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1. The aims of educational research
2. The characteristics of educational research
3. Approaches in educational research

The positivist approach

b. The interpretive approach

4. Ethics of educational research

The important aspects of research ethics

b. Ethical codes

The aims of educational research

Add to knowledge
Improve practice
Inform policy debates

Source: Creswell (2012).

The characteristics of educational

1. Educational research attempts to solve a problem.
2. Research involves gathering new data from primary or first-hand

sources or using existing data for a new purpose.

3. Research is based upon observable experience or empirical
4. Research demands accurate observation and description. Research
has a distinct set of steps, usually, consists of 6 steps:


Identifying a research problem.

Reviewing the literature.
Specifying a purpose for research.
Collecting data.
Analysing and interpreting the data.
Reporting and evaluating research.

Source: Anderson (1998) and Creswell (2012).

The characteristics of educational

5.Research generally employs carefully designed procedures

and rigorous analysis.

6.Research emphasizes the development of generalizations,
principles or theories that will help in understanding,
prediction and/or control.
7.Research requires expertisefamiliarity with the field;
competence in methodology; technical skill in collecting and
analyzing the data.
8.Research attempts to find an objective, unbiased solution to
the problem and takes great pains to validate the
procedures employed.
9.Research is a deliberate and unhurried activity which is
directional but often refines the problem or questions as
the research progresses.
Research is carefully recorded and reported to other
persons interested in the problem.

Approaches in educational research

The positivist approach

The interpretive approach

The positivist approach

Generates statistics through the use of

large-scale survey research, using

methods such as questionnaires or
structured interviews. This type of
research reaches many more people, but
the contact with those people is much
quicker than it is in qualitative research.
Describes a research problem through a
description of trends/explanation of the
relationship among variables

The positivist approach

Provides a major role for the literature
Creates purpose statements, RQs,

hypotheses that are specific, narrow,

measurable and observable
Collects numeric data with preset
questions and responses
Analyses trends, compares groups or
relates variables using statistical

The positivist approach

Interprets results by comparing with prior

predictions and past research

Writes research report standard fixed
structures and evaluation criteria
objective and unbiased approach

Source: Creswell (2012)

The interpretive approach

Best suited to address a research problem

where the variables are not known and

need to be explored
Explores attitudes, behaviour and
experiences through such methods as
interviews or focus groups.
Attempts to get an in-depth opinion from
participants. As it is attitudes, behaviour and
experiences which are important, fewer people
take part in the research, but the contact with
these people tends to last a lot longer.

The interpretive approach

Literature review plays a minor role to

justify the problem

States the purpose and RQs in general and
broad way the participants
Collects data based on participants
Analyses data for description and
themes using text analysis

The interpretive approach

Interprets the larger meaning of the

Writes the report using flexible, emerging
structures and evaluative criteria
Includes researchers subjective
reflexivity and bias

Ethics of educational research

The important aspects of research ethics
Ethical codes

The important aspects of research

The treatment of participants
Maximising good outcomes and minimising

Respect for participants
Protecting autonomy and ensuring well-

informed, voluntary participation

Fair distribution of risks and benefits

Ethical codes
Institutional Review Boards
Professional Associations
BERA (British Educational Research

AERA (American Educational Research
APA (American Psychological Association)

Ethical codes
Research Process
Data Collection
Data Reporting

Anderson, G. J. (1998). Fundamentals of

Educational Research. London:

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational Research:
Planning, Conducting, and Evaluating
Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Boston:
Family Health International. Qualitative
Research Methods: A Data Collectors Field

Suggested Reading:
Fraenkel, J. R. and N. E. Wallen. (1993). How to

Design and Evaluate Research in Education.

New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.

Tutorial 1
Contrast qualitative approach with

quantitative approach. Give 2 examples of

topics which can be researched on using
each approach.