What is Education Research?

Carol Francois

Education research is the study and evaluation of different educational theories. This type of work covers all education levels, from preschool to post graduate degrees. The purpose of education research is to develop education theories and methodologies and evaluate the success of these concepts in practice.

A researcher might study how young children who are from low-income families fare in relation to their peers.
A researcher might study how young children who are from low-income families fare in relation to their peers.

There are four main areas to education research: psychological, sociological, biological, and analytical. All four areas investigate different aspects of learning and how the brain functions. The theories and ideas developed during education research are published and provide the basis for the education system and teaching model.

Education research evaluates educational theories in developing ideas on which to base teaching methods.
Education research evaluates educational theories in developing ideas on which to base teaching methods.

In order to become an education researcher, you will need a post-graduate degree in education. The majority of education researchers are also fully training teachers who have worked as a teacher earlier in their career. Important skills for this type of position include analytical thinking, good communication, and presentation skills.

Education research often focuses on learning techniques and ways to reach children who learn differently.
Education research often focuses on learning techniques and ways to reach children who learn differently.

Psychological education research focuses on the different learning styles and the most effective way to teach each style. They explore the importance of atmosphere, delivery method, presentation, and student-teacher interaction. In this school of thought, they also explore the impact of personality on education absorption.

Education research is often conducted online.
Education research is often conducted online.

In the sociological school of thought, education research is focuses on the impact of economic circumstance, family structure, level of parental involvement, siblings and other social issues. The main theory is that success in education and related pursuits is deeply affected by the students family situation. Education research provides a method of evaluating which unique strategies might help these students succeed.

Education research includes the methods students use to study.
Education research includes the methods students use to study.

A biological education researcher focuses on the genetic predisposition of the student. Discussion about innate intelligence, brain capacity and utilization all stem from this type of research. This area of research can be controversial, as many people are divided on the belief that intelligence is based on effort, and not biology.

Education research might focus on how different concepts are learned in early childhood.
Education research might focus on how different concepts are learned in early childhood.

Analytical research into education compiles the different theories, studies and evaluates their effectiveness. This is a very important role, as it validates or negates the conclusions suggested by the research study author. They provide an impartial review of the data and research method used to support the proposed education theory.

Research into education has a huge impact on the design of courses, curriculum development, and teacher training. This field has grown tremendously in the last 25 years, resulting in a more thoughtful approach to elementary education, the challenges facing economically disadvantaged students and the role of schools within a community. Additional developments in teacher training have improved the quality of the education provided and the impact of education in everyday life.

Education research in the past 25 years has led to more thoughtful approaches to elementary education.
Education research in the past 25 years has led to more thoughtful approaches to elementary education.

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Discussion Comments

latte31

Sunny27- I agree. I had a cousin who learned of his gifted abilities as a child, and maintained average grades throughout school and never went to college. He just did the minimum and really did not perform to his capacity.

I always wonder if he never knew about his intellectual capacity would his results have changed. I agree that key to success revolves around effort, not intellect.

More research studies involving motivation and effort offer better data in determining future success because intellectually superior children don’t always use their talents, while children that were self motivated or worked harder received the best results.

Sunny27

Great article, but I want to add that while there is a certain biological component to intelligence, effort is a far better indicator of intelligence and performance.

I don’t feel that children should be labeled gifted or otherwise. If they are labeled gifted and informed that they have superior intellect, a child still might not perform to his capacity.

He or she may become lazy and under perform, or worse be afraid of taking risks for fear that the pressure will be too much. A person with superior effort always outperforms those with superior intellectual talent.

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