What is educational research? Different people may answer this same question quite differently.
First of all, let's clarify what is education. Education is usually associated with knowledge, disposition, skills, abilities, or in one word, power. For example, two chameleons were sitting on a limb that overlooked the window of a house. Inside t he house, a woman pressed a button on a spray can, and fourteen flies fell dead to the floor. "And that," stated the elder lizard, " is what an education will do for you". However, education and ignorance always go hand in hand; the more we learn, the m ore we find out how truly ignorant we are. Thus, education will never end.
But what is research then? Some may say research is re-searching, re-searching whatever you desire to. Think about a sufficiently large dark house. People may search the house again and again and they may find same things or different things at diffe
rent times. Since no one really knows how big the dark house is and what exactly are inside it, re-searching can go on forever. This sounds like research is like chickens without their heads, but we do have our brains. Research is a systematic proc
ess of collecting and logically analyzing information (data) for specific purpose, and the research methods (or methodology) are the ways one collects and analyzes data..
Now, here again: What is educational research? Let's find out!
Activity: Generate as many terms that you think are related to educational research, and develop a concept map to express the relations among them.
Educational research is disciplined inquiry in which different disciplines, including education, provide principles of research by which to collect and reason from data.
For any type of educational research, the ultimate goal is to advance knowledge about education phenomena and improve education practice. Findings of some educational research have more specific practical implications; less so for others. This is re lated to generalizability of educational research. Generalizability is the extent to which the findings of one study can be used in a variety of educational settings.
Depending on the generalizability of research findings, educational research can be classified into three types: Basic research, Applied Research, and Evaluation Research.
|Topic of Research||Educational psychology, philosophy of education, sociology of education, educational economics, etc.||Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, Educational Technology, Educational Administration||Measure and Evaluation, Program Development and Evaluation, Policy Studies, etc.|
|Purpose||To develop foundational theories about education||To develop theories for improving specific practices||To determine the efficiency of specific educational practices and develop related educational policies|
|Type of Discourse and Level of Generalizability||Abstract, most general||Specific, Subject-specifically Generalizable||Concrete, Least Generalizable|
|Intended Use||Add to the body of knowledge||Add to the body of subject-specific knowledge and direct practices||Advance methodology and facilitate Policy Making|
|Assumptions about the World||A single objective reality, i.e., measured by an instrument||Multiple realities depending on contexts|
|Research Purpose||Establish relationships between measured variables||Understanding a social situation from participants' perspectives|
|Research Methods and Process||Procedures are planned before study begins||Flexible, design emerges as study progresses|
|Prototypical study||Experimental study||Ethnographic study|
|Researcher's role||Detached from study||Immersed in the study|
|Importance of context||Context free||deeply contextualized|
|Objectivity||Explicit description of data collection and analysis procedures||Explicit description of data collection and analysis procedures|
|Precision||Measurement and statistics||Detailed description of phenomenon|
|Verification||Replicable||Extension of understanding by others|
|Parsimonious explanation||Least complicated explanation preferred||summary generalizations|
|Empiricism||Numerical data||Sources, data|
|Logical Reasoning||Primarily deductive||Primarily inductive|
|Probabilistic Thinking||Statement of statistical probability||Tentative synthesized interpretations|
like any other types of research, educational research has a number of limitations:
Let's examine one educational research study by applying the main ideas of today's discussion.
Integration of Technology into the Secondary Curriculum