Those who want to enter a career in education may wonder “What is educational research?” or “What is an educational researcher?” This job title often shows up in news articles or journal pieces. An education researcher is a professional who conducts studies. These studies yield information related to certain aspects of education. These researchers can provide great insight. They help navigate current issues within the field of education, from preschool through college.
There are many different options when it comes to education research jobs and careers. Some education research jobs need polished interpersonal skills. Others involve working almost only with numbers. Educational research is a large field that involves many steps. Learn about the educational researcher job description before accepting education research jobs. Educational research jobs involve:
- collecting data and numbers from a sample population
- evaluating what the numbers mean
- taking those conclusions and putting them to practical use in designing assessments or curricula
Some researchers do all of these things. Others have a special niche area that they are especially good at. There is something for almost everyone in this field. Anyone who is interested in education research must be:
- comfortable working with numbers
- interested in education
Education research analysts help to shape what is taught in schools. This in turn shapes the minds of the children in those schools. This is a great responsibility for those who choose to take it on. Keep reading to learn more about this valuable profession and educational research jobs.
What an Education Researcher Does
Researchers in education collect and analyze data. This data can come from such sources as:
- individual interviews
- focus groups
- classroom observations
- site tours
They often have a role in the design of surveys, along with the formation and recruitment of focus groups. They travel to visit institutions, students, and staff. They are then charged with collecting and making sense of the data that comes from their studies. This requires skills related to interpreting, manipulating, and communicating data. They must be able to produce reports and share their findings in practical ways among educational communities.
Education Researcher Requirements
Are you considering what is an educational researcher? Searching for educational researcher jobs? It’s important to understand the educational requirements for this type of career. A master’s degree is necessary. This advanced degree can be in areas such as:
- research measurement
- research evaluation
- education research
These programs provide students with valuable skills. They learn how to evaluate educational data. They learn about measurement tools. They learn to understand statistical methodologies. Coursework will be in:
- research methods
- inferential statistics
- parameter estimation
- data collection
These classes provide the skills needed to design, develop, conduct, and analyze studies. The studies provide much-needed information to improve education across various age groups.
Below, we briefly describe some of the courses that may be taken in an educational research program. Once you finish an education research program, you can begin to look for educational researcher jobs.
Form Plus lists steps in education research. These are:
- define the research problem
- formulate your hypothesis
- determine the methodology to be used
- collect data using one or more education research methods
- analyze and interpret your data
- create your research report
Some of the methods used in educational research are interviews, surveys, and questionnaires. A course in research methods from a city university would explain how to conduct research using each of these methods. Also, it would list the advantages and disadvantages of each. This knowledge would help you as an education research analyst.
In statistics, research is conducted using a small sample that is meant to represent the entire population. For example, researchers might want to find out if children in sixth grade learn more effectively with a certain teaching method. It is not possible to test all children everywhere that are in sixth grade with that particular teaching method. However, a sample of children from sixth grade can give researchers an idea of whether this teaching method is a good one. But there is the problem of whether the sample truly represents the entire population of children in sixth grade. According to educational research at Korbed Psych, this is where inferential statistics come it. It is used “to determine whether the findings from the sample can generalize – or be applied – to the entire population.” In an inferential statistics course from a city university, students learn to evaluate a sample to see if it can be applied to the population as a whole.
According to Data Collection in Education Research data collection involves a wide range of techniques. Previously, those techniques were what is known as “quantitative.” They were based on strict observation and viewing, as well as tests and scales. More recently, however, data collection came to be focused more on narratives.They can focus on the perspectives of participants. Less structured observation can also be used. One research method is questionnaires. This method is one of the most common methods used, and it is helpful since its questions allow for a more objective collection of data. Questionnaires are distinct from surveys in that surveys allow for interviews. Often, a course in data collection will include information on designing questionnaires. Some topics are:
- quantitative interviewing
- quantitative observation
- technical properties
- qualitative data collection
- in-depth interviewing
- focus groups
- qualitative document analysis
- other topics relevant to educational research
What jobs could I get as an educational researcher?
11 Education Research Jobs to Consider Exploring from Indeed lists education research jobs, with a brief description of job duties and educational researcher salary, in some cases. Read about the researcher job description options. These education research jobs vary widely in duties and skills required, but all are related to the field of educational research. One of these educational researcher jobs may be a good fit for you.
