INTRO TO RES IN EDUC
INTRO TO RES IN EDUC EDRM 700
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Edwin Considine on Monday October 26, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to EDRM 700 at University of South Carolina - Columbia taught by Me Gredler in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see /class/229493/edrm-700-university-of-south-carolina-columbia in OTHER at University of South Carolina - Columbia.
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Date Created: 10/26/15
EDRM 700 Gredler Introduction to Scienti c Inquiry Scienti c inquiry sometimes referred to as the scientific method differs from other ways of knowing e g logic expert opinion the opinions of others philosophy Basically scientific inquiry involves the testing of ideas in the public arena Fraenkel amp Wallen 2003 p 6 Any of us can develop a hunch or guess about some problem or question We may even rigorously test our hunch under controlled conditions However our investigation is not science unless all aspects of our investigation are described in su icient detail so that other competent researchers can repeat the study p 6 That is scientific research is replicable The goal in scientific inquiry is to develop knowledge that is valid and reliable A synonym of validity is trustworthiness Formally defined validity is the appropriateness meaningfulness and usefulness of the specific inferences made from data Reliability refers to the consistency of the results from the data For example if a science test is administered to a group of students on two occasions one month apart and there was no intervening instruction the students scores should be similar Scientific inquiry investigates a variety of questions and hypotheses and utilizes a variety of datacollection methods Among them are cognitive tests aptitude measures behavior rating scales classroom observations document analysis interviews questionnaires and others Of major importance is that the research is well planned and implemented and the selected methods are appropriate for the research questions To meet the criteria of validity and reliability five general steps are followed They are referred to as the scientific method These steps are not a straitjacketiat each step in the process the researcher must be open to alternative choices Fraenkel amp Wallen 2003 p 7 Identify a problem or question The question may arise from some observation in a classroom or other setting or it may be some discrepancy or gap identified in a field of knowledge For example researchers may be interested in high school community service as a predictor of adult voting and volunteering low achievement in science or how home school and the larger community function as contexts for the development of historical consciousness among adolescents N Clarify the problem Included in this stage are defining the terms in the problem and reviewing available information about the problem For example if the problem is low achievement in science then the researcher de nes what she means by science achievement and determines the factors in the classroom andor characteristics of students that the researcher believes in uence science achievement Students prior knowledge and attitudes toward science are two characteristics that may be considered The researcher also conducts a review of the literature for information related to the problem E Determine the kinds of information that are appropriate for the problem and ways to obtain the information This stage is a major aspect of planning a research study For example to determine science achievement the researcher may choose instructordeveloped tests science projects or both The researcher also may decide based on prior studies that students prior knowledge and attitudes toward science are important factors in science achievement Prior knowledge may be documented by scores on standardized tests prior science grades andor interviews Student attitudes toward science may be measured by a survey interviews andor classroom observations 4 Organize the information Determine the summarization andor analytic methods to be used For example if a survey is administered are total scores to be analyzed or are subscales of the survey to be reported If the study is primarily relying on descriptive narrative then how are the observers field notes to be synthesized V39 Interpret the results This stage is important because it links the study to prior studies on the topic and describes the ways that the current study adds to new knowledge or theory Wiersma amp Jurs 2009 p 24 In the interpretation the researcher searches for both consistencies and inconsistencies between hisher findings and the findings of other studies If possible the researcher also suggests further research that might clarify issues raised by hisher study Two essential features of scientific research are a freedom of thought and b procedures that are made public As already stated at every step in the research process the researcher must be open to alternative choices Fraenkel amp Wallen 2003 p 7 Second as already stated the procedures must be as public as possible An important aspect of scientific research is that it can be replicated In educational research replication can be conducted for any of five major reasons Gall Gall amp Borg 2003 pp 42 44 1 To check the findings of a breakthrough study 2 To check the validity of existing ndings with different research participants subjects 3 To check trends or change over time 4 To check important findings by using different methods 5 To develop more effective or efficient interventions Also particularly in social science research the results of tests and other assessments are not perfect measurements Procedures are implemented during the research to take account of this fact However replication is important because it can provide another safeguard for research conclusions Finally a common misperception is that science produces onceandforall answers to particular questions Fraenkel amp Wallen 2003 p 7 However conclusions are only tentative and are subject to change when new concepts and new evidence indicates different answers For example in physics Newton s theory referred to as classical physics or Newtonian mechanics was viewed by physicists and others as the explanation of the actions of physical forces throughout the universe In classical physics time is treated as constant However with Einstein s discovery of the theory of relativity in which time is relative classical physics became a special case ofthat theory Classical physics is sufficiently accurate for