Research in Education

Syllabus

 

(This course meets the North Georgia College and State University graduate credit requirements for

EDUC: 6001 – Educational Research in Contemporary Schools)

 

Course Description

 

Educational research came to the forefront with the No Child Left Behind legislation citing “scientifically based research” as a basis for making evidence-based instructional and professional development decisions on all programs, policies and initiatives. Educators at all levels and in all roles in the school setting need a good understanding of sound research principles. This course provides an introduction to research in education and will enable participants to become informed consumers and effective users of educational research. It will increase participants’ ability to apply research findings when appropriate in schools settings.

 

Competencies

 

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Review federal legislation that impacts the demand for scientifically-based research (SBR), evidence-based programs, policies and initiatives and how it relates to educational practice;

2.    Understand the methods and procedures used in educational research and the components of research studies;

3.    Apply knowledge learned by conceptualizing a research problem and designing a preliminary research proposal; with a basic understanding of sampling, measurement and design;

4.    Use criteria for judging research studies through a review of current educational research;

5.    Become knowledgeable consumers of good research by applying sound research principles to an analysis of programs, policies and initiatives that might be considered for adoption in a school setting;

6.    Review current research initiatives in math and reading programs;

7.    Understand the differences between pure research, program evaluation and action research and;

8.    Use Action Research to address issues of school improvement.

 

Materials

 

All materials are accessed via the CaseNEX website http://www.casenex.com using the PIN provided and the user name/password you create.

 

All readings listed can be found by going to the Virtual Library and looking under the case you are reading that session. When pdf files are linked, we recommend printing them for easier reading.

 

If you do not have the following software, please download each from the given sites. You will find detailed instructions under the ‘Tutorials’ link.

 

  • RealPlayer:

http://www.real.com/realone/index.html?src=player_redct

 

 

  • QuickTime:

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

Cases Used

 

  • Dealing With Data
  • Measure Up
  • Now What?

 

Click here for course requirements and grades.

 

Course Schedule

 

Typical course sessions run from Sunday morning through Saturday at midnight. Specific session dates may be found by clicking on Syllabus on the top menu bar.  Course participants should read both the case and assigned readings prior to joining the online discussion. Participation in the discussion should be ongoing throughout each course session. For typical courses, final discussion postings, journals, and workbook assignments are due by Saturday at midnight unless otherwise noted. Please see the News Flash for any alterations of the course schedule posted by your instructor.

 


______________________________

Introductory Session

Exploring the CaseNEX Site

 

Complete these tasks prior to the beginning of Session 1.

 

Readings

 

Read the “Course Tutorial” linked from the TUTORIAL menu, paying special attention to the Case-Analysis and Workbook Assignment Rubrics. These rubrics will be used by your instructor throughout the course to evaluate your Journal entries, Discussion responses, and Workbook assignments where appropriate.

 

Discussion

 

Post one entry introducing yourself to your classmates.  You may choose to describe your professional background and experience, relevant personal information, or why you are taking this course. (100 words or fewer).

 

Journal

 

What do you find inspiring and challenging about your conducting education research? (100 words or fewer)

 

Note

 

Use CaseMail to send a note to your instructor stating that you will be taking this course.  To do so, click on CaseMail on the top menu bar and then ‘Click here to create a new message.’ Use the marked link to look up an address. Continue linking down until you see the class list. Click on the instructor’s name and then compose your message and hit ‘Post Message.’

 


______________________________

Session 1  

Scientifically-Based Research

 

Case                  

Dealing With Data

 

Readings

  • Identifying and Implementing Educational Practices Supported By Rigorous Evidence: A User Friendly Guide
  • A Reader's Guide to Scientifically Based Research
  • Using Scientifically Based Research in Schools

 

Discussion

 

Based on knowledge gained from the readings, what issues might emerge as educators address scientifically-based research as they make school improvement decisions. What are the possible consequences of this scientific revolution on education in general? Specifically, how does Sequoia Elementary School begin to use research to address its multiple issues?  

 

Journal

 

Based on knowledge gained from the readings, describe and explain six criteria of scientifically-based research and contrast them to what was generally accepted as educational research in schools prior to 2001. What actions must be taken by educators to comply with the parameters of scientifically-based research?

 

Note                   

 

Check your CaseMail (linked from top menu bar) and News Flash (on the

right when you login) for notes from your instructor every time you log on

to the site.

 

Workbook Assignment                 

 

None this session.

