Educational researchers study certain factors related

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Educational researchers study certain factors related to educational issues: Psychological factors. Characteristics of individuals and individual-level phenomena. Example: Learning disabilities. Social psychological factors. Examining how individuals interact and relate to one another and how groups and individuals affect one another. Example: Middle school cliques. Sociological factors. Examining how groups form and change; documenting the characteristics of groups; studying intergroup relations; and studying group-level phenomena, such as cultural, social, political, familial, and economic institutions. Example: High school student government relations. Beyond the basic supposition, researchers assume part of the world is unique, part of the world is patterned, and much of the world is changing and involving many pieces. An important task of educational research is to identify the predictable part of the world in order to generate findings that will apply to more than one person, group, context, or situation. Once the unique, the regular, and the complex in the world are pinpointed, researchers acknowledge it can be examined and studied. In other words, it is possible to document the unique, discover the regularity in human behavior, and, in time, better understand many of the complexities of human behavior. This does not mean that the task of discovering the nature of educational phenomena is simple.
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A good researcher tries to collect and assemble high-quality evidence and expects other researchers to do the same. In order to pursue these investigations, researchers should follow certain agreed-on norms and practices. A few of these include: Selection of educational and social problems in need of attention Collection of empirical data Open discussion of findings, integrity, honesty, competence, systematic inquiry, empathic neutrality Respect toward research participants A healthy skepticism toward results and explanations A sense of curiosity and openness to discovery The active search for negative evidence (e.g., instances that do not fit your emerging or current explanation of a phenomenon) The careful examination of alternative explanations for the findings An adherence to the principle of evidence. Past the assumption of norms and practices, researchers acknowledge that it is possible to distinguish quality of claims and research. For example, through empirical research, researchers can choose between competing theories by determining which theory best fits the data. They can also judge the quality of a research study by examining the research strategies used and the evidence that is provided for each of the conclusions drawn. Researchers maintain that high-quality research is more trustworthy or more valid than low-quality research.
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  • Spring '16
  • nancy cartwright
  • Educational research

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