Research Methods in Education

Research Methods in Education and the Social Sciences
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About Research Methods for Understanding Professional Learning

Description This thoroughly updated and extended eighth edition of the long-running bestseller Research Methods in Education covers the whole range of methods employed by educational research at all stages. Its five main parts cover: the context of educational research; research design; methodologies for educational research; methods of data collection; and data analysis and reporting.

It continues to be the go-to text for students, academics and researchers who are undertaking, understanding and using educational research, and has been translated into several languages. It offers plentiful and rich practical advice, underpinned by clear theoretical foundations, research evidence and up-to-date references, and it raises key issues and questions for researchers planning, conducting, reporting and evaluating research.

This edition contains new chapters on: Mixed methods research The role of theory in educational research Ethics in Internet research Research questions and hypotheses Internet surveys Virtual worlds, social network software and netography in educational research Using secondary data in educational research Statistical significance, effect size and statistical power Beyond mixed methods: using Qualitative Comparative Analysis QCA to integrate cross-case and within-case analyses.

Research Methods in Education is essential reading for both the professional researcher and anyone involved in educational and social research. The book is supported by a wealth of online materials, including PowerPoint slides, useful weblinks, practice data sets, downloadable tables and figures from the book, and a virtual, interactive, self-paced training programme in research methods. These resources can be found at: www. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Cohen et al continue to update Research Methods in Education, with new theoretical, ethical, virtual and mixed methods information.

It's worth noting the impressive web page and links to materials for all chapters which is still the benchmark when looking at the competition for books in this area of social and education research. The new edition addresses an important need to explain research design and question setting in more detail, helping guide the newcomer through the research process from inception through analysis to reporting. The book gives an in depth understanding of quantitative and qualitative research designs and offers a practical guide for data collection and data analysis. It is an essential 'friend' for teacher students from various disciplines who are not familiar with social science research.

Jansen, Associate Professor Teacher Education, University of Groningen, The Netherlands "Research Methods in Education continues to offer an excellent route map, a well-structured and inspiring travel guide, for students engaging in research. Application of critical thinking in your research enables you to challenge the evidence contained in your data for its integrity and authenticity.


As a researcher, you will need to engage in critical analysis to inform your critical thinking. This process usually starts with a review of literature on what has been done in your preferred area of research. We shall deal with this in detail in chapter 3. However, I want to alert you to the fact that in engaging in a critical analysis of the literature informing your research, you should ask the following questions:.

A research proposition is an argument that is developed based on the findings of research.

Fundamentals of Qualitative Research Methods: What is Qualitative Research (Module 1)

In the research process, you normally formulate a proposition to help you develop a deeper and better understanding of the relationships revealed by the data you analyse in your research, and possibly make well-informed conclusions. For example, having framed a research topic, you would normally start with formulating a hypothesis or a research question. A hypothesis is by definition nothing more than an educated guess about the possible relationships between variables that you plan to investigate.

You would then go on to test the hypothesis and as a result of those tests, you would be able to make a statement which in a sense would be an argument based on those findings.

Bloomsbury Research Methods for Education

That argument is the proposition about the presumed relations. In other words, having formulated and tested a hypothesis about certain relationships among the variables studied, you could then use those findings to assert strong propositions about the revealed relationships.

Both these terms are used to refer to a statement that suggests a possible relationship or answer to a specific research question. However, whereas a proposition deals with the relationship between two or more existing variables, as evidenced by substantive data in literature, the hypothesis is a statement yet to be tested, and is at best, only an educated guess. A hypothesis must be testable and measurable, but a proposition may deal with abstract concepts for which no laboratory test is currently available. So, whereas a hypothesis is an educated guess or gut feeling about the nature of relationships between variables you plan to investigate, a proposition is an argument well grounded in the literature, pertinent to your research.

Planning a Research Project (EPA) - Courses & Units - University of Tasmania, Australia

This definition is located in the pure sciences, where the term is used to refer to a process that exists in or is produced by nature, without the intervention or intent of human beings. Such a process comprises aspects of the structure and composition of the earth and atmosphere, consisting of physical, biological, chemical and electromagnetic interactions, all of which exclude human intervention. The interactions can involve animals, plants, and elements of the environment.

And so, in the pure sciences, examples of natural phenomena include, rainfall, storms, sunrise and sunset, volcanic activity, tsunami, tidal activities and animal migrations. Obviously, this definition differs from that in the pure sciences, where, as explained above, the term is used to refer to a process that exists without human intervention.

