Processes of Educational Research
Meaning of Educational Research:
Educational Research as nothing but cleansing of educational Research is nothing but cleansing of educational process. Many experts think Educational Research as under-
According to Mouly, “Educational Research is the systematic application of scientific method for solving for solving educational problem.”
Travers thinks, “Educational Research is the activity for developing science of behavior in educational situations. It allows the educator to achieve his goals effectively.”
According to Whitney, “Educational Research aims at finding out solution of educational problems by using scientific philosophical method.”
Thus, Educational Research is to solve educational problem in systematic and scientific manner, it is to understand, explain, predict and control human behavior.
THE EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH PROCESS:
The steps in the process of Educational Research includes.
1-Identifying and Limiting a Research Topic or Problem
2-Formally Stating and Refining Research Question(s)
3-Reviewing Existing Literature Related to the problem
4-Writing a Literature Review
5-Developing a Research Plan
6-Implementing the Research Plan and Collecting Data
7-Analyzing the Data
8-Stating Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations in a Written ResearchReport
1-Identifying and Limiting a Research Topic or Problem:
The first and arguably most critical—decision for any educational research study is exactly what to study. Often, personal and professional experiences lend themselves to the identification of educational research topics. For those of us who have conducted Educational research studies, we typically choose topics we have had some previous Experience with or exposure to. Topics for educational research studies should hold a good deal of personal interest for the researcher. If for no other reason, you are going to spend several months, if not years, researching the topic so it most definitely should pique your interest. Personal interest, therefore, is a huge factor in deciding on an initial topic for educational research.
That being said, of course, there is likely nothing more important in terms of identifying an initial topic for research than an existing need. If a need has been determined, Then there will be an audience interested in the results of a given research study. A Need for research on a particular topic may stem from prior research conducted on that Topic. It may also arise from various experiences of practitioners in the field related to the topic. Therefore, current and future research, as driven by this identified need, Should likely make a contribution to the body of research in a particular field of study.
Another key factor in identifying a topic for a research study is verification that the potential topic is, in fact, a genuine problem. In other words, the researcher has a responsibility to provide a rationale for why this particular topic or problem is worthy of being studied. Arguably, the majority of the evidence for this justification and rationale will be found in the body of related research literature. The literature review should have a strong influence on the identification, specification, and articulation of the research problem. Similarly, specification of a particular research problem in subsequent cycles of research may be guided by various aspects of previously conducted research studies.
Other important factors include manageability and time. When conducting educational research studies, it is important to keep the ultimate goal in mind. Remember, the basic goal of nearly all research studies is to find answers to questions, or to help explain and understand some educational phenomenon. For example, if you are planning to con- duct a research study and know that you must have it completed in roughly 4 to 6 months, knowledge of that fact will contribute a great deal to decisions about the specific topic you wish to research. Similarly, exposure to and familiarity with various research designs can be a great benefit when trying to gauge the manageability of researching a particular topic.
2-Formally Stating and Refining Research Question(s):
Once the research topic or problem has been clearly identified, the next step is to formally state one or more research questions. Carefully wording a research question Is a critical aspect of conducting educational research, because the research question is What guides the remainder of the study. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that the question is actually answerable by data the researcher is able to collect. Failure to do So may result in the collection of inaccurate data, or perhaps data that do not parallel or Align with the research question. In cases such as these, unfortunately, you do not find out about the misalignment until the end of the study—when it is too late to restate your research question. Further discussions related to formally stating and refining Research questions—including sample research questions.
3-Reviewing Existing Literature Related to the problem:
Examiningexisting research studies can provide a great deal of background information and guidance to the identified problem serving as the focus of the research study. “Related literature” can be loosely defined as any existing source of information that sheds light on the topic under investigation. These sources might include publications Such as professional books, research journals, or unpublished research reports. Although there is really no limit to what can be used as background information on A given research topic, care must be taken to evaluate the existing literature against several criteria. These criteria include, but are not limited to, the following: the Objectivity of the published research (and/or the extent to which an author has clearly Identified and explained any potential bias); the specification of limitations inherent In the study; whether the research constitutes a primary (i.e., written by the individual Who actually conducted the research) or secondary (i.e., someone’s interpretation of Another’s research) source; whether the research is empirical or opinion-based; and Whether it has been subject to a process of peer review.
Reviewing related literature is a critical part of any research study because it can inform so many aspects, including the specification of the problem, development of the research questions, and determination of research designs and methodologies.
4-Writing a Literature Review:
For many researchers, one of the more challenging aspects of conducting a research study and writing a research report—is writing a formal review of related literature. Compiling And synthesizing literature related to a given topic is not always as straightforward as it Might seem. Adding to that challenge is the fact that every topic is different, especially In terms of the existing body of literature. Further, there is no “magical formula” that anyone can share with you regarding how to develop and formally write a review of Literature. That being said, however, guidance regarding the development of a literature Review can still be provided to the novice researcher.
5-Developing a Research Plan:
Specification of the research problem, development of research questions, and a thorough review of the existing body of literature provide the necessary groundwork to begin developing a plan to conduct an educational research study. The next step in the process is to specify exactly how a study will be conducted by answering several Key questions related to the research plan, also known as the research methods:
• What data will be collected?
• Will those data be qualitative, quantitative, or both?
• Do the data already exist, or will original data be required?
• Will it be necessary to develop instrumentation (e.g., a survey or rating scale) or Interview protocols?
• How and when will the data be collected?
• How will the quality of the data be ensured?
• If the data need to be collected from human participants, from whom will they be collected?
• How many participants will be necessary?
