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educational research & typologies

Updated on August 16, 2012

The world in which we live is full of many ‘unknowns’ and undiscovered facts. This has been the situation since the beginning of the world. The history of man, right from creation is therefore full of accounts of man’s attempt s to probe into the unknown aspects of his environment.

Man has always searched, and will perhaps continue to search for facts yet unknown to him, for the answers to questions yet unanswered. This search has followed different forms and approaches through the ages. These approaches have undergone series of change from the earliest times to the present day. They have gone through the stage of haphazardness to a stage of systemized enquiry and from the stage of mere speculation to that characterized by empiricism.

Education deals with human behavior which is very complex and difficult to control, they are as well, more difficult to measure. Also, measurement in education is by far less refined or precise than measurement in the pure sciences because of the nature of educational variables vis-à-vis physical variables.

1.Concept of Educational Research

Research in general, has to do with an inquiry into the unknown. It is the search for solutions to problems or answers to questions. Going by this, many activities of the individual, in the course of his day to day functioning, can be described as research in a sense.

when research employs a systematic approach –the scientific method – it is said to be scientific research or investigation. Indeed every field of human endeavor involves research but not in all fields is scientific method employed. In other words, not every research qualifies as a scientific research or investigation.

Educational research therefore, is a systematic approach to the solution of educational problems. It involves the application of the scientific method in finding solutions to educational problems.

Educational research, however, qualifies as scientific research or investigation in-so-far as it adopts the scientific method.

As already pointed out, not every research will qualify as a scientific research. Before research in any field can be said to be scientific, it must be characterized by certain features. In this regard, all scientific investigations should be:

Empirical: they should involve the collection of data, which will provide the basis for drawing conclusions. A conclusion are not based on what the author feels or thinks, but on concrete evidence adduced from data collected by careful observation of the phenomenon being investigated.

Cumulative: each scientific investigation should build upon the existing facts and theories. To this extent, it should help in refining and extending the existing principles and theories.

Non-Ethical: Scientific investigations ought not to consider ethical issues. In other words, they do not seek answers to questions such as whether an action is right or wrong; rather, they attempt to find an explanation for an action.

Verifiable: All scientific investigations should lead to verifiable results. The processes adopted in scientific investigations should be such that other researchers can replicate them with approximately the same results.

Some of The Qualities of A Good Educational Research

It must be systematic: the researcher must follow a number of steps.

It must be very objective: the researcher must be ready to report his findings without any bias.

The researcher must be precise in writing of report (do not use big grammar).

A good research work must have a targeted purpose objective of solving some educational problems

A good research work must aim at collecting testable and measurable data.

Roles of Research Education

In the field of education, research plays a very important role as is the case in other disciplines. Some of the roles, which educational research plays, include:

The advancement of knowledge.

Through research, the frontiers of knowledge in the discipline of education are extended. Much of human knowledge today in the field of education is derived from conclusions of educational investigations accumulated over the years.

Increasing understanding of educational phenomena

Research in education plays a vital role in increasing our awareness and understanding of educational phenomena. Findings from educational research lead to development and refinement of educational theories.

a.Improvement of educational practice

Research leads to better and improved practices in education. Results of educational research reveal those instructional materials, techniques and methods that prove to be more effective and at the same time indict those that seem to be ineffective. The mass of improved instructional materials and techniques made possible through research has been a source of enhanced learning. Improvements in curriculum designing.

Bringing about overall development and progress

In the long run, educational research brings about overall development and progress in the field of education. Development and progress come as a result of the advances and accomplishments in a particular field.

1.Typologies of Educational Research

Typologies of educational research are presented here. This typology or classification are based on

-Purpose of the research and methods employed. this can be further subsidized into:

Basic research: this type of research aims at the advancement of knowledge. It also called fundamental research and is concerned with producing results of findings which will lead to the development of theories. Basic research is not concerned with the usefulness of the findings to practical situations

Applied research: applied research is concerned with the usefulness of ideas or theories to practical situations. It is therefore interested in testing the workability or usefulness of ideas or theories in practical situations.

Basic research and applied research are inter-related. Both are useful and contribute immensely to the development of the society. For instance, a basic researcher produces the theory and the applied researcher tests the usefulness of the theory in practical situations. This test provides some feedback to the basic researcher, which helps him in modifying and refining his theory.

Action research: this is research directed towards solving specific educational problems at the classroom or school level. This type of research is usually undertaken by either a teacher or a group of teachers in a school to solve a particular problem in the classroom or in the school.However, owing to the fact that action research is limited to solving specific educational problems in a classroom or school, its findings may not be generalizable to other situations.

Research and Development (R&D): this is an institutionalized research programme which aims at developing and testing the efficacy of products and services of an organization. It is a relatively new type of research which is different from other types of educational research. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (R&D) programmes aim at developing and testing more efficacious educational products and services. These products, which may be textbooks, equipment or curricula etc: are developed and field tested to ensure their effectiveness. R&D programmes are very recent and because of that, appear to be scanty in our educational setting. Although costly and time demanding, research and development programmes provide valuable means of achieving educational improvements.

Evaluation research: this is concerned with making decisions relating to the value or worth of educational materials, methods and programmes based on empirical data. It is a systematic process of collecting pertinent data, on the basis of which decisions could be made about an individual, a programme, materials or methods.

a.Historical research: is a type of secondary data analysis to determine past social attitude and how these have changed over time. It sources are: historical literature and archival literature.

a.Experimental research: this type of research design is used for the controlled testing of casual processes.

Qualitative research: this is a research concerned with the measurement of attitudes, behavior and perceptions and includes interviewing method.

And now some of the problems faced by educational research in an developing nation or country are as follows:

a. Inadequate funding of research projects

Research projects in the developing countries are hardly properly funded. This is either because of the economy of these nations or lack of commitment on the part of the governments to research. In these countries , political instability is the order of the day and most of the time people who accidentally find themselves in government may be those who do not understand enough to appreciate the contributions of research to overall national development and progress.

b. Lack of necessary equipment, facilities and materials

In these countries, the equipment, facilities and materials needed for meaningful research are either lacking or grossly inadequate.

c. Poor communication network

The communication network of most developing nations is still far from being well developed. This seriously hampers educational and social science research where, otherwise, the mail and telephone could be used in collecting data. Indeed conducting research under these conditions could render the whole affair quite unexciting and frustrating.

d. Unattractive working conditions for research workers

One other problem that militates against research in the developing countries is the pitiable condition under which research workers operate. Research workers are not well paid and apart from their meager salaries there are little or no incentives for them.

e. The ‘publish or perish’ syndrome

In our research centers and universities, there is much insistence on publications for purposes of promotions only. Promotion or upward mobility on the job is largely determined by the amount of publications one has been able to accumulate. On the surface, nothing would seem to be wrong with this situation. However, the problem lies in the fact that in the race for publications, no one appears to have time for well thought out and property articulated research programmes – the type that can generate some impact either in the short or long run.

f. Lack of record keeping culture

Most developing countries are yet to develop the culture of keeping records. As though these countries do not appreciate the importance of records in national planning, no serious effort is made to keep accurate and up to date records.

thanks for your dedicated reading and kind patronage.


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