Making Sense of Research: What's Good, What's Not, and How To Tell the Difference

Making Sense of Research: What's Good, What's Not, and How To Tell the Difference

by Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins, Patrick J. McEwan

This book is for practitioners at all levels, from teachers making site-specific decisions to administrators making schoolwide and policy decisions.See more details below


This book is for practitioners at all levels, from teachers making site-specific decisions to administrators making schoolwide and policy decisions.

Product Details

SAGE Publications
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.25(w) x 10.36(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Elaine K. McEwan is an educational consultant with The McEwan-Adkins Group, offering professional development for educators to assist them in meeting the challenges of literacy learning in Grades Pre K-6. A former teacher, librarian, principal, and assistant superintendent for instruction in several suburban Chicago school districts, Elaine is the award-winning and best-selling author of more than three dozen books for educators. Her Corwin Press titles include Raising Reading Achievement in Middle and High Schools: Five Simple-to-Follow Strategies for Principals, Second Edition (2006), Seven Strategies of Highly Effective Readers: Using Cognitive Research to Boost K-8 Achievement (2004), Ten Traits of Highly Effective Principals: From Good to Great Performance (2003), Making Sense of Research: What’s Good, What’s Not, and How to Tell the Difference (2003), Seven Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership, Second Edition (2003), Teach Them ALL to Read: Catching the Kids Who Fall through the Cracks (2002), and Ten Traits of Highly Effective Teachers: How to Hire, Mentor, and Coach Successful Teachers (2001).

McEwan was honored by the Illinois Principals Association as an outstanding instructional leader, by the Illinois State Board of Education with an Award of Excellence in the Those Who Excel Program, and by the National Association of Elementary School Principals as the National Distinguished Principal from Illinois for 1991. She received her undergraduate degree in education from Wheaton College and advanced degrees in library science (MA) and educational administration (EdD) from Northern Illinois University.

McEwan lives with her husband and business partner, E. Raymond Adkins, in Oro Valley, Arizona. Between them, Elaine and Ray have five children, fifteen grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Patrick J. McEwan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and an affiliate of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Previously, he taught in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and served as Assistant Director of Research at the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He completed his PhD in education at Stanford University, in addition to master's degrees in economics and international development. His published books (with Henry Levin) include Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications, Second Edition (2001) and Cost-Effectiveness and Educational Policy: 2002 Yearbook of the American Education Finance Association (2002). He is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and reports, and he has consulted on education policy and evaluation at the Inter-American Development Bank, RAND, UNESCO, and the ministries of education of several countries. His recent research (with Martin Carnoy) has evaluated the impact of Chile's national voucher plan on the effectiveness and efficiency of primary education.

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Table of Contents

Foreword - Henry M. Levin
The Goals of This Book
Who This Book Is For
What This Book Is Not
Overview of the Contents
A Few Words of Explanation
About the Authors
1. Asking the Right Questions
What Is Our Approach to Making Sense of Research?
Five Questions About Research
Four Case Studies of Education Research
Further Reading
2. Behind the Scenes in the World of Education Research
The World of Education Research
Who Does Education Research?
Who Pays for It?
Where Is It Published?
Can You Trust Education Research?
What Does the Future Hold for Education Research?
Does Education Research Really Matter?
Further Reading
3. The Causal Questions: Does It Work? (Part I)
The Causality Conundrum
Simple (Minded) Methods of Establishing Causality
What Can Go Wrong With Experiments?
Why Are Experiments So Unpopular With Education Teachers
Further Reading
4 The Causal Question: Does It Work? (Part II)
Quasi-Experiments and Non-Experiments
The Researcher's Bag of Tricks
Quasi-Experimental Approaches
Non-Experimental Approaches
Further Reading
5. The Process Question: How Does It Work?
What Is Qualitative Research?
The Qualities of Qualitative Research
The Power of Qualitative Research
Qualitative Research Methods
From Whence Comes the Quality in Qualitative Research?
Further Reading
6. The Cost Question: Is It Worthwhile?
The Concept of Costs
The Ingredients Method of Cost Analysis
Two Important Cost Questions
Further Reading
7. The Usability Question: Will It Work for Me?
Will it Work in My Setting?
Some Rules of Thumb for Making Generalizations
Research Reviews and Meta-Analysis
Special Considerations for Qualitative and Cost Studies
Making Trade-Offs
Further Reading
8. The Evaluation Question: Is It Working for Me?
What Is User-Driven Research?
User-Driven Research at Lincoln Middle School
Asking the Right Questions
Refocusing on Outcomes
Defining the Problems
Exemplars of User-Driven Research
Further Reading
Resource: Bibliographies for Case Studies
Class Size Reduction
Phonics Instruction
Private-School Vouchers
Whole-School Reform

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