School-based Research: A Guide for Education Students

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Trainee teachers on M-level PGCE courses need to research their own practice during their school placements. This book guides and supports students through the research process.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This book is an excellent resource for both researchers and their tutors and supervisors. I particularly value the way in which Wilson and her colleagues set the scene by explaining why practitioner research is important and valuable and why teachers should do school-based research. Detailed chapters then address each stage of the research process, providing real examples from research and making good use of expert and novice and researchers' work. Reflective questions at the end of each chapter provide excellent prompts for self-evaluation and are an excellent resource for face-to-face teaching sessions. Methodologies and paradigms are also clearly addressed. The book is full of practical activities and examples that tutors can call on in their teaching and supervision and practitioner researchers can use to develop their understandings and insights. This is the best 'research methods' textbook I am aware of for researchers'
-Sue Walters, Institute of Education
Scottish Educational Review - Anne Pirrie
This is a thoroughly researched and helpful contribution to the burgeoning literature on research methods, with the added advantage of being aimed specifically at teachers who have an interest in reflecting on classroom interactions, interrogating their own practice and the behaviour and performance of their students.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412948500
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword x

Notes on Contributors xii

Introduction: PGCE - M level: why should teachers do school-based research? 1

Why are there PGCE - M level courses? 1

A Post-graduate, as opposed to a Professional, Certificate in Education at M (Masters) level 2

Why should teachers do school-based research? 3

Types of knowledge about teaching and learning 3

Researching practice and creating knowledge about teaching and learning 6

Creating new knowledge about teaching and learning 8

Teachers creating new knowledge about teaching and learning 10

How this book will help 10

The structure of the book 10

Section 1 Using existing research to understand and plan your own classroom-based research 13

1 Becoming a reflexive teacher Elaine Wilson 15

Teaching is about interaction 15

Educational discourse 16

Becoming a reflexive teacher 17

Challenging 'common sense' ideas 17

Using existing research literature 19

Critical reading activity 20

2 Refining the focus for research and formulating a research question Elaine Wilson 24

Introduction 24

Formulating the research question 25

Research purpose: why are you doing the research? 26

Looking at expert researchers' questions 30

Further examples of classroom-based research projects 31

The M-levelness of PGCE work 31

3 Using and reviewing literature Elaine Wilson 37

Introduction 37

What is the purpose of reviewing the literature? 38

Stages of reviewing literature 38

Finding literature 39

Types of literature 41

Using electronic databases 41

Setting search parameters 44

Published meta-analysis literature reviews 45

Managing literature 47

Section 2 Carrying out and reporting onclassroom-based research 55

4 Research design and ethics Elaine Wilson Kris Stutchbury 57

Theoretical perspectives 57

Which research approach will you use? 57

What is methodology? 58

Analysing methodology 62

Which methodology is useful for school-based research? 62

Other methodologies 63

Large-scale quantitative studies 64

How big should your sample be? 65

Is what you are proposing to do ethical? 65

Planning the data-collection process 71

Recording events - using a research diary 72

5 Collecting data Elaine Wilson Alison Fox 76

Deciding on data-collection methods 76

Reducing threats to the validity and reliability of your data-collection methods 81

Recording what is happening 83

Supporting and supplementing observation 84

Asking people about what is going on 87

Other sources of evidence 92

6 Handling data Elaine Wilson Alison Fox 96

Keeping your eye on the main game 96

Setting up an organized storage system 97

Presenting data 98

Analysing and interpreting data 99

Analysing images 110

7 Reliability and validity in qualitative research by teacher researchers Michael Evans 112

Introduction 112

What is qualitative research? 113

Reliability 116

Validity 117

Triangulation 120

Looking for negative evidence 122

Conclusion: thinking about reliability and validity in relation to your own project 122

8 Analysing qualitative data Michael Evans 125

The form of qualitative data 125

The Blurred line between data collection and analysis 126

Deductive and inductive orientations in qualitative analysis 129

9 Taking a quantitative approach Mark Winterbottom 137

Introduction 137

Ideas and Definitions 138

Quantitative approaches to research 141

Looking at other people's data 146

10 Analysing quantitative data Ros McLellan 154

Introduction 154

The example database 156

Creating a database in SPSS 157

Data analysis - generating descriptive statistics 159

Data analysis - inferential statistics 165

Concluding comments 168

11 Writing about your research Elaine Wilson 171

Introduction 171

Getting started 171

Composing your essay or thesis 173

The main body of the work 174

Reviewing what you have done 180

Revising your work 183

Section 3 Methodologies 187

12 Action research Elaine Wilson 189

What is action research? 189

How to do action research in your classroom 190

Refining the problem 190

Planning the action research 190

Acting out and observing the intervention 191

Reflecting and re-planning 191

Learning how to do action research by reading experts' work 193

Action-research traditions 193

Action-research methodology 195

Research traditions 196

Challenging your interpretations 197

Why should teachers do action research? 198

Assessing the quality of action research 199

Ensuring that your own work is rigorous and valid 199

13 The case study Helen Demetriou 203

What is a case study? 203

A short history of the case study 204

Criticisms of the case study 205

Designing a case study 206

Types of case study 206

Conducting case study research: tips for the case study researcher 207

The use of case studies in education 210

14 Building theory from data: grounded theory Keith S. Taber 216

What is 'grounded' theory? 216

Examples of educational studies drawing upon GT 217

Data and theory 218

Confirmatory versus exploratory studies 218

Characteristics of grounded theory 220

What are grounded theory 'methods'? 220

Induction: the context of discovery 221

Post-inductive resonance? 221

An overview of the grounded theory approach 222

Immersion and emergence 223

Core variables and theoretical saturation 224

Difficulties of a GT approach in student projects 225

The substantive and the general: testing the theory 226

Borrowing from GT 227

Section 4 Paradigms 231

15 Beyond positivism: 'scientific' research into eduction Keith S. Taber 233

What is a paradigm? 233

The nature of paradigmatic commitments in educational research 234

The nature of ability 235

An ontological question: what kind of thing is bullying? 236

Why is it important for researchers to take up a position on such issues? 238

Educational research paradigms 238

Two Problems for a positivist educational science 239

Three problems for a positivist natural science 241

A post-positivist notion of 'science' (that can include education) 245

Post-positivist scientific research takes place within a research programme 246

16 Interpretivism: meeting our selves in research Christine Counsell 251

Introduction: three teachers 251

Commentary on the three teachers 252

Re-thinking subjectivity 255

The emergence of an interpretivist paradigm 260

Symbolic interactionism 262

Symbolic interactionism meets ethnography 263

Phenomenology 268

Hermeneutics 272

Glossary 277

Index 281

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