An Education Research Primer: How to Understand, Evaluate and Use It / Edition 1

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Overview

With efforts to transform education into a“research-based” field, educators are always on thewatch for research to inform educational decisions. Whetherit’s for making choices about class scheduling, instructionalpractices, or educational interventions, educators often rely onresearch studies to help them determine how and why particularprograms might be effective, or what really works in the classroom.But what makes for quality research? Are research claims alwaysjustified? And how can educators identify research that’suseful or relevant to their needs?

Produced with the assistance of Mid-continent Research forEducation and Learning (McREL), one of the nation’s foremosteducational research and training organizations, An EducationResearch Primer gives educators a basic understanding ofeducational research, its guiding criteria, and its relevance toschool-based decision-making. In clear and concise language thebook summarizes the various types of educational research,explaining their diverse purposes and methods. For example, thedifference between experimental research (studies involving controlgroup trials) and descriptive research (based on descriptive information and relationships) is explained, including how each isdesigned to address different types of research questions, and whyeach might have different applications.  The book alsodescribes what’s involved in setting up a comparison controlgroup and how some studies have randomized control groups whileothers do not. In addition, the book describes the different typesof data collection methods used in research and how this can bearon the research findings.

Particular attention is given to the scientific criteria thatsupport the research and why this is important to educators. Thebook then provides step-by-step information on how to evaluate,analyze, and assess the validity of research studies, whether it isexperimental research, descriptive research, or research presentedin a literature review. Educators learn to ask critical questions:Did the research design match the research question? Were the datacollection methods reliable? How were the conclusions summarized? Were all the variables or rival explanations accounted for? Inaddition, the book provides tools for accessing relevant research,suggestions for reading research reports, and practical guidancefor understanding statistics. The discussion includes extensiveresearch examples and is linked to practical policy andprogrammatic questions throughout.

An Education Research Primer demystifies educationalresearch and is an indispensable resource for practicing andaspiring educational researchers, for school leaders and teachers,and for educational policy makers who must comply withtoday’s educational standards.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“The examples of how to critique published research—especially research using quasi-experimental designs—are the clearest and most detailed I have every read. My students found it very helpful.”—Martin L. Tombari, professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Denver

 

“Finally, Dr. Lauer has written a book for all educators, parents, and policy makers that provides all of the information and explanation needed to easily understand and interpret educational research.”—Charles DeRemer, assistant superintendent for instructional services, Fargo Public Schools, Fargo, North Dakota

 

“Teachers, principals, superintendents, policy makers, and anyone new to educational research will find An Educational Research Primer an invaluable resource. It demystifies basic research principles and methods by providing numerous examples and other clarifying materials.”—Vickie Grant, director of school improvement and assessment, Shannon County Public School District #65-1

 

“The book provides a useful and usable resource for everyone who needs to use research for improving educational policy and practice. It is a clear, coherent, user-friendly guide to understanding scientifically based research at all levels of education. This primer should part of an educator’s professional library.”—Joseph H. Simpson, deputy executive director, Council of Chief State Schools Officers

 
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787983239
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/31/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 726,187
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia A. Lauer, Ph.D., is a former principal researcher withMid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) inAurora, Colorado. Currently, she is the evaluation director for theRocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion and Education inLakewood, Colorado.

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Table of Contents

Lauer, An Education Primer

CONTENTS

Preface

1. The Purpose of Educational Research

2. Scientific Criteria in Educational Research

3. The Types of Educational Research

4. Understanding Experimental and Descriptive Research

5. Understanding Data Collection Approaches

6. Issues in Evaluating Education Research

7. Evaluating Experimental Research Studies

8. Evaluating Descriptive Research Studies

9. Evaluating Literature Reviews

10. Assessing the Relevance of Research Studies

Appendices

A. Tips on Reading Research Reports

B. Glossary of Education Research Terms

C. Finding Education Research

D. Research Statistics Tutorial

References

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