Education Research Resources

Writing the Research Proposal

What Is "Good" Educational Research?

Much agreement exists about the overall characteristics of high quality educational research and writing research proposals. For example, such research and proposals should:

  • Pose an important question that can be investigated empirically and that contributes to the knowledge base.
  • Build on relevant theory and previous educational research (as seen in detailed references to others' work).
  • Take an independent, balanced, and objective approach to educational research.
  • Use educational research methods that are well-suited to the specific question that is being investigated. No single method or type of research is best in all situations.
  • Give enough information about the methods so that other researchers could reproduce or replicate the study.
  • Evaluate alternative explanations for the findings.
  • Submit to a process of review by other knowledgeable researchers ("peer review")

A generation of work has broadened the field of educational research to accommodate the highest quality studies that use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Some dimensions of successful learning are generalizable across contexts while others are complex, personal and local. No single model of research is capable of presenting a whole truth or offering silver bullets for school improvement.

The key characteristics of the collaborative educational research that underlies my work are as follows: gathering information about significant questions; using qualitative and quantitative methods that involve reliable, valid observations and rely on multiple forms of assessment; meeting the rigorous standards of peer review; and replicating and generalizing research conclusions and outcomes.

Research-based instructional methods better equip teachers to reach children, avoid burnout, and improve the culture of learning and achievement in the classroom. These instructional practices bring the best teaching approaches and programs to students who might falter without them by challenging and interesting them in learning.