Comparison of Definitions
- How do inquiry, action research, reflective practice, and lore compare and contrast with teacher research?
- Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
- equally questioning
- less rigorous and systematic in connotation, a more general term
- less directed toward findings
EXAMPLE: Several teacher researchers might get together on a regular basis to discuss and analyze their work and call themselves an inquiry group
historical term (British teachers investigating curriculum initiatives)
- equally focused on teaching and learning
- research question may not be freely chosen, included as part of curriculum initiative
- less theory based, not striving to contribute to knowledge base Ã‚ · more specifically directed toward changes in practice, therefore may be regarded primarily as professional development
EXAMPLE: A school system decides to begin the use of math manipulatives in the elementary grades. A group of teachers tests out their use and reports to their colleagues on what they found. NOTE: Sometimes this term is used interchangeably with teacher research.
- adapted from David Schon's ideas of the reflective practitioner
- more descriptive of a way of teaching, not a way of researching
EXAMPLE: A teacher-researcher might use this term to refer to his or her work during years when he/she is not conducting research.
- Term used to describe teacher knowledge
- focused on teaching stories, handed down, may be valuable information
- not reached by a process of systematic investigation
- not valued as theory-based knowledge
- sometimes a way of discrediting teacher knowledge
EXAMPLE: Don't smile during the first month of school if you want to establish who's in control. A teacher researcher might decided to change lore into a research question and investigate it: "What happens during the first month of school?"
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
Teacher research is a type of qualitative research, meaning that it involves the researcher in the lives of his/her subjects- observing, participating and reflecting on what happens within the context of the study environment. The chart below comes from "Understanding and conducting qualitative research" by Stainback and Stainback (1988, p. 8-9). They compare qualitative research to quantitative research (which is a positivistic approach of seeking facts through the collection of objective, quantifiable data under experimentally controlled conditions).
|Purpose||Prediction and Control||Understanding- seeks why|
|Reality||Stable- reality is made up of facts and do not change||Dynamic- reality changes with people's perceptions|
|Viewpoint||Outsider- reality is what quantifiable data indicates.||Insider- reality is what people perceive it to be.|
|Values||Value free- values can be controlled with appropriate methodological procedures.||Value bound- Values are important and need to be understood during the research process.|
|Focus||Particularistic- selected, predefined variables are studied.||Holistic- a total or complete picture is sought.|
|Orientation||Verification- Predetermined hypotheses are investigated.||Discovery- Theories and hypotheses are evolved from data as it is collected.|
|Data||Objective- data are independent of people's perceptions.||Subjective- Data are perceptions of the subjects in the environment (context).|
|Instrumentation||Non-human- reconstructed instruments such as surveys, questionnaires, rating scales, tests, etc.||Human- the human person is the primary data collection instrument such as observing and reporting on behavior and expressed feelings.|
|Conditions||Controlled- Investigations are conducted under controlled conditions.||Naturalistic- Investigations are conducted under natural conditions.|
|Results||Reliable- the focus is on design and procedures to gain replicable data.||Valid- the focus is on design and procedures to gain rich, real and deep data.|