What Is the Purpose of Educational Research?

Researchers conduct educational research in order to come up with new findings that help educators become better informed about teaching practices, learning, motivation, classroom management and human development, as these can help teachers more effectively educate their students. Administrators and counselors also benefit from these findings as they learn to better understand how students learn and develop. The educational research process follows the scientific method, and researchers can choose to do descriptive or experimental research.

Descriptive research seeks to describe something that is happening, and it may focus on people, an organization or a specific setting. The research design may be simple and just involve collecting data for the purpose of describing one thing, or it may be comparative and focus on multiple participants. Another type of descriptive research is correlational research, its purpose is to see how two variables are related.

Experimental research, on the other hand, involves coming up with specific research questions that need answered. For example, the researcher may be curious about what affects student achievement and then choose one factor to analyze. Unlike with descriptive research, the participants in this kind of study are randomly selected. One group would receive some special treatment to determine whether the variable actually has an effect, while the other would not receive this treatment.

Both types of educational research reap the benefits of helping educators better understand their students and learn new practices that have been proven to be beneficial to students.