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An Introduction to Educational Research

An Introduction to Educational Research
Connecting Methods to Practice

February 2016 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Expand your understanding of educational research with this practice-first introduction.


Written specifically for education practitioners, An Introduction to Educational Research: Connecting Methods to Practice approaches research methods from a practice-first perspective that aligns research with professional experiences and identifies the tools and resources readers can use when conducting their own research. Throughout the book, the authors illuminate complex research concepts using problems of practice confronting educators to help readers make meaningful connections with key concepts and research practices. The authors present balanced coverage across research methodologies that is linked to practice, so readers clearly see research as a tool they can use to improve classrooms, schools, districts, and educational organizations.

Available with Perusall—an eBook that makes it easier to prepare for class
Perusall is an award-winning eBook platform featuring social annotation tools that allow students and instructors to collaboratively mark up and discuss their SAGE textbook. Backed by research and supported by technological innovations developed at Harvard University, this process of learning through collaborative annotation keeps your students engaged and makes teaching easier and more effective. Learn more.

Part I: Examining the Foundations of Educational Research
Chapter 1: Studying Education Practice with Research
Practitioner-Scholars Defined

Using Problems of Practice to Frame Research

An Overview of the Problems of Practice

The Purposes and Types of Educational Research

Research Paradigms

Defining Research Methodologies and Research Methods

Chapter 2: Designing a Research Study
The Overarching Research Process

Designing a Research Study

Chapter 3: Reviewing the Literature
The Importance of the Literature Review

Unpacking the Literature Review

Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Literature Reviews

The Process of Conducting a Literature Review

Staying Organized and Updated: A Few Reminders

Using Technology to Complete the Literature Review

Chapter 4: Considering Research Ethics
Ethics and Educational Research

Legal and Institutional Ethical Requirements

Managing Research Relationships with Schools and Districts

Considering Ethics Across the Research Process

Emerging Ethical Challenges

Part II: Considering Approaches to Educational Research
Chapter 5: Introducing Qualitative Research
Characteristics of Qualitative Research

Qualitative Methodologies

Chapter 6: Introducing Quantitative Research
Quantitative Research: Aims and Purposes

Characteristics of Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research Designs

Chapter 7: Collecting Qualitative and Quantitative Data
Sampling Strategies

Site Access and Participant Recruitment

Collecting Qualitative Data

Collecting Quantitative Data

Considering Technology Tools to Support Data Collection

Chapter 8: Completing Qualitative Data Analysis
Defining Qualitative Data Analysis: Aims and Purposes

Carrying Out Qualitative Data Analysis

Issues of Validity in Qualitative Research

Technology that Supports Qualitative Data Analysis

Chapter 9: Completing Quantitative Data Analysis
Quantitative Data Analysis: A Cyclical Approach

Descriptive statistics: Identifying Patterns, Trends, and Frequencies

Calculating Inferential Statistics

A Few of The Most Common Statistical Tests

Identifying Missing or Out-of-Range Data

Reliability and Validity in Quantitative Research

Technology that Supports Quantitative Data Analysis

Chapter 10: Introducing Mixed Methods Research and Analysis
Defining Mixed Methods Research

Characteristics of Mixed Methods Research

Mixed Methods Research Designs

Models of Mixed Methods Research

Selecting a Fixed or Emergent Mixed Methods Design

Beyond Selecting a Mixed Methods Model

Carrying Out a Mixed Methods Study

Mixed Methods Analysis

Chapter 11: Introducing Action Research
Overview of Action Research

The Action Research Cycle

Unique Considerations for Action Research

Using Technology in Action Research

Part III: Producing Research to Improve Practice
Chapter 12: Writing the Research
Engaging in the Academic Writing Process

The Basic Structure of a Research Report

Formulating Arguments and Presenting Findings

Technologies to Support Writing and Disseminating Research

Chapter 13: Using and Sharing Research to Improve Practice
Revisiting the Meaning of Practitioner-Scholarship

