Research Methods in Education
Research in education has over the years developed in various ways and the methods of conducting these researches are varied. Research in education is often conducted to find out the patterns in students, pupils, teachers and other stakeholders in the school and other institutions of learning. The major methods which have been documented however include Basic research method, applied research, evaluation research method, action research method and evaluation research method. Basic research is that form of research which is carried out so as to find out the fundamental principles which a matter is built on (Borg and Gall, 1989). In many instances the results which are obtained through basic research do not yield immediate or direct commercial benefits. Basic research can be thought as that type of research which comes as a result of curiosity of an individual.
Basic research is mainly carried out in Universities because this is where resources and knowledge base is available.The advantages of basic research is that it centers on supporting theories which explain the existence of phenomena, which are responsible for making things happen and explain how social relationship happen in a given way. Because basic research utilizes several principles, ideas and theories, the advantage is that it forms a foundation to many modern progress and development in different field of research. The disadvantage of this method is that it just mentions the problems which are involved in research but it does but suggests a method of solving these problems (Wallen and Fraenkel, 2001). Another disadvantage is that it requires a large disposition of knowledge base and resources implying that it can only be done in institutions where these resources are available.
Applied research basically deals with gathering project which is done with the aid of the eye in a bid to acquire and apply knowledge in addressing a given problem within the scope of education. Applied research involves accessing accumulated theories, methods, knowledge, research communities and techniques in defining a given issue in the educational framework. The advantage with this method is that it addresses important and interesting issues which govern the educational system in place. It is also a way of directly translating important changes which need to be done in the practices and policies in place within the school system. Another advantage is that it can be used to cover several projects which involve both content and methods (Shipman, 1985).
Applied research is a method which possesses new challenges and new things to always learn. This therefore makes the researchers enjoy their work and therefore come up with a proper policies and principles in education. The disadvantages of this method include constraints which are posed by the real world as opposed to ‘scientific method,’ the work is often driven by the needs of the individual and not research oriented and the outcomes of the research through this method is often overcome by events. Action research in education is the reflective process which involves solving problems while working a team or in a ‘community practice.’ This form of research is often established so as to determine issues which affect the education system and also develop solutions to these problems. Action research if often done by large organizations which are specifically bestowed with such responsibilities of performing these researches.
The reason why the research is done by these bodies is that it has professionals who understand how the research ought to be done and therefore the entire process of research is far much easier to follow (Shipman, 1985). Action research in education is often done so as to determine the practices, strategies and knowledge of the environment in which the education practice is to take place. With the help of professionals, school stakeholders often design a course of action which needs to be followed so as to arrive at the expected goals and objectives of the school system. There are several advantages which are associated with action research. One of these advantages is that it tends to involve community and work situations, thus it is easier to draw solutions to given problems.
This form of research is so much participative thus it makes the individuals involved to be so much educated. It also has the advantage that it makes individuals develop confidence in applying the theories and principles in future scenarios. The disadvantages however include the inability to come up with conclusions as compared to conventional research; it does not always follow the expectations set by the school principals, it requires the use of a conventional format to come up with this research in an effective manner, its much harder to report than others research and its thesis if often longer than other methods of research (Wallen and Fraenkel, 2001).Evaluation research in education is concerned with setting up goals for the proposed, current and past programs of action in an organization. Most actors who involve themselves in designing the evaluation research include professionals in organizations such as superordinate organizations, peer organizations, auditing organizations and donor organizations.
The perspectives which evaluation research can take include obtaining of cost-benefit information, critical analysis of paths, intersubjective, experimental or quasi-experimental and phenomenological perspectives. Evaluation research in schools is very essential since it is meant to determine the extent to which the educational theories or systems in place have contributed towards the success of the schools. One of the advantages of this method is that it determines whether the system which had been put in place is workable. It therefore gives a solution to a problem which exists. The disadvantage of this method however, is that it is a lengthy process which often covers a lot of time which could be used to do other things in school (Shipman, 1985).