As Albert Einstein once remarked: “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”
When I Think About Research…..
When I think about research and this class, I feel like a caterpillar. I have gone through many phases as I struggled through the research process. My insights are numerous. This class has broaden and increased my own discipline. Professionally, I feel grounded, prepared, and capable to share, demonstrate, and prove many unanswered research questions pertaining to early childhood education. I have an understanding that all research needs to be theoretically grounded, well designed, methodically analysed, feasible, ethically fair and just (Mac Naughton, Rolfe, & Siraj-Blatchford, 2010).
I did not have any preconceived jdeas concerning research. I wanted to grasp all new concepts, ideas, issues, questions, and draw as many valid conclusions possible though research to advance early childhood education. Research must go through a process and answer important questions about early childhood education to become valid. Researchers must be great planners and designers. The following list is essential to complete a research study:
- select a topic
- review literature
- formulated a research issue/question
- design research
- collect data
- sample population
- explore validity
- analyse data
- draw research conclusion (Mac Naughton, Rolfe, & Siraj-Blatchford, 2010).
My greatest challenges were creating a hypothesis, distinguishing between a dependent and independent variables, and validity/biases in the research process. My professor was a great asset in critiquing my applications. I read her notes numerous times. I kept in mind the definition of a hypothesis and the following factors.
A hypothesis should always:
- explain what you expect to happen
- be clear and understandable
- be testable
- be measurable
- contain an independent and dependent variable
Bias is defined as “the combination of various design, data, analysis, and presentation factors that tend to produce research findings when they should not be produced.” “Bias is a form of systematic error, and there are innumerable causes (Sica, (2010). The causes of bias can be related to the manner in which study subjects are chosen, the method in which study variables are collected or measured, the attitudes or preferences of an investigator, and the lack of control of confounding variables… in epidemiologic terms bias can lead to incorrect estimates of association, or, more simply, the observed study results will tend to be in error and different from the true result (Ioannidis, (2010). Some bias in research arises from experimental error; however, research biases tend to arise when researchers select subjects purposefully’
Professionally I must continue to enrich my knowledge and increase my sense of professionalism over the course of my career so as to implement current research based practices. Relative to early care and education, NAEYC emphasizes that through advance research, committed, and competent early childhood professionals that young children and their families experience the excellent curriculum, the appropriate teaching strategies, the thoughtful assessment practices, the supportive services, and the effective public policies only analyze data that is more likely to generate the results they desire. The need for advance research in early childhood education is universal. I will continue to research complex questions for educational advancement. I am at the end of the research course and the caterpillar at the beginning is now a butterfly, ready to spread my wings in numerous directions through advance research for special needs students. Wish me luck!
(Mac Naughton, Rolfe, & Siraj-Blatchford (2010). Doing early childhood research. McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2nd Edition.
Sica, G. (2010). “Bias in Research Studies.” Radiology. 238. (2006): 780-789