Early Steps in Educational Research


Students pursuing research in science education come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. Though they may have good content knowledge and may even have engaged in research activities in their own disciplines, they may not have any idea of educational research. Hence a course on educational research is essential for all students. The course may help them get a peep into educational research methods, tools and techniques. The course is intended to help them to make decisions related to educational research with greater confidence and comfort. The course is pitched at an introductory level, encouraging students to begin to appreciate the several issues in planning and conducting educational research.

The course, aimed to orient students to the foundations of educational research, is tentatively organised as follows:

  1. The beginning

  • Understanding what educational research means and its significance

  • Philosophy of educational research

  • Principles of educational research

  1. Steps in planning educational research – list of content of the course

  • Literature review process; Developing research questions, Hypotheses; Method

  • Data - sources, tools and methods used for data collection; questionnaire, interviews, accounts, observations, tests, etc.;

  • Measurement tools and techniques, Sampling strategies

  1. Research typologies based on

  • Utility of research (Pure or Applied)

  • Nature of data analysed (Qualitative or Quantitative)

  • Research designs used (ethnography, survey, ...)

  1. Understanding important research designs in educational research

  • Ethnographic

  • Descriptive / Historical

  • Co-relational

  • Action

  • Evaluation

  • Experimental

  • Quasi-experimental

  1. Exploring and analysing data

  2. Interpreting and communicating research in different forms

  • a proposal for conducting a research project

  • a research article for community of educators

  • a popular article for public outreach

  1. Designing and preparing a research report

  2. Useful tips for smooth sailing in research

  • Selecting, refining and proposing a topic for research

  • Locating, interpreting, summarising and citing published research

  • Identifying relevant forums for discussing and presenting research

Assessment modes: A continuous mode of assessment will be practiced. Students will get oral feedbacks after each assessment in person so that they get to reflect on their own performance. The assessment modes will include group interactions, presentations, seminars, assignments, etc.

References: Selected chapters/ sections from the following books. The class schedule will highlight the relevant readings and plan for a particular session.


  • Bartlett, S., Burton, D. and Peim, N. (2001) Introduction to education studies. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

  • Best, John W. and Kahn, James V. (2005) Research in education. New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India Private Limited.

  • Charles C.M. (1995) Introduction to Educational Research. USA: Longman Publishers.

  • Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2000) Research methods in education. London: Routledge/Falmer.

  • Creswell, John W. (2002) Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. London: Merrill Prentice Hall, Pearson Education Ltd.

  • Creswell, John W. (2002) Research design: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. New Delhi: Sage publications.

  • Green, J. L., Camilli, G., Elmore, P. B., Skukauskaite, A. and Grace, E. (2006) Handbook of complementary methods in education research. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers and Washington: American Educational Research Association.

  • Kerlinger, F. (1983) Foundations of behavioural research. Delhi: Surjeet Publications.

  • O'Leary, Zina (2004) The essential guide to doing research. New Delhi: Vistaar Publications.

  • Opie, Clive (2004) Doing educational research: A guide for first time researchers. New Delhi: Vistaar Publications.

  • Pring, Richard (2000) Philosophy of educational research. London: Continuum.

  • Handbook (Not available) Research methods in education. Masters programme in education. The Open University Press.

  • Journal articles which serve as examples of each of the different research designs