• What techniques will be used to analyze those data?
• Do all of the above align well with the research question(s)?
6-Implementing the Research Plan and Collecting Data:
Once the plethora of decisions outlined in the previous section have been made—and Aligned appropriately with the research question—it is time to implement the research Plan and physically collect data. Fraenkel and Wallen (2003) suggest three broad categories of data collection techniques. First, data can be collected through the observation of Participants in the study. These participants might include students, teachers, parents, Administrators, or any combination of those groups of individuals. Observational data can be collected through the use of field notes, journals, or even videotaping.
A second category of data collection techniques involves collection of data by Means of interviews with any of those groups of individuals involved in the educational process. Granted, when we think of interviews, we typically think of an oral Question-and-answer exchange between participants in a study. However, interview Data may also be collected through a pencil and paper or even electronic format. Questionnaires and surveys can be used to ask individuals about their personal opinions or perspectives on some aspect of the educational process under investigation.
The third category of data collection techniques involves examination of existing Documents or records. Often, collection of existing data requires the least amount of time, since they have already been collected; it is the job of the researcher merely to locate those data. However, this process is not always so simple. Often, it may be difficult to physically locate these data, especially if a good deal of time has elapsed since their occurrence. Examples of existing documents might include attendance records, minutes of faculty meetings, policy manuals, and student portfolios—the list of existing data in schools is seemingly endless.
I typically add a fourth category of data collection techniques, composed primarily of quantitative measures such as checklists, rating scales, tests, and other formal assessments that are routinely administered in schools. Often, if we want to look at the effectiveness of instruction, for example, we may want to look at assessments that have been administered to students. Of course, within this category, we would also include scores resulting from the administration of standardized tests. It is important to recognize that the reader may see some overlap with the previous category of existing documents. This is certainly a reasonable perspective, as many quantitative measures that exist in schools naturally occur as part of the educational process. However, these are certainly realistic as well as important and meaningful—sources of educational research data.
7-Analyzing the Data:
Analysis of data occurs at different points in the process, depending on whether the Study uses quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods designs and techniques. In Quantitative research studies, data analysis typically occurs following the completion of all data collection. Once all data have been collected and organized appropriately (i.e., to correspond to the research questions and the intended analytical techniques), those data are then subjected to appropriate analyses through the use of some Statistical analysis software program (e.g., SPSS, Excel, StatCrunch). Quantitative Analysis of data is a very objective process; since the analysis is actually being done By computer software, the subjectivity and potential biases of the researcher do not Impact the results. In other words, regardless of who analyzes the data, the results Will be identical—although it is important to realize that there may still be a good Deal of subjectivity when it comes to interpretation of the statistical results.
In contrast, during qualitative research studies, data analysis typically begins duringdata collection, continues throughout the remainder of the process of collecting data, and is completed following data collection. It is not uncommon for initial rounds of qualitative data analysis to necessitate the collection of additional or different qualitative Data, to help fully answer the research question(s). The analysis of qualitative data is, by Definition and design, a highly subjective process. In contrast to quantitative analyses, Qualitative analyses are not conducted via a computerized (i.e., “nonhuman”) process. Of course, computer software is available for assisting with coding in the transcription Process; however, qualitative analyses are conducted exclusively by the human mind. Generally speaking, this technique consists of categorization based on logical analysis. The practice of polyangulation is critical during this analytical process. The researcher must read, reread, organize, condense, and synthesize all the qualitative data in an attempt to identify themes, categories, or patterns that emerge from those data. It is not uncommon—in fact, it is quite typical—for multiple researchers to arrive at very different results and conclusions after analyzing even a small set of qualitative data.
In essence, the analysis of data in mixed-methods research studies capitalizes on the best of both of the above “data analysis worlds.” While the techniques for analyzing quantitative data and those for analyzing qualitative data within a mixed-methods study are the same as described above, the researcher must engage in a different sort of polyangulation to “merge” both kinds of data. By engaging in this process, the researcher gains a better understanding of how qualitative data and subsequent analyses can inform quantitative data analyses, and vice versa.
8-Stating Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations in a Written Research Report:
Once data analysis has been completed, the researcher has the responsibility of formally and succinctly stating the results, also known as findings, as well as conclusionsand recommendations resulting from the study. This is the point in the study where the researcher actually provides answers to the originally stated research questions. However, this step in the process is not quite as simple as that. The researcher must Then take the answers to research questions and contextualize them with respect to The broader field of education, the context of the study, the setting of the study, and So forth. In other words,
• What do the findings mean to the field of education?
• What are the implications for practicing educators?
• What impact might they have on students and parents?
• What recommendations for practice can be made?
• What recommendations, if any, regarding educational theory can be made?
With respect to a final written research report, this section potentially carries the most weight. Most readers of educational research reports will look to the substantive Meaning of the researchers’ final conclusions and recommendations that have resulted from the study. Although they will read the entire written report, this is a situation somewhat similar to when a person skips ahead to the last chapter of a novel to see how the story ends.
One additional—and vitally important—aspect of developing conclusions and recommendations is that they must follow logically from the research questions, the data That were collected, and the results of the analyses of those data. In other words, care must be taken so that conclusions and recommendations do not become so global that they extend beyond the parameters of the particular study.
Educational research attempts to solve a problem. Research involves gathering new data from primary or first-hand sources or using existing data for a new purpose. Research is based upon observable experience or empirical evidence. Research demands accurate observation and description.
The overall aim of educational research is to provide teachers, clinicians, managers and learners with systematically obtained information that helps to improve the quality of the learning process.