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Making Sense of Research

Making Sense of Research
What's Good, What's Not, and How To Tell the Difference

Foreword by Henry M. Levin

March 2014 | 200 pages | Corwin
In this book, the authors bring the best of two worlds to the writing of this book - the "real" world where education is practiced daily and the "research" world where the "disciplined search for knowledge" (Smith & Glass, 1987, p.6) is ongoing. This book is for those who make decisions - from the seemingly smallest teacher-made decision regarding time allocation during reading instruction to major national policy decisions such as reducing class size. When carefully read and thoughtfully considered, quality research can inform, enlighten, and provide direction to practitioners that will save time and money, but more importantly enhance the effectiveness of schools and increase the opportunities for student. Making sense of research is also about doing your own site-specific, user-driven research as a way of sustaining school improvement, keeping vision alive, and attaining your mission.
Henry M. Levin
The Goals of This Book

Who This Book Is For

What This Book Is Not

Overview of the Contents

A Few Words of Explanation

About the Authors
1. Asking the Right Questions
What Is Our Approach to Making Sense of Research?

Five Questions About Research

Four Case Studies of Education Research

Further Reading

2. Behind the Scenes in the World of Education Research
The World of Education Research

Who Does Education Research?

Who Pays for It?

Where Is It Published?

Can You Trust Education Research?

What Does the Future Hold for Education Research?

Does Education Research Really Matter?

Further Reading

3. The Causal Questions: Does It Work? (Part I)
The Causality Conundrum

Simple (Minded) Methods of Establishing Causality

What Can Go Wrong With Experiments?

Why Are Experiments So Unpopular With Education Teachers

Further Reading

4 The Causal Question: Does It Work? (Part II)
Quasi-Experiments and Non-Experiments

The Researcher's Bag of Tricks

Quasi-Experimental Approaches

Non-Experimental Approaches

Further Reading

5. The Process Question: How Does It Work?
What Is Qualitative Research?

The Qualities of Qualitative Research

The Power of Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research Methods

From Whence Comes the Quality in Qualitative Research?

Further Reading

6. The Cost Question: Is It Worthwhile?
The Concept of Costs

The Ingredients Method of Cost Analysis

Two Important Cost Questions

Further Reading

7. The Usability Question: Will It Work for Me?
Will it Work in My Setting?

Some Rules of Thumb for Making Generalizations

Research Reviews and Meta-Analysis

Special Considerations for Qualitative and Cost Studies

Making Trade-Offs

Further Reading

8. The Evaluation Question: Is It Working for Me?
What Is User-Driven Research?

User-Driven Research at Lincoln Middle School

Asking the Right Questions

Refocusing on Outcomes

Defining the Problems

Exemplars of User-Driven Research

Further Reading

Resource: Bibliographies for Case Studies
Class Size Reduction

Phonics Instruction

Private-School Vouchers

Whole-School Reform


Each chapter launches with a discussion of the different forms of inquiry that can be used to answer [a] question at hand, and in plain language how each type (design or paradigm) works. Part of that process involves frank assessment of the strengths and limitations of each format--and thus the credibility of the evidence produced.

June edition of

Succinct, yet pertinent information on the mechanics and applicability of research that will lend to students understanding as they navigate the dissertation process.

Professor Andrekka J Lanier
Ed Administration Policy Dept, Univ Of Southern California
May 16, 2016

The book is concisely written and offers a pragmatic approach to research.

Dr Jane McGuire
School Of Education, California Baptist University
October 27, 2010

Elaine K. McEwan-Adkins

Elaine K. McEwan is an educational consultant with The McEwan-Adkins Group, offering professional development for educators to assist them in meeting the challenges of literacy learning in Grades Pre K-6. A former teacher, librarian, principal, and assistant superintendent for instruction in several suburban Chicago school districts, Elaine is the award-winning and best-selling author of more than three dozen books for educators. Her Corwin Press titles include Raising Reading Achievement in Middle and High Schools: Five Simple-to-Follow Strategies for Principals, Second Edition (2006), Seven Strategies of Highly Effective Readers: Using... More About Author

Patrick J. McEwan

Patrick J. McEwan is a Professor of Economics at Wellesley College and the Director of Latin American Studies at Wellesley College. His research interests include the impact and cost evaluation of education and social policy in Latin America, especially Chile and Honduras. His work has been published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Public Economics, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and other journals of economics and education policy. For more information on his research, visit More About Author

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ISBN: 9780761977087

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