. Her current research focuses on the psychology of reading comprehension and open education. She is an Associate Professor in Educational Foundations and Research at the University of North Dakota and Rose Isabella Kelly Fischer Endowed Professor.

Jasmine Roberts-Crews, The Ohio State University

Jasmine Roberts-Crews is a lecturer in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University where she teaches undergraduate courses in the areas of communication campaigns and strategic communication writing. Her research and pedagogical interests include the intersection between social justice and open education, digital activism, Black feminist pedagogy, and the impact of racial battle fatigue on women of color in higher education. Roberts-Crews has delivered numerous keynotes addressing social justice in open education and has a TED talk titled “I’m tired of talking about race”.

Lindsey Gwozdz, Roger Williams University

Lindsey Gwozdz is an Associate Professor and Scholarly Communications Librarian at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, and she also serves as the Open Education Fellow at the New England Board of Higher Education in Boston, Massachusetts. With an active interest in the intersections of information literacy, open education, and critical librarianship, Lindsey works with faculty on her campus and region-wide to push the awareness of open education from a cost-savings tool to be more inclusive of pedagogies that allow for opportunities to create systemic changes in more representative and equitable information creation, evaluation, and access.


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How to Cite

Clinton-Lisell, V. E., Roberts-Crews, J., & Gwozdz, L. (2023). SCOPE of Open Education: A New Framework for Research. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 24(4), 135–153.



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