A guide to reading research papers

Many helpful tips on checking quality of papers which express many of my findings from the last 6 months of completing my MSc.

Filling the pail

It can be hard to make sense of an education research paper and there are certainly those who think teachers shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about them. Yet if we intend to claim our profession back from quixotic consultants then it’s something that more of us need to do.

There are plenty of dense papers written that aim to show that the curriculum is neoliberal or that tests are phallic. There are also many studies that seek to find correlations. I’m not going to discuss these here. Instead, I am going to look at experimental research.

Experiments offer us the chance of us making meaningful inferences – although it’s only a chance. Experiments need to compare a particular approach with an alternative. For instance, one group of students might be taught maths in the morning and the other in the afternoon. You can then judge the difference that this…

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