PreK-12 Education (Teaching & Learning) Research: About Research

Suggested library resources for education research, primarly focused on PreK-12th grade.

The Research Process

Research is a process. That means you will be spending time honing your research question, looking for sources to gain background information on your topic, refining your research question as you learn more, searching for additional sources to help answer your questions, reading the sources you find, looking for connections between sources to develop your key points/arguments, writing your paper, and then citing your sources. Remember, you want to find the best, highest quality research to support your ideas, so give yourself a lot of time to do your research and feel free to contact me if you need research assistance!

Be sure you know what each assignment requires. Your assignment will include terms like find "primary sources," "scholarly sources," "peer-reviewed articles," "empirical research," etc. If you are unsure what is expected, talk to your faculty member.

The Research Process

What is Evidence-Based Practice?

What is Empirical Research?

Some projects and assignments require you to locate "Empirical Research" (e.g. M.Ed. Capstone)

We construe the term “empirical educational research” broadly to include experimental and quasi-experimental quantitative studies, qualitative studies of various kinds, and design experiments.  To be classified as “empirical,” a study must make use of data/evidence from observation or experiment.  To be “research,” the data must be gathered and analyzed systematically.  Empirical educational research is reported in peer-reviewed journals after being thoroughly vetted by others engaged in similar inquiry.

Be wary of individual teachers’ anecdotal reports of “I taught it this way,” usually found in practitioner’s journals and magazines.  These personal descriptions of and reflection on practice are not the same as systematic case studies.   Your goal is to determine what research-based knowledge is available to inform the thinking of teachers as they take on the selected subject matter.  Keep your eye on research journals (especially those listed in the LibGuide).  Occasionally there are useful empirical reports in practitioners’ journals but that is less likely.

In your bibliography, you may include any peer-reviewed sources in which authors a) make claims that have been systematically investigated and are empirically grounded, or b) systematically review the empirically grounded claims of other researchers, or c) use empirical studies to frame concepts that can be used to understand and investigate further the content learning under consideration.    If you have any question about whether or not a source represents an acceptable level of peer review, please check it with your team captain.