Foundations of Education Research
Understanding Theoretical Components
Routledge – 2014 – 186 pages
The theoretical components of research are some of the most complicated and challenging aspects for new researchers to understand. While relevant methodologies are routinely covered by textbooks, the theory behind the practice can remain unnecessarily opaque. In six concise chapters Foundations of Education Research defines, discusses, and provides applications for the central components of research in order to provide researchers with a common ground from which to work. Including conceptual framework, epistemology, paradigm, theory, theoretical framework, and methodology/method, this book gives students the tools they need to understand existing education research literature and to produce theoretically-grounded work of their own.
Beginning each chapter with perspectives from both novice and experienced researchers, this book is designed to help students achieve a deeper understanding of what is expected of them and ideas about how to achieve it. Guiding questions from both perspectives can assist researchers who are engaging with theory for the first time and those looking to improve their understanding of the fundamentals. Practice exercises and suggested reading lists at the end of each chapter offer students resources they can apply to their own research and thinking in concrete ways. A perfect accompaniment to standard research courses, this primer demystifies the jargon of education research in practical terms.
‘This book is a crisply written account of essential elements of education research that will inform both new and seasoned scholars. Authors provide illustrative examples from everyday life as well as foundational and current scholarship, drawing on salient work from varied research perspectives to unpack and elucidate the differences between terms, and then demonstrate how the two work together in successful research. Egbert & Sanden do not argue for the value of one paradigm over another or one framework over another. Their even and savvy approach shows us how any stance or approach in education research must be informed by an understanding of how evidence is marshaled and interpreted. This work is a model for interlacing theory and practice.' –Thomas Crumpler, Illinois State University, USA
‘Readers have the chance to eavesdrop on exchanges between a novice researcher and an experienced researcher as they consider terms such as conceptual framework, epistemology, and research paradigms as well as having opportunities to reflect on the concepts explored within the book’s pages and then apply them while reading published research studies. I wish this book had been available when I enrolled for my first research class. My doctoral students unanimously praised its playful but intellectual nature while heaving a sigh of relief to have these terms that are bandied about so frequently actually defined so thoroughly.’ – Barbara A. Ward, Washington State University, USA
1. Foundations of Research: Conceptual Framework 2. Influences on Research and Researchers: Episte-what? 3. Research Paradigms 4. Research and Theory: Just a Hunch or Something More? 5. Theoretical Frameworks: You Can't Have a How Without a Why 6. Research Methodologies and Methods: Ingredients for Research Success 7. Myths and Misconceptions about Research
Joy Egbert is Professor of Education at Washington State University, Pullman, USA.
Sherry Sanden is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Literacy at Illinois State University, USA.