“Educational research is a structured scientific inquiry into an educational question that provides an answer contributing toward increasing the body of generalizable knowledge about educational concerns” (Hopkins C. A., 1990, pp. 23-24) So when asked, why us educational research the answer is clear. We need and do educational research to provide answers and to contribute more knowledge about our educational concerns. Our text book for this class suggests six reasons for the importance of educational research: Educators are constantly trying to understand educational processes and must make professional decisions. Noneducational policy groups, such as state and federal legislatures and courts, have increasingly mandated changes in education. Concerned public, professional, and private groups and foundations have increased their research activities. Reviews of prior research have interpreted accumulated empirical evidence. Educational research is readily available.
Many educators who are not full-time researchers conduct studies to guide their decisions and to serve as efforts in classroom, school, and system accountability. (McMillan, 2006)
Educational research is used at the local level to provide knowledge about education for our communities. For example, if the local community college wanted to expand their offerings, educational research could provide them with information about what the community would like to see offered, what the general needs for education in the area are, and any other pertinent data that is needed. Educational research at the state and national level is used to provide knowledge about education that is generally used in policy making, bill passing, budget dictates, and curriculum decisions. So you can see that it plays an important part no matter what level it is used for. Our book describes the functions of research as basic, applied, evaluation, and action. Each of these plays an important role depending on what knowledge is needed. The purpose or function of basic research is to know and explain through testing, specific theories that provide broad generalizations. It is not designed to solve social problems it is more oriented towards theory and general explanations. Applied research generally is focused on a specific area e.g. medicine, engineering, social work or education. Applied research is used to find solutions to general problems. In the field of education applied research usually focuses on problems that need to be solved to improve practice. Also in the field of education the research focuses on the knowledge about educational theories and practices, as opposed to focusing on universal knowledge. There is also the function of evaluation research which focuses on a particular practice at a given site. Evaluation research can determine how valuable or worthwhile a particular practice is at a site. Is the practice doing what it was supposed to do? Is it worth the cost? These are the types of questions that evaluation research can answer. Lastly, there is action research. As the term ‘action’ implies this research involves current problems and issues. Action research may focus on three levels: individual teacher research, research by teams in a single school or department, and school wide research. It is generally done locally because the issues that this type of research addresses are usually at the classroom, school, or district and community level. Action research can be both quantitative and qualitative in nature and intense research control is not essential. (McMillan, 2006) Some of the limitations on educational research include:
Legal and ethical consideration. Because research primarily focuses on people, one must be careful to protect the rights and welfare of the people being researched. If a person is underage there are documents to be signed by their parent or custodian, and likewise if...
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