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FQAS: Teaching Methods Research and Curated Readings

Research, resources, and curated readings on various teaching-related topics. Guide designed to support Western's FQAS participants.

Using Research in Educational Practice

The resources in this guide focus on previously published research to inform and guide educator practice. Great instructors and teachers do research routinely and intentionally, whether by scouring education databases for published articles or conducting action research in the classroom, reflecting on the results, and adjusting practice accordingly.

Consider these excerpts from Stanovich, P.J. and K.E.Stanovich (2003). "Using Research and Reason in Education: How Teachers Can Use Scientifically Based Research to Make Curricular & Instructional Decisions." Emphases added.

"Effective teachers engage in scientific thinking in their classrooms in a variety of ways: when they assess and evaluate student performance, develop Individual Education Plans (IEPs) for their students with disabilities, reflect on their practice, or engage in action research. For example, consider the assessment and evaluation activities in which teachers engage. The scientific mechanisms of systematic empiricism--iterative testing of hypotheses that are revised after the collection of data--can be seen when teachers plan for instruction: they evaluate their students' previous knowledge, develop hypotheses about the best methods for attaining lesson objectives, develop a teaching plan based on those hypotheses, observe the results, and base further instruction on the evidence collected.


Teachers, like scientists, are ruthless pragmatists (Gersten & Dimino, 2001; Gersten, Chard, & Baker, 2000). They believe that some explanations and methods are better than others. They think there is a real world out there--a world in flux, obviously--but still one that is trackable by triangulating observations and observers. They believe that there are valid, if fallible, ways of finding out which educational practices are best. Teachers believe in a world that is predictable and controllable by manipulations that they use in their professional practice, just as scientists do. Researchers and educators are kindred spirits in their approach to knowledge, an important fact that can be used to forge a coalition to bring hard-won research knowledge to light in the classroom."

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