The importance of research in education is difficult to overstate. It adds to the current body of knowledge, improves practices, and informs policy debates. Both educators and administrative staff routinely use research results in their everyday practice. For instance, if teachers realize the need to improve the achievements of their students, they are very likely to turn to research to discover and evaluate new teaching methods. In other words, research helps to decide which methods are more appropriate to address the identified issue.
According to Creswell (2012), research is “a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue” (p. 3). The general steps in research are posing a question, collecting data, and presenting the answer (Creswell, 2012). However, these steps can be expanded to more specific steps, which is called the research process. These steps are identifying the problem, reviewing the literature, specifying the purpose, collecting data, analyzing the data, and reporting the results (Creswell, 2012). Following these six steps is crucial for results to be reliable and applicable.
There are two general types of research according to methodology, which are qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative research answers the question of what is the interaction between variables using numeric data. Quantitative studies use standardized strictures and fixed evaluation criteria, which leads to unbiased, objective research results. Qualitative research is conducted when the variables are unknown, and there is a need to explore a problem to develop a detailed understanding of a phenomenon (Creswell, 2012). The methods are usually flexible, and the results are associated with a certain degree of bias (Creswell, 2012). The type of research influences the choice research designs, which can be experimental, correlational, narrative, mixed methods, survey approaches, ground theory designs, and action research (Creswell, 2012). The choice of the research design depends on the central research questions and the purpose of the study. However, all research designs require strict adherence to ethical standards.
In my opinion, the nature of research is to improve the practice by extending the current body of knowledge. In other words, the central idea of research is to be applicable to practice (Baarda, 2010). Research needs to generate evidence for teachers to make informed decisions in classrooms. However, research needs to follow strict standards to promote reliability and avoid bias. Research needs to rely on rigorous methods confirmed by the authorities in education.
- Baarda, B. (2010). Research: This is it! Noordhoff Uitgevers Groningen.
- Creswell, J.W. (2012). Educational research: planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Pearson.