What constitutes educational research?

For a change of pace, I thought today I'd revisit our original purpose around educational research as it's the content of my class tonight. The course is Critical Review of Research and the professor has asked us: What constitutes research?

We've started with the idea of "cherry picking" research. As a way of framing the conversation, a connection is made between researchers picking the data they want and people using quotes from the Bible to support an argument. As often happens in courses, we've meandered over the idea of the quality of research. Consider - is everything ASCD publishes high quality? Do they review content for books around ethical issues? Do they look for evidence behind a book (excluding Marzano, of course) before publishing it. Let's ignore for a moment all of the discussion about the federal policy around quality research. Are educators even taught how to be effective discriminators of research? Is that what curriculum coordinators and Associate Superintendents are for?

How about you? Do you feel you were/are prepared to filter through research? Do you seek out research to inform your practice?

1 comment:

Theresa G said...

The Learning System, a publication from NSDC, published an interesting article in their November 2007 issue titled "The good, the bad, the irrelevant: A brief guide to education research." It provides an interesting "worksheet" for educators to use to help determine whether something is "quality" research.
Interestingly - I heard a SED representative recently comment that much of what we have in education is not scientifically based - but rather evidence based. His premise was that education does not lend itself to true scientifically based research given in part that there are too many variables that cannot be replicated. What say you?