Portfolio as a tool for academic education and professional development: problems and challenges



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2.2. Literature study


Two databases were used for searching relevant information about problems in using (electronic) portfolios in higher education:

  • Educational Resources Information Centre (ERIC)

  • Omega database Utrecht University. This database contains about ten million articles, published in scientific magazines (e.g. Assessment in education, Education for Information and Innovative Higher Education).

The following search preferences were used in both databases:


Furthermore, in the ERIC-database ‘Higher-Education’ was used as a descriptor. In the Omega-database the discipline “social sciences” was used to make a selection. In addition, the Omega search concerned the period 1998-2005.


Seventy articles on portfolio problems were collected and examined by abstract analysis. If an article focused on only one problem, like rater reliability (Van der Schaaf et al 2005) or detailed time-consuming technical problems (Pecheone et al 2005), it was put aside. In the end ten articles were selected for the comparison (cf. Table 5.1). Some of these also comprise conditions for success with portfolios. Since problems are the opposite of conditions for success, the success conditions have been translated into obstacles and challenges.



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