Do You Have Research For That?

So I was hanging out in the #edcampVoxer “Adventure Playground Session” when someone asked me if I had research to back up using an adventure based approach as a teacher and learner. I get asked about research often as a teacher so I decided to create this graphic and tweet it.

Now, the person asking me that question, was not trying to derail the conversation, or put me in my place, (as some are wont to do) rather she was just curious. Also perhaps she needs research to back up this approach with her administration or fellow staff members.

I’d like to take this opportunity to expand on the tweet above. It’ll be short, I promise.

  1. Research is can be a good thing. There are tons of places to start your research: Google, the ERIC database, well-written thoughtful blogs like those done by Grant Wiggins, or  James O’Keeffe. As a two-time WASC  accreditation self-study writer and coordinator I lived daily inside the California Department of Education’s DataQuest site. You could also ask your district, your site admin, or even your fellow teachers online or on site. There is stuff out there, go get it.
  2. You can do your own research. I didn’t like what the California State University system was tell us about our inability to get students ready for college level math and English, so I did my own research. You can use Google Forms to do your own research. What a great use of PD time, to ask a question and then create a research project. Also if someone says something that sounds fishy, feel free to see if they are right by doing some fact-checking yourself.
  3. If it’s someone with “credentials” a consultant or an administrator with a PhD, ask them if they will take the time, after school, to show you how to set up a research study. They will either do it, which is cool, or back off, which is also cool.
  4. I’ll let you read some of the tweet below about #4
  5. I run my class like a lab class, and use my blog as my reporting tool. Other teachers like, Scott Bedley, have organized more structured research projects around important educational topics like homework using the students from his school as data.

This question is not a stop what you’re doing question, it’s an opportunity for learning:

Do you have research for that?

PS: We started having a conversation about “How do you know whether research is good/valid or not?” I’m going to leave some links below to help all of us learn more about valid research.

Now when someone cites some research I’m going to ask them what the P value is. If they look at me like I just spoke Martian, I’ll know a little more about whether or not they did their own research on the research they are quoting.

4 thoughts on “Do You Have Research For That?

  1. SUCH a good point Glen. Thank you for mentioning this. I have an entire list of Librarians on my Twitter lists and I call them Gods of Learning. I can’t believe that I forgot to include this and if I remake that graphic, I’m including that point.

    Every day I get sad that our district only has one librarian for 8 high schools.


  2. Nice post, David. Makes me wish I was on EdCampVoxer. One of my pet peeves comes from people who confuse being “data-driven” as “research-based.” Many admins and teachers look at their “data” and assume that it is a valid measure of student learning. District-made assessments and/or rubrics are almost never tested for validity and/or reliability because it is too expensive. Being data-driven means you do not base your decision-making on multiple sources of information. Instead, a small group within your organization is reacting, or overreacting to a one-time snapshot of student learning. Research-based practices, on the other hand, are generally peer-reviewed meta-analyses that have examined an educational practice or series of practices over time. Graham & Hebert’s (2010) Writing to Read is a great example. It examines how writing can improve reading and reports out practices, effect sizes, and sample sizes. Education researchers can always find limitations in any study, but it is harder to argue against practices that show positive effects over consistent periods of time. Perhaps better questions to ask would be: what are some barriers to implementing a program like that? or What roadblocks would a district face in scaling up a promising pilot program? Research is grounded in theory. The end result either supports the theory or supports the null. Being data-driven generally employs no theory. It is a reactionary, consensus-driven approach to triage.

    Liked by 1 person

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