Education Research Jobs:
Educational Assessment Coordinator/Referrals Assessment Manager
These education research jobs involve research in the field of assessment. Assessment is an integral part of current education systems. Educational assessment coordinators work to be sure that tests and assessments are correctly designed. Sheffield.ac.uk lists several principles of assessment. The first one, validity, refers to the effectiveness of the assessment. The assessment must correctly verify what levels students have attained relative to learning goals. The second principle is consistency. Students must know what to expect when it comes to grading and other elements. Another principle is that the test must reflect what students have been learning. It should relate closely to the desired learning outcomes. Another principle is that assessment should be manageable. Students should not have so many assessments to complete that they become overwhelmed. Fairness is another principle to be taken into account. Those who want to research the field of assessment may find education research jobs as:
- an education assessment coordinator
- a referrals assessment manager.
Education Research Jobs:
What does a researcher do? Bureau of Labor Statistics states survey researchers are survey designers and data analysts. This means that they must know how to work with large amounts of data. They must understand the most effective way to collect this data. Survey researchers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, must typically hold at least a master’s degree. That being said, there are instances of survey researchers being employed with only a bachelor’s degree. Annual pay as of May 2020 was $59,870, for those who are curious about educational researcher salary. Are you someone who enjoys working with data and statistics? Are you also interested in education research? Explore education researcher jobs as a survey researcher.
Education Research Jobs:
Survey researchers create surveys and collect data. Research analysts work to understand what the data means. These two professions do overlap. But someone who work as a research analyst spends more time with data that has already been collected. In the field of education research, this means that they will be analyzing studies and surveys. They will understand how to apply them in order to help students to learn better. Much like a survey researcher, it is important for a research analyst to value data and numbers. Those who want to pursue a career in this area must understand the link between the research that has been collected and the real world. They must know how to take the concrete facts of a study and translate them into abstract ideas. Then they must translate those abstract ideas back into a concrete action plan for educators moving forward. Would like to make a difference in education? Do you prefer analyzing facts to interacting with students? This may be a great career option for you.
Education Research Jobs:
Are you interested in education research? Do you also enjoy teaching others? A career as a professor at a college or university may be an option. Anyone who wants to be a college professor must earn at least a bachelor’s and master’s degree. In fact, many universities require professors to hold a doctorate. Usually, it is helpful to have experience in the field before teaching as a college professor at a city university. This means it is possible to have this career as a second career. Being a college professor requires a deep knowledge of the subject that will be taught. Not only that, but the professor must be comfortable with interacting with students. They must be passionate about educating the next generation of educational researchers. Life as a college professor is often very busy. Deadlines, grading, and other events take up a great deal of time. Therefore, those who want to be college professors must have excellent time-management skills. If you are passionate about educational research and interested in teaching others, this is a career path that could be an option for you.
Education Research Jobs:
Curriculum leaders develop or choose the curricula that are taught in education systems. This includes textbooks, teaching styles, and everything in between. These professionals also work with staff at schools, helping to improve their teaching skills. This means that curriculum developers should have a great deal of ease and skill in interacting with others. Becoming a curriculum developer requires at least a master’s degree. Candidates with a teacher’s license are often preferred. The website also lists some sample duties, including:
- defining course objectives
- evaluating and revising the existing curriculum as needed
- adapting the existing curriculum into digital formats
- providing training materials or workshops to educators
There are several other ways that educational researchers can be employed. They might work as textbook writers or editors. There is also the option of using a background in psychology to help with education research, or working as a statistician in the area of educational research. This is a broad field with many career options.
Why Educational Research Is Important
Research in education can provide educators, students, and the public with information. This information will guide best practices to help students learn in ways that are most successful. As with any field, some educational research can be flawed. Examples of studies that were revered for a long time for their findings and are now revealed to be untrustworthy are:
- the Stanford Prison Experiment
- the Marshmallow Experiment
- others as listed in the article from Forbes: “The Snares and Delusions of Educational Research”
Quality research can have a very positive and necessary impact on academic practices and learning outcomes. This type of research helps to provide teachers and administrators with proven methods that can help them to reach the most students.
Researchers in education provide empirical research and data that supports their findings. This research helps to demonstrate the most effective ways in which students learn within educational systems. In addition, such specialized research can help to discover where learning gaps exist. They can help find solutions for such shortcomings. Research in education is expanding to provide a much broader and more diverse picture in order to benefit the most students. Research must address the whole picture and all facets within the educational system in order for it to be truly effective.
This is an overview of what researchers in education do and why such research matters. Without education research, schools at all levels would be lacking in high-quality best practices. They would not be able to serve their students in ways that meet the demands of an ever-changing world. Knowing what is an educational researcher can help the next generation understand this career path. Are you interested in numbers? Do you want to help students to gain the best education they can? A career as an education researcher is a valuable option.