 


______________________________

Session 2

Research Methods

 

Case                  

Dealing With Data

 

Readings            

·     Identifying Research-Based Solutions for School Improvement

·        Evidence-Based Education (EBE)

·        The Center for Social Research Methods (Links by Subtopics)

·        Research Methods and Statistics (Links by Subtopic)

 

Discussion

 

In the case Dealing With Data what are the multiple issues that contribute to Sequoia Elementary School being a failing school? What research-based actions would you recommend that the staff take to first, deal with the enormous amount of data and second, address solutions to the issues?  

 

Journal

 

One of the more controversial issues in educational research is conducting experiments or testing theories in schools using children as live human subjects. Comment on the possible consequences of conducting studies in schools with children as subjects. Gather knowledge on the ethical considerations for conducting human research and give three sources with citations for the information. Discuss the actions that a researcher must take to comply with federal regulations and to follow acceptable research guidelines.

 

Workbook Assignment        

 

Research Proposal

 

Based on general knowledge from the readings, begin to conceptualize a research problem that will address a school improvement issue in your school. Develop a draft proposal with the following components:

 

1)    Introduction

a)    Background of the problem – What led up to this problem?

b)    Statement of the problem – What exactly is the problem?

c)    Purpose of the Study – Be specific and describe what will be studied to address the problem by choosing either:

i)      Research question

ii)    Hypothesis

 

2)    Literature Review

a)    Write a brief summary of three research sources that relate to the topic. Include complete citations.

 

3)    III Methodology

a)    Research Design – How will the study be conducted?

i)      Experimental – Gold Standard

ii)    Quasi-experimental – Silver Standard

iii) Descriptive – Bronze Standard

o       Correlational Studies

o       Case Studies

o       Surveys

iv)  Other

b)    Sample – Describe the sample that will be collected. (It will either be related to somebody or something.)

i)      What is the sample size?

ii)    How will data be collected?

iii) How will data be analyzed?

 

Due by the end of Session 3.

 

 
______________________________

Session 3

Research and Good Instructional Decisions

 

Case                  

Measure Up

 

Readings            

  • Don't Get Buried Under A Mountain Of Research
  • Using Scientifically Based Research to Guide Educational Decisions
  • Using Research and Reason in Education: How Teachers Can Use

Scientifically Based Research to Make Curricular & Instructional Decisions

 

Discussion

 

Discuss how research is/is not applied to address issues around school improvement in your school. As a school leader, what actions might you take that would enlighten the administration and faculty on how to use research to make good curricular and instructional decisions? In the case, “Measure Up,” what research actions would you suggest that the four characters (Edith, Latisha, Charlie, and Tony) take to solve their dilemmas?

 

Journal

 

Identify one issue for instructional improvement in a discipline at your school. Use good research strategies to address this issue and describe what actions the research indicates should be implemented. What are possible consequences for following these actions?

 

Workbook Assignment

 

Research Proposal is due by the end of this session.

 


______________________________

Session 4

Knowledgeable Consumers of Research

 

Case                  

Measure Up

 

Readings            

·        Scientifically Based Research: A Planning Tool for Educators

·        SETDA Toolkit

·        How to Evaluate Journal Articles

·        Evaluating Journal Articles

 

Discussion

 

Reflect on the last time your school selected a new instructional package. Describe different perspectives of key players as the process evolved. What part did research play in the final decision? Consider Tony’s situation in “Measure Up.” As he reflects on finding money for more technology, how can the knowledge in the SETDA (State Education Technology Directors Association) Toolkit help him?

 

Journal

 

Use the CaseNEX Virtual Library or conduct a web search to find two scholarly research journal articles on a subject of interest to you. Briefly summarize the articles and more importantly evaluate them according to research criteria and knowledge from the readings. What issues emerge as you compare and contrast the articles in terms of meeting the criteria.

 

Workbook Assignment

 

Research Evaluation Criteria and Rubric

 

As the team leader or department chair in your school, you are responsible for overseeing a committee of teachers who will choose a new instructional package (math, reading, social studies, science or technology) that is to be in compliance with the parameters of scientifically-based research. You are to come before the School Board after summarizing the results and with a recommendation for the three top choices. The only guidance you have from your principal is, “Make sure you ‘do the research’ as the School Board is hot on all this scientifically-based research stuff.”

 

1)    Compose a one page guide sheet for teachers that will illuminate in a clear manner what research criteria teachers are to follow when rating the instructional packages.

2)    Design a detailed rubric for the committee to use to evaluate the instructional packages.

 

Due by the end of Session 5.

