• 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.

The Cost Question: Is It Worthwhile?
The cost question: Is it worthwhile?

To many of you, cost analysis probably sounds as appealing as a root canal. And that can lead to some very predictable consequences. Most education practitioners and even researchers think that costs are something for somebody else to consider—the business manager, an outside consultant, or perhaps a faceless bureaucrat in the state department of education. In contrast, this chapter will attempt to convince you that precisely the opposite is true—that a thoughtful consideration of costs is essential to making good, research-based decisions in districts and schools.

The logic of cost analysis is closer to your heart than it might appear. Think for a moment about how most of us buy a car. Very few educators, ...

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