Special issue on Journal Review of Education – Using multiple methods to investigate complex educational issue

Research methodology is a significant topic in education research, especially the use of multiple methods for exploring complex situations.  British Education Research Association (BERA) has published a special issue on the journal Review of Education to showcase the latest research innovations and progresses in education research methods.

This special issue covers a collection of individual studies which have used multiple research methods in interesting and creative ways. On the basis of creating balance of topics and approaches, the current special issue selected four papers which offer researchers insights into a range of educational issues:

  • The first paper synthesise the findings of international studies of randomised control trials using three methods of synthesis (meta‐analysis, meta‐regression and comparative analysis) to explore the effectiveness of school‐based interventions in improving outcomes for children with ADHD. It is a detailed review of the key components within interventions that are particularly beneficial for academic outcomes.
  • The second paper investigates teachers’ participation and engagement in professional development utilising the combination of an experimental design with a process evaluation involving in‐depth case studies, cross‐case analysis and the application of theories of capital and systems to interpret the findings. The study draws attention to the variation across schools in their engagement with maths interventions, highlighting the role of the school in England, and education policy in understanding how schools can contribute to generating research evidence.
  • The third paper discusses the role of implementation paths, causal mechanisms, the context of interventions, and the need to consider issues of complexity. Using examples from two EEF evaluations, the authors present an evidence‐informed logic model approach designed to deal with these issues.
  • The fourth paper addresses the issues of inspiring teaching and inspirational teachers using a combination of teacher interviews, student survey, systematic classroom observations, detailed classroom observational notes detailing the structure, organisation and flow of the lesson, lesson activities, teacher‐student interactions and the classroom climate. Additionally, there is feedback from head‐teachers and teachers about the important attributes of inspiring teachers. Although the individual approaches used here are not new, the use of multiple observation instruments to collect data from different perspectives and the way these results are synthesised provide a good example of how common observational approaches can be used effectively.

Due to limited space in current special issue, a further five Special Issue papers covering the same theme will be published in 2019. For more information, please visit https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/rev3.3155?hootPostID=c445dc5a4a59277ea9b122ead4868302

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