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Reading and Understanding Research

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http://www.jielusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Epistemology-in-Education.pdf

Reading And Understanding Research

  1. The Purpose/Goals of Educational Research

The educational research focuses on studying teaching-learning situation with the intention of developing new knowledge aimed at improving educational practice. Locke, Silverman, and Spirduso (2009) have identified a number of variables that educational research seeks to address. They include learning, motivation, teaching, classroom management, and student development. Usually, this form of research involves collecting scientific data on such topics related to education with the main goal of determining the best practices that different stakeholders such as students, supervisors, counselors, and educators can apply to achieve the best learning outcomes.

Reading and Understanding Research

Educational research, therefore, seeks to identify the best practices that can be applied in teaching. It can be conducted to answer a number of questions related to education including finding out whether positive encouragement helps to improve learning of students. To answer such questions, scientific methods have to be employed. The use of scientific method in collecting scientific data givens educational research the capacity to provide definitive answers relating to best practices in the field of education.

  1. What kind of things can we find out by reading research?

 

Locke, Silverman, and Spirduso (2009, p. 10) note that the kind of information that can be obtained from reading research is influenced most by the perspective of the reader rather than that of the researcher. Different people read research reports for varying reasons depending on their circumstances, needs, and interests. Although the reader’s motivations can only be imagined or predicated, the authors indicate that reading research exposes people to rich reserve of both facts and ideas. Therefore, reading research gives people research-based knowledge depending on individual personal perspective relating to what is read.

According to Locke, Silverman, and Spirduso (2009, p. 68), reading research helps to solve puzzles since it helps in understanding different reports. The authors, however, point out that this is a function of both reading and studying. They indicate that, only a few people can begin a reading a research report continuously from its beginning to end and assimilate it. Understanding research report by reading it involves both reading and studying, where a person flips pages forward and back. Moreover, underlining, highlighting, making notes, and even taking some breaks to understand what has just been read.

  1. Why is epistemology an important category for educators and / or educational researchers?

Reading and Understanding Research

Epistemology refers to an area of philosophy that concerns itself with knowledge, its nature and sources. Epistemology is relevant to research given that research involves development or construction of new knowledge. In educational research in particular, investigations conducted on students’ beliefs about knowledge form the basis of inquiry into their epistemological beliefs. Educational researchers that conduct investigations on personal epistemology of students develop a better understanding of the learning process.

Moreover, knowledge about student’s epistemology is important for educators since it helps in building a teacher-student and diverse school community. Educators that have a complete understanding of epistemic beliefs better comprehend their students ‘ability to think and reason. Moreover, epistemology helps teachers recognize any differences that may exists in their students in the manner in which the view knowledge. Teachers that recognize personal epistemology are better positioned to engage in reflective thinking.

  1. Different types of research methodology appeal to different people. Do you feel more comfortable with the processes of quantitative or qualitative research methods? Why? What is it you specifically like or dislike about each?

 

Qualitative and quantitative research methods are the two major categories of research mythologies. Qualitative methods produce qualitative data that seeks to give explanation to the cause of behavior. On the other hand, quantitative research methods rely on numerical analysis as well as statistics and produce quantitative data. While some of the studies I have conducted warranted only one for of these research methods, others required the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods. However, I tend to feel more comfortable with the process of qualitative research since it helps me acquire in-depth knowledge about the topic at hand. Moreover, I find this qualitative research to be extremely fun and engaging primarily because of its data collection techniques that include interview, focus groups, and observation. I find interviews particularly interesting because they help me to gather precise and meaningful firsthand information. Moreover, focus group is advantageous given that with the present technology, online surveys can be conducted with ease. I prefer qualitative research because it is less expensive and more flexible than quantities research. Usually, it does not involve extensive methods or a large number of participants. These factors contribute to its flexibility in time and location.

The major reason I dislike qualitative research is that it does not allow for generalization of findings. Usually, the observations made cannot be used as a basis for the general public. Moreover,

 

 

One major disadvantage of qualitative research is that it cannot quantify how many of your audience answer one way or another. This makes it extremely difficult to create any type of solid statistic. Another con is that you cannot generalize your findings. As opposed to quantitative surveys, qualitative research does not allow you to use your findings as a basis for a broader audience or the public in general.

 

The downside to qualitative research is that moderators may be more prone to accusations of bias and personal subjectivity.

 

 

 Qualititative: Pros

Qualitative research allows one to explore topics in more depth and detail than quantitative research. Also, qualitative research is often less expensive than quantitative research, because you don’t need to recruit as many participants or use extensive methods. Another pro of qualitative research is that it offers flexibility as far as locations and timing because you don’t need to interview a large number of people at once.

Qualitiative: Cons

One major disadvantage of qualitative research is that it cannot quantify how many of your audience answer one way or another. This makes it extremely difficult to create any type of solid statistic. Another con is that you cannot generalize your findings. As opposed to quantitative surveys, qualitative research does not allow you to use your findings as a basis for a broader audience or the public in general.