activities on our planet Interplanetary travel however requires a more precise theory of time and motion In summary research in education can provide useful information for several audiences when the requirements for scientific research are met References Gall M D Gall J P amp Borg W F 2003 Educational research An introduction 7Lh ed New York Longrnan Fraenkel J R amp Wallen N E 2003 How to design and evaluate research in Education 5Lh ed Boston McGrawHill Wiersma W amp Jurs S G 2009 Research methods in education An introduction 9th ed Boston Allyn amp Bacon Homework questions Which of the following situations appear to meet the criteria for scienti c inquiry Why or why not a Four university faculty asked the question How do home school and the larger community provide a context for the transmission of historical knowledge to adolescents They conducted a thirtymonth study with fteen families from three different communities with the Vietnam War as the subject Using photos to elicit memories a technique used in ethnographic research from the 1930s the researchers conducted nine formal interviews with the adolescent and hisher family monitored student progress in their llLh grade history class and followed up a year later as the students were completing 12 grade Descriptions of the settings methods inferences and other information were published in a professional research journal b A university faculty member concerned about the unanticipated effects of the No Child Left Behind Legislation summarizes the arguments for and against this educational accountability policy made by different individuals and publishes them in a journal that focuses on middleschool issues c Two teachers of mathematics are concerned that their students are having difficulty making the transition from fractions to decimals They develop a new set of materials implement them in their classes and posttest the students Based on the test results they decide to incorporate the materials into their teaching in the future EDRM 700 GREDLER INTERNAL VALIDITY1 lnternal validity the relationship between two or more variables is unambiguous That is the results of the study are not due to Asomething else The Asomething else may be any of several possible factors in a situationthe ways that the study was conducted or other factors that can in uence the results These possible factors are referred to as extraneous variables lfthe study is not planned to control for them we cannot have con dence in the results of the study Mortality loss of subjects from the study EX a of students in one group excused the day ofthe posttest to go on a band trip Instrumentation the way in which instruments are used Includes a changes in scoring such as can occur in grading essay tests when the grader is tired b data collector characteristics subjects may respond in different ways to gender age or ethnicity of individuals collecting data on sensitive topics c data collector bias may be unconscious interviewers may ask leading questions of some interviewees Location areas in which the intervention is implemented or in which data are collected may in uence subjects39 responses For example classrooms in which an intervention is implemented may have 2 or 3 computers have better lighting and include bookshelves of additional resources Another example is administering attitudinal questionnaires or interviews in settings that differ markedly in physical characteristics andor comfort Testing typically the use of a pretest when it may sensitize the research subjects to the purpose or nature ofthe study Examples are a a short time between pre and posttesting can be a problem when a cognitive test is administered b attitudinal affective questionnaires may lead to students thinking about and discussing their opinions as a result ofthe pretest rather than as a result ofthe intervention Fraenkel amp Wallen 2000 p 195 The Solomon fourgroup design is recommended when attitudinal questionnaires address sensitive topics Histom unplanned and unanticipated events that may occur during a study and that can in uence the subjects in a study Maturation change during an intervention that may be associated with the passage of time Young children for example change rapidly over the space ofa few months Depending on the nature ofthe study older subjects for example may become bored fatigued or change in other ways Sub39ect reactivity the way that individuals view a study and their participation in it An example is the AHawthorne effect named for the increased productivity ofworkers in the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company The attention paid to the workers not changes in the working conditions was responsible An opposite effect referred to as resentful demoralization can occur when the control group receives no treatment They may become resentful and perform more poorly than the treatment group Implementation the experimental group may be treated in unintended ways that a are not part of the treatment and b provide the treatment group an advantage An example is the teacher responsible for the inquiry method who is more enthusiastic than the teacher responsible for the lecture method To counter this threat the study should include more than one teacher per method evaluate the teachers on relevant characteristics and equate the assignments to treatmentcontrol groups on these characteristics Regression may be responsible for change observed in a group that is extremely high or low in preintervention performance p 198 Speci cally the very high scores ofa gifted group on the pretest ie 97th percentile will drift downward closerto the mean on the posttest Similarly a group of markedly low ability students can be expected to score higher on a posttest regardless ofany intervention Including a control group in the study address this threat Ways to minimize threats to internal validitv the key to avoiding problems in research studies is careful planning and attention to detail 1 Standardize the conditions of data collection and implementation 2 Obtain information on the relevant characteristics of subjects and use the information to assist in interpreting the study 3 Document events that occur during the study for example conduct observations in classrooms during implementation ofthe intervention 4 Oversample classrooms or subjects for the study 5 Choose an appropriate design applies to experimental and causal comparative studies 1Summarized from Fraenkel J R amp Wallen N R 2000 How to design and evaluate research in education 4th ed Boston McGrawHill
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