A Sample of Historical Research by kof19691

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									Historical Research
   What is Historical Research?
• The systematic collection and evaluation of data to
  describe, explain, and understand actions or events
  that occurred sometime in the past.
• There is no manipulation or control of variables as in
  experimental research.
• An attempt is made to reconstruct what happened
  during a certain period of time as completely and
  accurately as possible.
               The Purposes
           of Historical Research
• To make people aware of what has happened in
  the past in order to:
  –   Learn from past failures and successes
  –   Apply them to present-day problems
  –   Make predictions
  –   Test hypotheses concerning relationships or trends
  –   Understand present educational practices and
      policies more fully
             Steps Involved
         in Historical Research
• Defining the Problem
• Locating relevant sources
     •   Documents
     •   Numerical records
     •   Oral statements
     •   Relics
• Summarizing information obtained from
  historical sources
• Evaluation of historical sources
     • Internal criticism
     • External criticism
           Categories of Sources
• Documents
   – Written or printed materials that have been produced in some
     form or another.
• Numerical records
   – Considered as a separate type of source in and of themselves
     or as a subcategory of documents.
• Oral Statements
   – Are stories or other forms of oral expression that leave a
     record for future generations.
• Relics
   – Are any objects whose physical or visual characteristics can
     provide some information about the past.
  Primary vs. Secondary Sources
• Primary source
  – one prepared by an individual who was a
    participant in or a direct witness to the event being
• Secondary source
  – a document prepared by an individual who was not
    a direct witness to an event, but who obtained a
    description of the event from someone else.
              Data Analysis
          in Historical Research
• Historical researchers use the following
  methods to make sense out of large amounts
  of data:
  –   Theoretical model leading to a content analysis
  –   Use of patterns or themes
  –   Coding system
  –   Quantitative data to validate interpretations
  Advantages and Disadvantages
      of Historical Research
• Advantages                • Disadvantages
                              – Cannot control for
  – Permits investigation       threats to internal validity
    of topics and             – Limitations are imposed
    questions that can          due to the content
    be studied in no            analysis
                              – Researchers cannot
    other fashion               ensure representation of
                                the sample
   Action Research

   The word "academic" is a
synonym for irrelevant. (Alinsky,
     What is Action Research?
• Action Research is conducted by one or more individuals
  or groups for the purpose of solving a problem or
  obtaining information in order to inform local practice.
• Such studies are seriously limited in generalizability.
      Why Action Research?
• Teachers do not find research persuasive
  or authoritative.
• Mainstream research has not been
  relevant to practice nor has it addressed
  teachers’ questions.
• Findings from research often not
  expressed in ways that are
  comprehensible to teachers.
    Key Characteristics of Action
• Persuasive and Authoritative
  – Teachers are invested in the legitimacy of the
• Relevant
  – Think Stanovich and multiple causation
• Accessible
• Problem solving approach
• Not a fad
  – Good teachers have always systematically looked at
    the effects of their teaching.
Basic Assumptions Underlying Action Research

 Assumption                             Example

 Teachers and other education           A team of teachers, after discussions with the school
 professionals have the authority to    administration, decide to meet weekly to revise the
 make decisions.                        mathematics curriculum to make it more relevant to low-
                                        achieving students.

 Teachers and other education           A group of teachers decide to observe each other on a weekly
 professionals want to improve their    basis and then discuss ways to improve their teaching.
                                        The entire staff—administration, teachers, counselors, and
 Teachers and other education           clerical staff—of an elementary school go on a retreat to plan
 professionals are committed to         ways to improve the attendance and discipline policies for the
 continual professional development.    school.

 Teachers and other education           Following up on the example just listed above, the staff decides
 professionals will and can engage in   to collect data by reviewing the attendance records of chronic
 systematic research.                   absentees over the past year, to interview a random sample of
                                        attendees and absentees to determine why they differ, to hold a
                                        series of after-school roundtable sessions between discipline-
                                        prone students and faculty to identify problems and discuss
                                        ways to resolve issues of contention, and to establish a
                                        mentoring system in which selected students can serve as
                                        counselors to students needing help with their assigned work.
       Assumptions Underlying
          Action Research
• A number of assumptions underlie action
  – Participants have the authority to make decisions
  – Those involved are seriously committed to improving
    their performance
  – Educators and others involved in schools want to
    engage in research systematically
  – Those performing the research will make the
    necessary changes and recommendations
         Types of Action Research
•   There are two main types of action research:
    1)   Practical Action Research
         •   Addresses a specific problem
         •   Primary purpose is to improve practice and inform larger
         •   A ―how to‖ approach
    2)   Participatory Action Research
         •   Philosophically driven
         •   Empower individuals and groups to improve their lives and
             bring about a social change
         •   Stakeholders are involved and are active in all processes
       Levels of Participation
• Provide information    • Participate in
• Become informed of       interpretation
  purpose of the study   • Participate in designing
• Receive findings         the project
• Assist in data         • Participate in problem
  collection               specification
• Review findings        • Initiate study
         Steps in Action Research
•   There are four steps or stages in Action

    1)   Identifying the research question
    2)   Gathering the necessary information
    3)   Analyzing and interpreting the information
    4)   Developing a plan of action
Advantages of Action Research
• It can be performed by anyone, in any type of school or
• It can help to improve educational practice
• It can help education and other professionals to improve
  their craft
• It can help them learn to identify problems systematically
• It can build up a small community of research-oriented
  individuals at the local level
Similarities and Differences Between Action Research &
     Formal Quantitative and Qualitative Research

  Action Research                                   Formal Research

  Systematic inquiry.                               Systematic inquiry.
  Goal is to solve problems of local concern.       Goal is to develop and test theories and to
                                                    produce knowledge generalizable to wide
  Little formal training required to conduct such   Considerable training required to conduct
  studies.                                          such studies.
  Intent is to identify and correct problems.       Intent is to investigate larger issues, of local
  Carried out by teacher or other local education   Carried out by researcher who is not usually
  professional.                                     involved in local situation.
  Uses primarily teacher-developed instruments.     Uses primarily professionally-developed
  Less rigorous.
                                                    More rigorous.
  Usually value-based.
                                                    Frequently value-neutral.
  Purposive samples selected.
                                                    Random samples (if possible) preferred.
  Selective opinions of researcher often
  considered as data.                               Selective opinions of researcher never
                                                    considered as data.
  Generalizability is very limited.
                                                    Generalizability often appropriate.
 Participatory Action Research
―I think if the academic does the research
   you are doing a disservice to the
Do you agree with this statement?
   Why or why not?
In your opinion, what is the role of
   academics, or outsiders, in PAR?

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