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Chapter 1


 

 

EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH

 

Research is the systematic application of a family of methods that are employed to problems. Educational research is the systematic application of a family of methods that are employed to provide trustworthy information about educational problems. Most researchers, including educational researchers, undertake their inquiry to gain understanding about some issue or topic that they don’t fully comprehend.

      The researcher is expected to describe in detail the procedures used to conduct the research study, thus providing a basis for examination and verification of the results. These checks and balances allow research to be understood and critiqued in ways not available using tradition, experts, personal experience, or inductive or deductive reasoning alone.

       At the heart of a scientific and disciplined inquiry approach is an orderly process that, a minimum, involves four basic steps:

1.       Recognize and identify a topic to be studied . A topic or a question, issue, or problem related to education that can be examined or answered through the collection and analysis of data.

2.       describe and execute procedures to collect information about the topic being studied . The procedures include identification of the research participants, the measures needed to collect data related to the topic, and the activities describing how, when, and from whom the data will be collected. The procedures dictate to a large extent the specific activities that will take place during data collection.

3.       analyze the collected data . The analysis of the collected data is related to the nature of the topic studied (step 1) and to the data collected (step 2). Some research topics are best analyzed using quantitative, numerical data and a variety of statistical approaches. Other research topics are more qualitative inform and rely upon data in the form of  narratives, tape recordings, and field notes. Qualitative data are usually analyzed using interpretive rather than statistical analysis. Regardless or the kind of data collected, some form of analysis is necessary.

4.       state the results or implications based on analysis of the data . Conclusions reached in the research study should relate back to the original research topic. What can be concluded about this topic based on the results of the study?

 

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

The fundamental purpose of educational research is to increase our understanding of educational processes, practices, and issues. Quantitative methods of research are based on the collection and analysis of numerical data, usually obtained from questionnaires, tests, checklists, and other formal paper-and pencil instruments. But a quantitative approach entails more than just the use of numerical data. It also involves:

1.       stating both the hypothesis studied and the research  procedures that will be implemented prior to conducting the study,

2.       maintaining control over contextual factors that might interfere with the data collected,

3.       using large enough samples of participants to provide statistically meaningful data, and

4.       employing data analysis that rely on statistical procedures.

Quantitative researchers generally have little personal interaction with the people they study, since most data  are gathered using paper and pencil, structured, non interactive instruments.

       Qualitative approaches are based on the collection and analysis of nonnumerical data such as observations, interviews, and other more discursive sources of information. Qualitative research methods are based on different beliefs and purposes than quantitative research methods. For example, qualitative research does not accept the view of a stable, coherent, uniform world. It argues that meaning is situated in a particular perspective and context, and, since different people and groups often have different perspectives and context, there are many different meanings in the world, none of which is necessarily more valid or true than another. 

       Some fundamental differences in how quantitative or qualitative research is often conducted reflect these different perspectives on meaning and how one can approach it. For example, qualitative research tends not to state hypotheses or research procedures before any data are collected; research problems and methods tend to evolve as understanding of the research context deepens. In qualitative research, context is not controlled. Additionally, in qualitative research the number of participants studied tends to be small, in part because of time-intensive methods like interviews and observations. Qualitative research analyzes data interpretively by organizing the data into categories, identifying patterns, and producing a descriptive narrative synthesis, whereas quantitative analysis involves statistical procedures. Finally, because of the data collection methods and the effort to understand the participants’ own perspective, researchers using qualitative methods often interact extensively with the participants during the study. In qualitative research, researchers strive to control context, so they do not interact with the participants.

        Despite the differences between them, quantitative and qualitative research should not be considered oppositional. Taken together, they represent the full range of educational research methods. The terms quantitative and qualitative are used to conveniently differentiate one research approach from the other. If you see yourself as a positivist, that does not mean you cannot use or learn from qualitative research methods. The same holds true for you non-positivists about quantitative research.

 

Comparison of Quantitative and Qualitative Research

                                 Quantitative                           Qualitative

approach

 

purpose

 

 

 

 research focus

 

 

 

  

research plan

 

 

 

data analysis

 

 

deductive

 

theory testing, prediction, establishing facts, hypothesis testing
 

 

isolates variables, uses large samples, is often anonymous to participants, collects data using tests and formal instruments

 

developed before study is initiated, structured, proposal is formal

 

 

mainly statistical, quantitative

inductive

 

describing multiple realities, developing deep understanding, capturing everyday life and human perspectives

 

examines full context, interacts with participants, collects data face-to-face from participants

 

  

begins with an initial idea that evolves as researcher learns more about participants and setting, flexible, proposal is tentative

 

mainly interpretative, descriptive

 

        Depending on the nature of the question or topic to be investigated, either a qualitative or quantitative approach will generally be more appropriate. In fact, both may be utilized in the same studies, as when the administration of a questionnaire (quantitative ) is followed up by a small number of detailed interviews (qualitative ) to obtain deeper explanations for the numerical data. Qualitative and quantitative approaches represent complementary components of the scientific and disciplined inquiry approach; qualitative approaches involve primarily inductive reasoning while quantitative approaches involve primarily deductive reasoning. If hypotheses are involved, a qualitative study is much more likely to generate them, whereas a quantitative study is much more likely to test them. At an operational level, qualitative approaches are more holistic and process-oriented, whereas quantitative approaches are more narrowly focused and outcome-oriented.

 

 

 

Featured Articles

                       

Chapter 1         EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH

Chapter 2         DESCRIPTIVE RESEARCH

Chapter 3         CORRELATIONAL RESEARCH

Chapter 4         CAUSAL-COMPARATIVE RESEARCH

Chapter 5         EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH

Chapter 6         QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS

Chapter 7         ACTION RESEARCH IN THE SCHOOLS

Chapter 8         IDENTIFYING A TOPIC TO RESEARCH NARROWING

                       THE TOPIC, AND STATING THE RESEARCH TOPICS                               

Chapter 9         DATA COLLECTION AND DATA ANALYSIS       

Chapter 10       DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS  

Chapter 11       INFERENTIAL STATISTICS  

Chapter 12       NARRATIVE RESEARCH  

 

References  

 

 

Tue, 10 May 2011 @23:08

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