Notes on Introduction to Educational Research

I’m taking an Introduction to Educational Research class this semester. For anyone in need of a summary, here are my notes for my midterms:

Research is a systematic process of gathering and analyzing data for some purpose.


  • find solutions to problems
  • basis for decision-making
  • improve existing techniques, educ’l practices
  • enhance man’s basic life
  • discover new facts, deeper understanding re: phenomenon
  • develop new products
  • discover substances, elements
  • validate generalizations into systematic order
  • verify existing knowledge

Characteristics: (CCLEAR)

  • Cyclical – starts and ends with a problem
  • Critical – employs careful and precise judgment
  • Logical – uses valid procedures and principles
  • Empirical – involves direct experience and/or observation
  • Analytical – uses analytical data gathering procedures
  • Replicable – valid and conclusive results may be replicated

Educational Research is a systematic investigation involving the collection of data to solve an educational problem or contribute knowledge to existing educational theory or practice. (McMillan & Wergin, 1998)

The research process is a series of steps from the conceptualization of an idea to the development of a research paper.

Variable is any trait that varies. This can be quantitative or categorical. The first varies in amount, the second varies in kind. The differences between variables can either be continuous – gradational differences along continuum – or discrete – categorical, finite. When variables have only two categories these are called dichotomous.

The independent variable influences other variables and is manipulated by the researcher. It is also called the treatment, predictor, experimental variable, factor, stimulus or input.

The dependent variable is called the outcome, results, criterion variable,
response, or output.

The moderator variable is a secondary interacting variable.

The control on the other hand is the restricting variable.

There may also be confounding variables which may or may not be recognized by the researcher that affect the experiment results. These can be:

a) extraneous (threatening) – not part of the experiment
b) intervening -innate traits of participants such as motivation and self efficacy
c) organismic – relatively permanent physical traits of the participant

The constant is that which is the same for all.

The hypothesis is a prediction of possible outcome. This posits the relationship and difference between two or more variables. It has to be stated in a clear, declarative sentence. It also has to be testable. One indication of this is if it can be stated in operational form. Lastly it has to reflect and be based on theory and the body of research literature in the field of study.

The null hypothesis is a  statement of equality used as a starting point or benchmark.

The research hypothesis is a definite statement of inequality, relationship or difference. It can either be directional or non-directional. It is also called the alternative hypothesis.


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