Research Methods in Education

By Louis Cohen; Lawrence Manion et al. | Go to book overview

Part one

The context of educational research

This part locates the research enterprise in several contexts. It commences with positivist and scientific contexts of research and then proceeds to show the strengths and weaknesses of such traditions for educational research. As an alternative paradigm, the cluster of approaches that can loosely be termed interpretive, naturalistic, phenomenological, interactionist and ethnographic are brought together and their strengths and weaknesses for educational research are also examined. The rise of critical theory as a paradigm in which educational research is conducted has been meteoric and its implications for the research undertaking are addressed in several ways in this chapter, resonating with curriculum research and feminist research. Indeed critical theory links the conduct of educational research with politics and policy-making, and this is reflected in the discussions here of research and evaluation, arguing how much educational research has become evaluative in nature. That educational research serves a political agenda is seen in the later sections of this part, though the links between educational research and policy-making are typically far from straightforward. The intention in this section is to introduce the reader to different research traditions, and, rather than advocating slavish adherence to a single research paradigm, we suggest that ‘fitness for purpose’ must be the guiding principle: different research paradigms are suitable for different research purposes and questions. Different research traditions spawn different styles of research; researchers must make informed choices of research traditions, mindful of the political agendas that their research might serve.

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Research Methods in Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Boxes xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Part One - The Context of Educational Research 1
  • 1 - The Nature of Inquiry 3
  • Part Two - Planning Educational Research 47
  • 2 - The Ethics of Educational and Social Research 49
  • 3 - Research Design Issues- Planning Research 73
  • 4 - Sampling 92
  • 5 - Validity and Reliability 105
  • Part Three - Styles of Educational Research 135
  • 6 - Naturalistic and Ethnographic Research 137
  • 7 - Historical Research 158
  • 8 - Surveys, Longitudinal, Cross-Sectional and Trend Studies 169
  • 9 - Case Studies 181
  • 10 - Correlational Research 191
  • 11 - Ex Post Facto Research 205
  • 12 - Experiments, Quasi-Experiments and Single-Case Research 211
  • 13 - Action Research 226
  • Part Four - Strategies for Data Collection and Researching 243
  • 14 - Questionnaires 245
  • 15 - Interviews 267
  • 16 - Accounts 293
  • 17 - Observation 305
  • 18 - Tests 317
  • 19 - Personal Constructs 337
  • 20 - Multi-Dimensional Measurement 349
  • 21 - Role-Playing 370
  • Part Five - Recent Developments in Educational Research 381
  • 22 - Recent Developments 383
  • Notes 396
  • Bibliography 407
  • Index 438
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