Issues in Education Research: Problems and Possibilities

Issues in Education Research: Problems and Possibilities

Issues in Education Research: Problems and Possibilities

Issues in Education Research: Problems and Possibilities

Synopsis

Sponsored by the National Academy of Education's Commission on the Improvement of Education Research It has been a decade since the National Academy of Education last issued a review of education research. This new volume arrives at a critical time for our nation's schools. More than twenty prominent scholars provide an overview of the tensions, dilemmas, issues, and possibilities that currently characterize education research. They examine the state of education research, discuss how it is changing and where it needs to go, and reveal how the results of research--whether good or bad--have become key drivers of educational policy and practice. This revelation raises important questions about standards for sound research and training for future researchers. Issues in Education Research is a valuable reference for the more than 40,000 college faculty members who study schooling and prepare tomorrow's teachers.

Excerpt

Interest in research on education is on the rise in the United States. The causes for this are multiple and the possible outcomes unclear. As the chapters in Part One suggest, education research has frequently influenced public discussion and public policy, although often in subtle and complicated ways (Suppes, 1978; Atkins and Jackson, 1992, p. 2). At the same time, it has to be acknowledged that studies of education tend to “get no respect.” Indeed few other areas of serious scholarship have ever been more scorned and demeaned. Education research has been accused of ignoring important questions while reinforcing practices that stand in the way of fundamental reform. It has never been a professionally dominated field of study and as a discipline has been internally fragmented. Recently Carl Kaestle (1993) noted, in a report of interviews with thirty-three education researchers and federal agency officials, that education research has had “an awful reputation.” A prime reason for this, he said, has been the persistent belief that research rarely leads to improvements in practice. Although there are abundant examples of current and past researchbased innovations in classrooms, these have often been short-lived, or their precise research lineage has not been known to the teachers involved. Instances of effective linkages between research and practice have therefore gone unnoticed.

Despite the possibility that education research may have had more influence on practice than its “awful reputation” suggests, there is no denying that the field has faced and is facing difficult and multifaceted problems. The question is, Can things be improved? Will it be possible to increase the applied value of . . .

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