Reading and Understanding Research

 

 

Qualitiative: Cons

One major disadvantage of qualitative research is that it cannot quantify how many of your audience answer one way or another. This makes it extremely difficult to create any type of solid statistic. Another con is that you cannot generalize your findings. As opposed to quantitative surveys, qualitative research does not allow you to use your findings as a basis for a broader audience or the public in general.

 

 

 

 

here is a focus on ethical considerations too. The study found some strengths of using qualitative methods for language “assessment and testing” research—such as, eliciting deeper insights into designing, administering, and interpreting assessment and testing; and exploring test-takers’ behaviour, perceptions, feelings, and understanding. Some weaknesses are, for instance, smaller sample size and time consuming. Quantitative research methods, on the other hand, involve a larger sample, and do not require relatively a longer time for data collection. Some limitations are that quantitative research methods take snapshots of a phenomenon: not in-depth, and overlook test-takers’ and testers’ experiences as well as what they mean by something. Among these two research paradigms, the quantitative one is dominant in the context of language testing and assessment research.

 

 

When to Use Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

Some studies will only warrant one form of research, but very often both qualitative and quantitative research can be used together. In Sunnydale High School 25 percent of 11th grade students drop out each year. The principal knows that a teacher’s perceived interest in a student reduces propensity to drop out. The principal wants to use quantitative research to find out how many students in 10th grade feel that their teacher is directly invested in their success. He sends an email to 100 students to complete an online survey. Survey responses show that 75% believe their teacher is invested in their success. The principal then decides to use qualitative research with the remaining 25% and lead a focus group. He asks them more specific details as to what they would like to see from their teachers to feel more motivated and inspired during their school day.

 

 

Reading and Understanding Research

 

uantitative research is based on numerical analysis and statistics.

 

 

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Research methodologies fall into two major types—qualitative and quantitative. Both types of research can be valuable and relevant to improving education. Both are equally scientific—if we align the right method with the specific question or questions being addressed (Shavelson & Towne, 2002; Wiersma, 2000

 

 

 

. As

for teachers, they

will be more engaged in

reflective teaching, and teacher development.

Hofer (2004) states teachers, who are aware

about their epistemic beliefs, are those who are

 

 

According to Perry (1970),

the understanding of students’ personal

epistemology promotes building

a diverse

school

community

. In instruction, Perry’s scheme can

be used by the teacher to understand how “he

can be so differently perceived

by various

students in his class” (

p

.

201). In this

way,

the

scheme is a solace to the teacher that

“can

free

his thinking for a more differentiated address to

individual students “where they are”” (

p

.

210)

 

 

 

 

  1. deepens students’ understandings and ties various disciplines together.

Epistemology can tie together many different disciplines and help students understand the fields a lot better. When I was in high school, I struggled a lot with various subjects as I tried to apply the same approach to learning to each of them. For example, I tried to make biology down to the core and understand it fundamentally. This worked extremely well for subjects like physics and math where concepts would click after you visualized and understood them intuitively. However, I could never really fundamentally understand most of the concepts we learnt in biology. Sometimes my biology teacher would get tired and even say “Stop asking why, this is biology. Somethings we just assume.” When we did our science unit in our epistemology class and understood the fundamental differences between how knowledge is gained in different disciplines, I finally conceded sometimes biology cannot be intuitive. Epistemology helped me a lot how I studied for different topics, participially in the sciences. It especially helped me when we learnt the history behind this science and I could really engage with how the scientists thought and how different ideas developed. This made the concepts themselves a lot easier to understand in my opinion.

  1. It encourages students to question their own belief and knowledge systems

Teaching epistemology raises awareness for our own personal biases and ideals which can sometimes disrupt our learning. Teaching students epistemology allows students to be aware of themselves: what they think, how they think and why they think that way. This also makes them more aware of the world around them and the way different people from different cultures and backgrounds think as well and might make them more accepting or understanding of differences. The need for more empathetic and individualistic people is stronger than ever in our current globally-interconnected world. With the prevalence of the internet and especially social media, it is easier than ever to share opinions. However, it is also easier than ever for individuals to stop thinking for themselves and just think how they are told. Mob mentality runs rampant on social media and ideas are increasingly being censored. It is very important to raise a generation that is aware of all the complexities that come along with knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Why is epistemology an important category for educators and / or educational researchers?

 

4) Different types of research methodology appeal to different people. Do you feel more comfortable with the processes of quantitative or qualitative research methods? Why? What is it you specifically like or dislike about each?

Reading and Understanding Research

5)Thus far in your understanding and experience, describe what you see could be the advantages and disadvantages of working on a research project in a group?

 

advantages:

– many ideas.

– Cooperate.

– Responsibility is shared.

 

Disadvantages:

– tension is the result of multiple opinions.

– Laziness.

 

Reference

Locke, L. F., Silverman, S. J., & Spirduso, W. W. (2009). Reading and understanding research. Sage Publications.