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Educational Research Primer

January, 2016

The purpose of educational research is to better understand how people learn and improve student learning. Typically, this research asks what students think, such as “What is the percentage of students interested in taking courses online?” or assesses how a change in instruction affects learning, such as “Are online lectures are equally effective as face-to-face lectures?”. Your research methods will depend heavily on which of these two goals (or both) you are trying to accomplish and many other factors. If you have little experience with human subjects research or you just need a refresher, this primer is intended to help you select the appropriate methods for conducting educational research. To do this, we’ll go through six main sections: types of research questions, pre-tests vs. post-tests, non-experiments vs. experiments, types of measurement, analysis, and statistics. 

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