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Brainstorm. Brainstorm potential educational research topics that are of interest to you. What is a topic that will motivate you to want to explore it further? Try to focus in as much as possible. For example, if you are interested in education for gifted children, you may want to focus on the advantages/disadvantages of homogeneous grouping of gifted students. Why is it an exciting topic for you?
Research Questions and Hypotheses. What are the similarities and differences between research questions and hypotheses? How should a researcher determine the use of a question or hypothesis? Create a research question that aligns to your chosen topic and then create a corresponding hypothesis. Make sure to identify and explain the similarities and differences in your own question and hypothesis.
Research Topic. Once your research topic has been approved by your instructor, write a three- to five-page paper (excluding title and reference pages) and discuss what aspect(s) of your chosen topic interests you most. Write three research questions or hypotheses that correspond to the topic. You may use the questions/hypotheses you developed in this week’s second discussion if they pertain to the approved topic. Discuss the process by which you selected and formed your research questions and hypotheses and the challenges you experienced in writing them. Make sure you identify how you applied the rules of educational research while developing your research topic. Include your assessment of the principal types of educational research and determine what type of research your topic will align with best. Your paper must be formatted according to APA guidelines as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center and your approved APA style guide. Make sure to use at least two scholarly sources to support your application of educational research.
Pros and Cons of Literature Sources. Describe the pros and cons of different sources of literature including the library, online libraries, academic journals, and World Wide Web resources. Also, discuss the differences between primary and secondary sources and why it is important to focus on primary sources in your literature review. For your topic, list two primary sources and two secondary sources that you are considering using. Provide links or reference information for both.
Managing Literature Sources. Explore online resources such as WebNotes and Zotero. What services do they offer? What are the benefits of each? What are the pitfalls? In addition, create an account using the RefWorks tool located on the Ashford Library website. Become familiar with all of the features RefWorks provides. Describe three of the features that you found useful and how you would use each. Explain how RefWorks can assist you in reaching your educational goals.
Critical Thinking Questions. After reading Chapters 4-5 of the text, answer the following questions that require you to think and respond critically. In a two- to five-page paper, address the following questions using specific examples from your professional experience and cite the primary text when possible:
a. Describe what you consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of a computer search of ERIC and other databases, as compared to other search methods?
b. Based on what you discovered in the CIJE (Current Index to Journals in Education) article abstracts, why is it often necessary to locate and read the original articles or papers rather than rely on the information in the abstracts?
c. Why are secondary sources a good place to begin looking for information on a topic? What are the most valuable traits of secondary sources? What do you consider to be the major limitations of secondary sources?
d. Which library holdings are usually considered to be primary sources of information?
e. Outline the strategy suggested for rapidly assessing the large number of reports you are likely to encounter when reviewing literature on a given topic. Explain how the process will work for you.
f. Explain why knowledge of statistical terms and concepts enables you to interpret research reports more accurately.
Validity and Reliability. Using ProQuest (located in the Ashford online library) locate a research study that pertains to your topic or use a research study from your annotated bibliography and summarize the data collection. Is the data valid and reliable? Cite examples of data from the study that you considered valid and reliable and explain why. How important are validity and reliability in data collection? How do the results of your critical analysis of the data contribute to the validity and reliability of your literature source? Include a link or reference to the chosen study.
Selecting Statistics. Describe the differences between descriptive and inferential statistics, including the purpose of each, and what each is intended to measure. Which one would you use in your study? Why? What specific indices or inferences would you use, and why? What problems do you think you may encounter?
Procedures or Methods. In a three- to five-page paper (excluding title and reference pages), create an outline of the procedures or methods of your research design proposal. Include a step-by-step description of research design, the participants, instruments, and what will be done to collect and analyze the data. Include in your discussion how you will determine the validity and reliability of data collection tools. Be sure to carefully read each chapter of your textbook; each of these steps are clearly outlined. Make sure to use at least two references, including the course text.
Quantitative and Qualitative Research. What are the distinctive characteristics that differentiate qualitative research from quantitative research? Describe how your research proposal will obtain and incorporate qualitative and/or quantitative data. What are the inherent weaknesses of the two types of research? How do you determine which to use? Give an example of a research question that could be addressed quantitatively and one that could be addressed qualitatively.
Critical Thinking Questions. After reading Chapters 10-14 of the text, answer the following reflective questions that will require you to think and respond critically. In a two- to five-page paper, address the following questions using specific examples from your professional experience and cite the text when possible:
a. Locate an example of published survey research in a reputable journal. Compare and contrast it with the article that appears in its entirety in Chapter 11 regarding (a) purpose, (b) organization, (c) data collection and analysis, and (d) conclusions.
b. What differentiates correlational research from other types of research?
c. What are the principal data sources in experimental and quasi-experimental research?
d. Suppose you wanted to study a community’s satisfaction with its schools. Describe how you might plan your study.
Action Research. What are the differences between action research and other forms of research? Think of a problem that could be addressed using action research methods. Describe this problem and how action research could be used.
Evaluation Research. Find an example of evaluation research from your literature review or an additional search. Summarize the findings and recommendation based on this research
Critical Thinking Questions. After reading Chapters 15-16 of the text, answer the following reflective questions that require you to think and respond critically. In a one- to two-page paper, address the following questions using specific examples from your professional experience and cite the primary text when possible:
a. What sorts of topics are best approached through action research?
b. Consider each of the six categories of approaches discussed in Chapter 16. Could you design an evaluation study for a program you are familiar with (curriculum or instruction) using each of these approaches? Why or why not?
Application of Research. How will you apply your research in education? Who will benefit from your research? What future research will you conduct on this subject? How do you think that your research will impact education within the next decade?
Conflicting Perspectives in Educational Research. After reading “Bridging the Evidence Gap in Developmental Education” summarized in the week’s required readings, discuss your thoughts on the use of research in developmental education. Do you feel that the research agenda proposed will help to alleviate the conflicting perspectives regarding research in this area of education? What could be added to this research agenda to encourage useful research in this field that will add to the body of knowledge?
Research Proposal Instructions
You will be creating a research proposal. This assignment will emulate the format of the example research proposal presented in the course textbook, Introduction to Educational Research. The Final Paper must be organized as follows:
a. Title page (formatted per APA guidelines as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center)
b. Abstract (a brief summary of your paper)
c. Introduction (clearly describe the purpose of your study and research questions/hypotheses)
d. Review of related literature (background)
§ This will be a written summary of the literature that you have found on your topic and how it is related to your research proposal. You may present differing views of the same information or complementary research that supports each finding. Research should be recent (no older than 5-8 years) unless it is a hallmark study in the field or more recent research is not available. You must provide references for your research formatted per APA style guidelines. Your textbook, as well as the Ashford Writing Center, provide guidance for writing a literature review.
e. Methodology (methods)
§ This is your proposal for your research methodology. What will you study, who will you study, how will you conduct your study, etc? Be sure to include all the information you used in your assignment for Week Three.
f. Conclusions and recommendations
§ This section will be a summary of what you expect to find from your research and how these findings might be used to inform your teaching or others in the future. Consider this as a recommendation to your principal, school board, or others that might be influenced by the findings of your study. You may also use this section to include recommendations for future studies, perhaps on a larger scale or with a different sample population.
g. Reference page
§ Formatted per APA style guidelines. Only sources that are cited directly in the text of your paper are to be included here. If you did not cite or include the reference in the paper, do not include it here. You must have a minimum of ten (10) references.
h. Paper should be a minimum of 10-12 pages in length, not including the title page or reference pages. A minimum of ten (10) references must be cited in the text of the paper as well as in the reference section.