Two new courses for the semester and my pursuit of an online graduate degree in education / ESL:
- Instructional Design and Assessment
- Educational Research
The latter I will briefly introduce here. Hopefully, I will follow up with some reflections from my readings in the future and anyone can peruse these should they be in the market for a book on research or just want to learn a bit more about it.
Our text is:
Creswell, J. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Thus far I have only read chapter 1 which breaks down the two basic types of research, qualitative and quantitative. I may go into a rundown of that chapter at some point but for now….
I particularly found one section interesting. Towards the beginning he establishes a need for research as a way to better the practices of teachers and research for the idea of advancement in knowledge.
This rings true with me because knowledge seems like such a just cause to work towards.
To me research is a tool that when wielded correctly, can help us to examine questions we may have. The process itself, in its present refined state, affords us a chance to question more than ever before. It is easy to dismiss things as truth but with the tools we have today in this area it is also just as easy to look deeper to see if what we think is happening, indeed is happening.
To define it further, I would say research acts as a tool but it is a process we have come up with which allows for intelligent questioning and reporting of findings.
It is certainly exciting if you think of it in terms of detectives and groundbreaking scientists. The advancement of our species hinges on it. The fact that we could be uncovering new ways of looking at the world is….. AWESOME!
Yet, on a more simple day-to-day level, research is still present. I use it to plan trips and learn more about my aging body. In this day, doctors are not the only ones with knowledge nor can they be expected to accommodate all our illnesses. Being a teacher I also use it to experiment in the classroom.
After taking a course in data analysis in schools, I have come to the conclusion that teachers need to be part scientists. Teachers need to research and adapt to the ever-changing student landscape. Thinking about it in this sense is certainly exciting. As you see ideas that come to fruition and work out kinks in other methods not quite there yet. As teachers, we owe it to our students to deliver more thoughtful and accessible lessons. Research helps in this pursuit.
Certainly, we are very lucky to live in this age where a mountain of information is at our fingertips(Have you heard of the internet?). The challenge of conducting good research in this time is therefore not one of finding information but rather wading through an ocean of it. With so many resources at their disposal, today’s modern researchers need to be focused and have a concrete plan of attack. Otherwise, getting sidetracked and lost is inevitable.
These are some of my initial views on this topic. I will be sure to add more as I read through our text and get further into my course!