Working on your Education research project but don’t know where to start? We know it must be difficult when you don't have access to the usual support services. But don't panic! We've put together this page, full of top tips and advice from some of our educational research methods books to help you complete a successful research project from the comfort of your home.
The thought of starting your Education research project can be daunting, especially if you have never carried out a research project before. However, there are many misconceptions around research and carrying out a research project isn't as complex as it may seem...
There isn’t a magic formula for coming up with a good question and sometimes it can take quite a while to get it exactly how you want it. You are trying to formulate a question which is a straightforward and transparent explanation of what you want to find out. It needs to be precise and detailed so that you maintain a clear focus. Consider the following:
The timescale and word count for your project will be a significant influence on the breadth and depth of the research you can undertake. What is realistic for you within the context of your investigation as well as the current situation?
What elements of practice and interest can you combine? Can you begin to formulate tentative questions about these areas? How might you go about investigating them?
To find a focus for your research you need to combine a personal interest with existing research in the field so that you can contribute to what is already known about that particular element of practice. How does existing research help narrow your focus further?
What are your biases and preconceptions? What will you need to be aware of as you undertake the research?
Does your question clearly identify the elements of your research and indicate to the reader the main aim and focus for your investigation? Have you removed any ambiguous or misleading terms?
Does your question provide a narrow focus for the collection of data but broad potential scope for analysis?
Use this list of ten questions as a guide when framing your proposal either for a presentation, or for your written document:
It is important to gather a range of meaningful qualitative data for your research project, however it is important to take into account the current circumstances and how this will work for you. When gathering data…
have a plan for gathering good evidence that is relevant to your focus and provides rich insights
plan ways to make the capturing of relevant evidence as easy as possible
plan to gather evidence from a variety of sources if possible (to enable triangulated analysis)
wait until you need to gather evidence before thinking about how best to do this
plan to interview learners
plan to convert rich qualitative data into quantitative data
The ethical compliance checklist below shows the key issues that you, as a researcher, will have to address. I have considered …
Working your way through the maze of research publications can be daunting. Needless to say there is no simple answer and no magic bullet in research terms that will deliver simple unambiguous answers to the question of how we should teach or even how children learn.
Knowing which are the reliable and useful databases, and then discovering how to effectively and efficiently search these to screen out the unnecessary articles, is a matter of practice and experience. It is worth experimenting with the various search operators to understand how they can be used to narrow down the field of available articles. The better your keywords are, the better the information you will retrieve from the databases. A widely used and freely available search engine, Google Scholar is one of the best ways to start a search.
This framework provides prompts for key questions to ask about the quality and rigour of the work under consideration. The process is not rigid and can be adapted to suit a wide range of types of research and scholarly work.
The abstract – usually a brief summary of the research, including reference to the research approach, methods and main findings
An introduction – this often outlines the significance of the main research question
The context in which the research took place – sometimes included in the research methods section
The academic context – ‘the ‘literature review’ which locates the research within the current field of knowledge
The research approach taken, the specific research methods used and the approach to data analysis
The findings from the research study, following analysis of the data.
Discussion of the findings, where the results of the research are interpreted, in the light of other research findings
Conclusions, which may also include recommendations for future practice, depending on the key purpose of the research study
The literature review section of a research study fulfils a number of purposes, each of which is important in its own right:
It sets the context of the new research study by indicating what has already been investigated
It indicates how the new research fits into this body of knowledge
It opens up the significant debates associated with the focus of the research
It prevents unknowing duplication of previous research, although you may deliberately choose to replicate a previous study in a different context
It helps to identify the different research approaches used within your area of interest
It identifies gaps in existing knowledge, which your new research may help to fill
All of the information on this page has been taken from the following books. Check them out for more advice and guidance on doing your education research project!
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