Research Critique

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Please choose one of the following research studies to critique:

  • What are the issues?
  • What could or should be done differently?

You should use Chapter 1 in E/K to help you identify different kinds of research that you will find in the field of education, as well as the common criticisms. The studies are labeled “Research Study #1, 2, and 3”, and should be referred to as such in the discussion.

Answer within at least 3 or more paragraphs!

#1

There was a great deal of debate in the 1980’s about how much money the government should put into education. Various government officials offered evidence that educational quality is not linked to teacher salaries. One part of their evidence was that SAT scores for students in each of the 50 states did not appear to be related to teacher salaries. In fact, in several states where teacher salaries were higher, SAT scores were lower, indicating a trend opposite to what one might expect. Mississippi students, for example, had higher SAT scores, on average, than California students. Mississippi teachers, however, were among the lowest paid in the nation (much lower than California teachers). Some officials concluded that, based on this index, Mississippi schools are better than California schools and that teacher salaries have no bearing on student performance.

#2

A professor of several small classes wanted to find out some information about her students so she gave them a questionnaire on which they were asked a variety of questions about their self-concept and their personal relationships. The professor was also interested in doing some cross-cultural work and comparing her findings on American college students to findings on college students in other countries. So, she had her questionnaire translated into several other languages and then asked her colleagues in other countries to distribute the questionnaire to their own classes. When the results came back the professor found that students in other countries answered the questions differently from the American students. The professor concluded that students from other countries had very different feelings about their self-concepts and personal relationships than American students.

#3

A professor noticed that he was most aggressive towards his children after he had been doing tedious and boring work. This made him wonder if boredom caused aggression. To test this hypothesis he ran an experiment. General psychology students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions when they came into the lab. One group was instructed to read the same newspaper editorial 5 times over. This was the “boredom” condition. The other group was instructed to read 5 different newspaper editorials. This was the “intellectual stimulation” condition. After they had read the materials, each subject played a video game. The number of characters killed in the game served as the dependent variable. The professor found that students in the “boredom” condition killed more characters in the game than did students assigned to the “intellectual stimulation” condition. He concluded that boredom does indeed lead to aggression.

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