Effective Use of Traditional Research Findings

The local practitioner can effectively use traditional research findings in several ways.  When looking at an observation form on teaching adequacy, one of the first components that strikes my attention is that of ‘utilizing research-based instructional strategies to engage student learning’.  Traditional research, to much extent, has performed the ‘trial and error’ process for educators, allowing classrooms to focus on successful implementation instead of initial evaluation.  Traditional research often assuages parent concerns about particular curricular choices, for the purpose is backed by educational experts who are trained as researchers.  Since the research that goes into the studies is quite extensive, researchers have already controlled variables and considered alternative methods (McMillan, 2007). Traditional research findings lay the groundwork for new initiatives that administrators might be considering, perhaps offering a well-thought solution to a new or growing problem that a particular location is facing.

 

However, a case can be made that what works for the masses still might not work for the majority.  We think of this often in cases of remediation, or when considering individualized or differentiated learning.  It is at this point that traditional research can be utilized as foundational information that allows a particular teacher or team to begin to conduct robust action research.  For example, traditional research findings might look very closely at impact over time; perchance a district needs more immediate results.  The traditional findings can steer the action research questions and process, allowing teacher-researchers to somewhat replicate and modify existing strategies or processes.  This is similar to the way a classroom teacher relies on background knowledge to build new learning connections for students.

 

Eager (1980) brings an interesting viewpoint to the conversation.  A study from Murfreesboro, Tennessee showed that teachers who effectively implemented traditional research findings within their classroom instruction, and then critiqued the findings, were adding consumer-validation to the process.  This added credibility is a marriage of expert-based research and teacher-researcher replication.  The idea behind the study is that this cycle would then continue to improve the benefit and effectiveness of the traditional research on future classrooms.

 

Eager, R. E. (1980, December).  Helping Teachers Use Research Findings: The Consumer-Validation Process.  Retrieved from https://education.msu.edu/irt/PDFs/OccasionalPapers/op044.pdf
 

McMillan, J. H. (2007). Educational Research: Fundamentals for the Consumer 6th ed. Pearson.

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