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Part I Understanding the Research Process
Chapter 1 The Research Process
Chapter 2 Research Designs
Chapter 3 Reading and Evaluating Research Reports
Part II Understanding the Research Report
Chapter 4 Reading and Evaluating Introductory Sections: Abstract, Background, and Purpose
Chapter 5 Reading and Evaluating Subject/Participant Sections
Chapter 6 Reading and Evaluating Information and Data Collection Sections
Chapter 7 Reading, Evaluating, and Interpreting Procedure and Results Sections
Chapter 8 Reading and Interpreting Qualitative Procedure and Findings Sections
Chapter 9 Reading and Evaluating Discussion Sections
Chapter 10 Reading and Interpreting Reviews of Research
Part III Understanding How to Find Research Reports
Chapter 11 Locating Information About Research Reports
Appendix A Glossary
Appendix B Representative Quantitative and Qualitative Research Reports
Appendix C Standards for Research and Program Evaluation
We intend the third edition of Interpreting Educational Research: An Introduction for Consumers of Research to be used in introductory research courses in which elementary and early childhood education teachers, reading/literacy specialists, special education teachers, and content area teachers at the middle and secondary school levels are prepared as consumers rather than as producers of educational research. We provide preservice and in-service teachers with basic knowledge and skills for reading, interpreting, and evaluating both quantitative and qualitative educational research, so that they can make program, curriculum, and instructional decisions based upon those research results. This knowledge base is useful for teachers who collaborate in research projects with college and university faculty and other teachers. In addition, we provide a guide for composing teacher-as-researcher action research projects and syntheses of research.
Through directed learning activities based on current integrated language arts principles and practices for reading and writing content area discourse, we guide readers to independence in the use of techniques for reading, interpreting, evaluating, and writing about education research. The evaluation of education research is approached by us so teachers will become research consumers by understanding the underlying methodological and procedural assumptions used by educators who are research producers. In essence, teachers are guided in research literacy learning to think as research producers.
Our revisions consist of updating information about how research is produced, providing more recentexamples of research methodology, replacing the complete research reports in Appendix B and adding an additional study, and providing current standards for producing action or program evaluation research. The discussions throughout the text are supported with examples of what we feel are good, curriculum-based, quantitative and qualitative research reports representing the fields of elementary-, middle-, and secondary-school general and content-area education, reading/literacy education, and gifted and special education. A very important revision we have made is to update and expand the explanation and interpretation of qualitative research. We have added information about the use of effect size in analyzing quantitative results. The discussion about interpreting and evaluating reviews of research has been revised to reflect current thought about syntheses of research. Information and strategies for locating research reports through the use of electronic databases and the Internet have been updated and expanded. Because we feel that all educators, whether consumers or producers of research, should know and appreciate the criteria for conducting instructional program evaluations, we have added the program evaluation standards that have been established by professional associations.
In this revision, we have maintained the organization and chapter topics of the previous editions. The text is organized into eleven chapters and three appendices. In Chapters 1, 2, and 3, we lead the reader to an understanding of research designs, the general procedures of research producers, and a plan for reading research reports. In Chapters 4 through 9, we present extended discussions of the aspects of research design and methodology and illustrations of the manner in which research producers present them in research reports. In Chapters 10 and 11, we provide information about reading and writing reviews of research and about sources for locating research reports. In the appendices are a glossary of key terms, six complete research reports for additional study and analysis, and ethical standards for conducting educational and program evaluation research.
We begin each chapter with a graphic overview of the content (as shown on page ix) and focus questions so readers can attend to the key ideas of the chapter and the interrelationships portrayed in the structured overview. In the main body of the chapters, we provide techniques for reading, interpreting, and writing about specific sections of research reports. In the activities section at the end of each chapter, we present ways for the reader to gain greater understanding of the key concepts and proficiency in applying the evaluative techniques. For each of these activities, we provide the reader with feedback in which we give samples of how we might respond to our own students' work.
Special features of the text are as follows:
No book is published without the support, input, and assistance of others, and we continue to be indebted for the help and assistance of many people. We are grateful for the encouragement and support of our colleagues at CUNY/Queens College, who have used the first and second editions and have provided us with invaluable insights for this revision. We appreciate the comments and critiques of our students and have incorporated many of their ideas in the revision. We also thank our colleagues at Metis Associates, Inc., New York, for their support.
We are fortunate to have had Suzanne Li's assistance in the preparation of Chapter 11. She provided extensive knowledge and insight about both traditional and electronic searches of library resources as well as numerous recommendations for revising and modifying the chapter's content.
We appreciate the constructive comments and reviews by Joe L. Green, Texas Tech University; Anthony Manzo, University of Missouri, Kansas City; and Thomas J. Sheerman, Niagara University. We have given extensive consideration to their concerns and questions and have incorporated many of them in the revision. We also have kept in mind comments and reviews of the second edition by Maurice R. Berube, Old Dominion University; J. Kent Davis, Purdue University; Thomas D. Dertinger, University of Richmond; and Karen Ford, Ball State University. However, we ultimately take responsibility for the interpretations and perspectives about research presented in the text. We also are extremely grateful for the help and assistance by Kevin Davis and Mary Harlan at Merrill, and Linda Zuk at WordCrafters.