• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

How can educators make sense of the complexities of research?

Making Sense of Research brings together the best of two worlds—the “real” world where education is practiced daily and the “ivory tower” world where research is ongoing. The authors have written this book for practitioners at all levels, from teachers making site-specific decisions such as allocating time, to administrators making schoolwide and policy decisions such as reducing class size. They outline and explain how quality research can inform, enlighten, and provide direction to educators that will save time and money, as well as make schools more effective and increase opportunities for students.

Educators are increasingly accountable for the outcome of their efforts. This vital resource will assist them in assessing the validity of research claims by leading the reader through a revealing examination of five critical questions:

Does it work? (the causal question); How does it work? (the process question); Is it worthwhile? (the cost question); Will it work for me? (the usability question); Is it working for me? (the evaluation question)

Making Sense of Research will change the way you read and think about research, and thereby help you enhance school improvement, sustain your vision of quality education, attain your mission, and ultimately increase student achievement.

Asking the Right Questions
Asking the right questions

Does education research have any impact on the instructional practices, curricula, and policies in your classroom, school, or district? Probably not, if you are like many educators we know. You may even secretly believe that your own common sense and experience are far more trustworthy than the experiments and observations of researchers. We all know individuals who wouldn't dream of buying a new car or choosing a treatment for a medical condition without researching the options. Yet on the job, they will commit hundreds of thousands of dollars of their schools' or districts' budgets to an innovative or supposedly exemplary program without carefully evaluating the available research findings.

One elementary school principal explained the problem this way: “We tend ...

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