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And so, in research in education and the social sciences, examples of natural phenomena could consist of, for instance, your Stage 3 class, a department in your school, your school, a cohort of your students, your interaction with your students, leadership at your school. One of the most common ways is to categorise research depending on the type of data used in the research. On this basis, there are two types of research, namely, primary research and secondary research. This type of research sets out to answer a research question using data that do not already exist. Such data are said to be original data or primary data.

They in the main consist of the words spoken by participants, or interviewees, and are written or recorded by the researcher. The participants who provide such data are called primary data sources.

Primary research therefore gathers and uses original or primary data that are not the work of previous researchers. Primary research generates new data and uses them to investigate a phenomenon. It is, for example, the type of research you undertake to work on a problem that has not been addressed before and little research, if any, is there to back it up.

It is the type of research that works on a topic that is relatively new or original and few publications, if any, exist on the subject. This type of research uses existing data to discover meaning contained in the data. It makes use of information that is publicly available, having been previously gathered by other researchers, and possibly for other purposes, to answer its research question or questions. The data are normally contained in various sources such as journals, magazines, books, or websites. These are called secondary data sources , and they provide second hand data.

Research relying on secondary data might involve an application of existing data to explain relationships not yet explained. Under this heading we deal with the different aims or objectives that research is designed to serve. Educational research is undertaken to serve one or a combination of some of three purposes, namely exploring issues, describing situations or contexts, or explaining something, relationships, or situations.

Before I unpack each of these briefly, I should like you to listen to this short clip from YouTube, talking about purposes of research. Research conducted for this purpose enables the researcher to make suggestive rather than definitive conclusions. It serves the purposes of dispelling some misconceptions and helping to focus future research but does not yield enough data to enable the researcher to make substantive affirmations or denials about issues.

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This is research conducted to describe the conditions or characteristics observed in a situation or phenomenon. Its main purpose is to gather data that provide the researcher with information that enables him or her to move from speculation about an issue to a better understanding of the issue, based on some evidence. Descriptive research, however, does not delve deep into an understanding of cause and effect relationships, or of reasons why certain phenomena occur.

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This is research that is undertaken for the purpose of explaining what is observed in a phenomenon. The explanation is based on substantive data, which enable the researcher to look deeper into the situation and provide reasons why certain occurrences of the phenomenon take place. The explanations can provide well informed accounts of the observed cause and effect relationships in a phenomenon, and can go as far as justifying the observations.

Explanatory research serves the purpose of providing more trustworthy findings grounded in the data. It is worthy pointing out, that although we can categorize research according to these three purposes, it is quite possible, and often is the case, for one research project to serve several or indeed all of these purposes. For example, in one research study, the literature review could serve a primarily exploratory purpose by articulating the problem to be investigated, or identifying the gap in knowledge that future or the proposed research can fill.

The theoretical framework developed in that same study could serve the descriptive purpose of indicating how existing theories will be used to help make sense of the data that will be gathered in the proposed research. The data analysis process could serve the explanatory purpose of giving reasons why certain relationships are evident in the data and what they mean. Therefore, it is quite possible for research to serve multiple purposes. A key skill that every higher degree research student or researcher needs to demonstrate, is the ability to critique existing research.

This skill is called upon each time you review the contents of a published product of research. It is therefore important to make sure that you know what this skill is and what it involves. A critique of a research product such as a published journal article, a book chapter, or a book, is a systematic way of objectively reviewing the product in question so as to evaluate its strengths, weaknesses and limitations, and its relevance to proposed research.

The critique is not a criticism of the research product reviewed. Rather it is an analysis, which aims to provide a positive assessment of the usefulness of the published research. A research critique is necessary to assess a research product and to determine its relevance to proposed research and to best practice in the field in which your own research is to be located.

What, you might ask; does a good research critique look like? What does it consist of? Because a research critique is systematic, when you are conducting one, you should begin with the very first part of the research product and review all subsequent parts until the reference list at the end of the work. In other words, you start from the first paragraph, and systematically work your way through the whole document that you are critiquing.

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This process is best achieved by asking questions about each part of the research product to determine, whether it achieves the expected purpose or purposes, whether it is believable, whether it is robust, and whether it has integrity. Let me comment briefly on a couple of these attributes. In critiquing the robustness and integrity of the research, you ask the following questions as you review the product.

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This rewritten and updated sixth edition of the long-running bestseller Research Methods in Education covers the whole range of methods currently employed by . This rewritten, expanded and updated 7th edition of the long-running bestseller Research Methods in Education encompasses the whole range of methods.

Does the title accurately represent what the research was about, in clear and succinct words? Does the abstract adequately represent what the article is about, including research question, problem investigated, methodology, findings and recommendations?