 


______________________________

Session 5

Research in Mathematics and Reading Education

 

Case                  

Now What?

 

Readings            

·        What Works Clearinghouse

·        Early Reading and Scientifically-Based Research

·        Put Reading First (html version)

 

Discussion

The Reading First program has been one of the cornerstones of No Child Left Behind. It supports classroom reading instruction that will use only research-based programs, practices, and assessments. Review the case Now What? Based on your experience and knowledge gained from the readings, in essence does the reading program follow the guidelines of Reading First? Is Shaunna using assessment effectively and what instructional actions should she take after the midyear results are reviewed?

Journal

 

The What Works Clearinghouse site was established because few resources existed to help educators differentiate between high-quality research and weaker research, as well as, promotional claims. What is your perspective on the site? Review the middle school math information and comment on the review of two math programs. What actions might schools take to use this site?

 

Workbook Assignment                 

 

Evaluation Criteria and Rubric is due by the end of this session.


______________________________

Session 6

Program Evaluation

 

Case                  

Now What?

 

Readings            

·        The Literacy Program Evaluation Tool

·        Framework for Program Evaluation

·        Ways to Improve the Quality of Your Program Evaluations

·        The Program Evaluation Standards

 

Discussion

Reading First recommends that teachers use classroom-based student assessments to inform instructional decisions and evaluate programs for effectiveness. Using knowledge gained from the readings, how would you evaluate the overall effectiveness of the reading program in the case, What Now? Is a systematic process of monitoring being used to judge the value of the program and to evaluate its effectiveness in order to make necessary improvements? What other actions might Shaunna take to do a comprehensive program evaluation?

Journal

 

The Session 4 reading, SETDA Toolkit, points out the differences between the SBR and evaluation - SBR is meant to prove something while program evaluation is meant to improve something. Based on knowledge gained from this and other readings, choose an instructional program that your school recently adopted. Think of the perspectives of School Board members and parents who may not have accepted the program readily and want to know, “Is it working?” Prepare a one page program evaluation review of the instructional program following Program Evaluation Standards.

 

Workbook Assignment                 

 

None this session.


______________________________

Session 7

Action Research

 

Case                  

None this session.

 

Readings            

·        Action Research (Action Research Defined, Action Research Overview)

http://carbon.cudenver.edu/~mryder/itc/act_res.html

·        The History Of Action Research

http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arr/arow/rmasters.html

·        Action Research http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/jsd/glanz203.cfm

·        Teacher Research Leads To Learning, Action

http://www.nsdc.org/library/publications/tools/tools2-00rich.cfm?printPage=1&

·        Action Research in Science Education

http://www.casenex.com/casenex/ericReadings/ActionResearchinScience.pdf

 

Discussion

 

Action research has been described as a research method which pursues action (or change) and research (or understanding) at the same time. It involves using a cyclic or spiral process which alternates between action and critical reflection and continuously refining methods, data and interpretation.  What issues would emerge as you work to support an action research committee at your school? Reflect upon the various perspectives in the school community regarding the time and commitment of sustaining an action research committee. (Source:http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/whatisar.html) 

 

Journal

 

Based on the knowledge gained from the readings, describe the key elements of action research. How might you apply this information to address an issue in your school setting?

 

Workbook Assignment

 

Action Research Plan

 

Plan, develop and implement a “teacher researcher” action research project at your school designed around a topic of school improvement. Consider the following components in developing the plan:

  • Gaining support for the project
  • Learning the teacher research process
  • Determining the research question
  • Collecting data
  • Analyzing data
  • Reflecting on the findings
  • Sharing the findings

 

Due by the end of Session 8.

 

 
______________________________

Session 8

Teacher Researchers

 

Case                  

None this session.

 

Readings            

·        About the Term “Teacher Researcher” http://gse.gmu.edu/research/tr/tr_definition/#term

·        The Process of Teacher Research http://gse.gmu.edu/research/tr/tr_process/

·        On Reading Teacher Research

http://www.ncsall.net/?id=771&pid=480

 

Discussion

 

What do you believe are the biggest issues and challenges facing teacher researchers? Anticipate any consequences that might occur when researchers begin to collect data?

 

Journal

 

Teachers routinely act as informal researchers. They think about why some instructional activities work better than others or how to reach certain students. Comment on the different perspectives a teacher might have and actions the teacher would take when he/she becomes a teacher researcher?

 

Note                   

 

Remember to complete the online course evaluation which can be found under Class Materials on the menu bar.

 

Workbook Assignment                 

 

Action Research Plan is due by the end of this session.