Getting Started with Education Research 

By: Dr. Natascha Buswell, Co-Director of the UCI Education Research Initiative and Dr. Adrienne Williams, Director, Teaching and Learning Research Center

Big Idea: Education research should be based in literature. You should be able to answer the following questions about your work:

  • What have others done to examine your question?
  • What evidence do you have that would lead you to believe what you are going to do is going to work? 
  • What evidence do you have that states that what you are going to do needs to be done?

Setting up the Context

  • What is the target group/population of interest?
  • Who will benefit from your work?
  • What is your Research Question (RQ) / Hypothesis?
  • Keywords for your RQ

What have others done to examine your question/hypothesis? Consider the following possible ways of framing your literature review 

  1. Major theories or perspectives on the topic 
  2. Historical development of the topic 
  3. Major researchers’ contributions to the topic 
  4. Controversies or conflicts in the topic 
  5. Answering a research question that requires a synthesis of prior research
  6. Other contexts in which the topic been explored 
  7. Previous successes related to the topic 

Answer the following questions: 

  1. Why should you answer the question you have posed? 
  2. Why will your intervention/implementation work?

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