Technologies to Support Sharing Research

Summarizing the Research Process and the Methodologies Presented

Returning to the Place We Began: Problems of Practice




Instructor Resource Site

The password-protected SAGE Edge Instructor Resource Site includes the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions. 
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring your courses.
  • Carefully selected, web-based multimedia resources feature relevant interviews, lectures, personal stories, inquiries, and other content for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics.
Student Study Site
SAGE edge for students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.
  • A customized online action plan allows you to track your progress and enhance your learning experience
  • Learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.
  • Carefully selected, web-based video and multimedia resources feature relevant interviews, lectures, personal stories, inquiries, and other content for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics.
  • Meaningful web resources facilitate further exploration of topics
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter 

“It is practical for teacher leaders and researchers.”

Jill Bradley-Levine
University of Indianapolis

“The content is not overly complex but at the same time explains very important research method concepts”

Arturo Olivarez, Jr.
University of Texas at El Paso

“The “practice-first” approach is very productive and creative.  I enjoyed this aspect very much.”

Harriett Gaddy
Centenary College

"Links to practice are useful and clear, and provide “anchoring points” for the concepts and content."

Wendy G. Troxel
Illinois State University

“The embedded activities, links, reflections, etc., in each chapter are excellent and hopefully, if used by the instructor/student, may lead to a deeper, richer class discussion.”

Dawn Behan
Mount Mercy University

"Very specific and well-articulated vocabulary reviews at the end of each chapter."

Michael Putman
University of North Carolina at Charlotte

“School leaders, teachers, and other educators wanting to learn more about how to conduct research on important topics that will improve their knowledge and practice will find this book to be incredibly beneficial. Chad Lochmiller and Jessica Lester provide numerous examples of relevant research questions, strategies for collecting qualitative and quantitative data, ethical considerations influencing researchers, and effective ways to prepare and disseminate research findings. By presenting complex ideas in very readable and understandable terms, the authors demystify research jargon and approaches to conducting educational research. By furnishing educators with a fresh perspective on the practice and utility of educational research, this book provides a useful and practical approach for data-driven decision making.”

Bruce Barnett
University of Texas San Antonio

“In writing this book, Lochmiller and Lester have made useful progress on an issue that long plagued education – the divide between worlds of research and practice. Having lived for a number of years in both of these worlds, I recognize that resources for teaching research practices and traditions to Ed. D. students are often not written to speak to the particular issues that education practitioners face.  The authors have fulfilled the promise of creating a volume that truly addresses the “practitioner-scholar,” recognizing that the marriage of scholarly work traditions and the practice of education is necessary for those seeking to develop a deep understanding what happens in schools, defining and investigating problems of practice, and, ultimately, for imagining solutions that ensure schools and school systems work better for students.  Along the way, the authors have incorporated practical exercises and regular opportunities for reflection on- and in- practice.  This volume is a must read for those heading into leadership roles in schools and systems who want to incorporate a research-grounded frame, and who are interested in integrating research practices into their daily work.  Well done!”

Michael Copland
Bellingham Public Schools

This text has been advised to all masters students- helping to clearly utline the core elements they must consider when planning their level 7 thesis.

Mr Julian Ayres
School of Education and Community, Wrexham Glyndwr University
June 29, 2021

This is text is simultaneously accessible and in-depth. The authors' iterative focus on basic design features of qualitative and quantitative data ensures that readers really absorb the information. They also provide well-timed "reflection opportunities" that students can use on their own or instructors can incorporate easily into their classroom activities or assessments. They provide a wealth of external resources--accessible to both students and teachers--to deepen learning about what it means to do research in educational settings. But what makes this text really stand out is its singular focus in its writing style and understanding of the audience. This text is truly geared toward (emergent) practitioner-scholars. I teach teachers, administrators, counselors and others already in the field; they want to know how to operationalize information about how to do research from Day 1. This is the text to help them do that.

Dr Peggy Shannon-Baker
Curriculum, Foundations and Reading, Georgia Southern University
August 15, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

For instructors

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