Those who think they may want to enter a career in education may wonder what is an educational researcher? This job title often shows up in news articles or journal pieces. An educational researcher is a professional who reviews the literature to create and conduct studies that yield information regarding particular aspects of education. These researchers can provide great insight into current issues within the field of education, from preschool through college. Keep reading to learn more about this valuable profession.
What an Educational Researcher Does
Educational researchers collect and analyze data. This data can come from such sources as individual interviews, focus groups, surveys, classroom observations and 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 such as interpreting, manipulating and communication data. They must be able to produce reports and share their findings in practical ways among educational communities.
When considering what is an educational researcher, 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 or education research. These programs provide students with valuable skills like how to evaluate educational data, use measurement tools and understand statistical methodologies. Coursework in research methods, inferential statistics, parameter estimation and data collection can be expected. These classes provide the necessary skills needed to design, develop, conduct and analyze studies that can provide much-needed information to improve education across various age groups.
Why Educational Research Is Important
Research in education can provide educators, students and the public with insightful information to help guide best practices in providing the best quality education to help students learn in ways that are most successful. As with any field, some educational research can be flawed. However, 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 to reach the most students. Educational researchers provide empirical research and data that supports their findings. It 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 and then work to 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. Good research must address the whole picture and all facets within the educational system in order for it to be effective.
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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 quality best practices and 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 valuable career path.