Sunday, 1 October 2017

Five Books on Educational Research

I'll start by saying this is not another '10 books every teacher must read about education’ posts. Mainly because I don't like people telling me what I must do and I’ve no desire to inflict my reading list on anyone else. This is more of a 'five useful books on educational research that you may or may not want to read if you have the time and desire to do so'. Admittedly, the title could do with some work. 

I should probably point out that the majority of these books are about qualitative research as (a) I’m trying to indoctrinate you and (b) this is an exercise in self-congratulation. It’s also a post for anyone interested in conducting their own research rather than a summary of findings from meta-analyses such as in Hattie's Visible Learning. So, here we go...

Brooks, R., Te Riele, K. and Maguire, M., 2014. Ethics and education research

I'm going to start with a book on ethics as I worry that it sometimes gets overlooked in discussions around educational research. This book provides a detailed overview of the ethical issues involved in conducting educational research such as positionality, anonymity and informed consent. If you haven’t got the time to read this the definitely check out this handy guide from BERA.

Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. eds., 2011. 
The Sage handbook of qualitative research

This is probably one of the best all-rounders on qualitative research. It covers everything from theoretical paradigms to strategies of inquiry to collecting, interpreting and presenting your data/ findings. Also, as this is the fifth edition you should be able pick up earlier editions online quite cheaply. I would also highly recommend other works by Denzin and Lincoln but this book provides a great starting point. 

Crotty, M., 1998. The foundations of social research: Meaning and perspective in the research process.

This book is not just about educational qualitative research but is great for connecting theory and practice. It covers the four main elements of research design with accessible precision; epistemology, theoretical perspectives, methodology and methods. Also, if you want to get your head around postmodernism then please head straight to chapter 9. It saved me hours. 

Creswell, J.W. and Poth, C.N., 2017. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches

This book focuses specifically on five qualitative approached; narrative research, phenomenology, case studies, grounded theory and ethnography. I’m a big fan of all of these but there’s also enough within these pages for any qualitative researchers looking for information on philosophical assumptions and interpretative frameworks. Also, as this is the fourth edition, you should be able to pick up a relatively cheap copy. 

Kincheloe, J.L., 2012. Teachers as researchers (classic edition): Qualitative inquiry as a path to empowerment. Routledge.

I've only just started reading this but it's good. Really good. To give you a flavour of its contents, I’ll share a section from the blurb...this book 'argues that only by engaging in complex, critical research will teachers rediscover their professional status, empower their practice in the classroom and improve the quality of education for their pupils'. Quite the claim. 

I'm hoping to blog more about qualitative research in the future when I'm done tweeting about tea and beer...

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