This essays explains how educational research is a necessity and not a luxury According to Whitney, â€•Educational Research aims at finding out solution of educational problems by using scientific philosophical method. As cited in Educational Research, university of Mumbai. Emperical research can provide information for making judgements in educational research. Empirical research is defined as research based on observed and measured phenomena. Education in research has grown out of its infancy stage and taken wider perceptions .Large amounts of funding has been coming into educational research which shows its importance .
The nature of educational research is analogous with the nature of research itself, which is systematic, reliable and valid to find the "truth", investigates knowledge, and solves problems (William Wiersma, 1991) cited in (The Nature and Characteristics of Educational Research, Posted April 12, 2008 by yulirahmawati in Kuliah, Research Method. Educational research)process involves steps to collect the information in order to investigate problems and to acquire knowledge. Educational research is complex because it uses various approaches and strategies to solve problems in educational setting. It also can involve many disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, behavior, and history. In addition, educational research is important because it contributes to knowledge development, practical improvement, and policy information (John.W.Creswell, 2005). Therefore, educators can use those research findings to improve their competences and teaching and learning process.
According to Gary Anderson (1998), there are several characteristics of educational research. It can be classified into three categories, which are the purpose of research, the procedures of research, and the role of researcher. The purposes of research are to solve the problems, investigate knowledge, and establish the principles in educational phenomena. In short, it can be described as focusing on solving the problems and developing knowledge. The procedure in which the research is done is an important characteristic of educational research, which involves collecting data accurately, interpretation, and verification. There should be researcher's expertise and familiarity with their field of study. They must be able to use the data to develop solutions and increase their cognitive skills.
Educational research is not simply about institutions and teachers, it is also about learning at fundamental level, role of education in the society and culture in learning and about the interrelations among all these factors research findings in education is an important way of professional development .There are teachers and policy makers who make use of theoretically based research to achieve greater understanding which benefit their practice as well as contribute to knowledge. Interest in educational research has vastly increased in recent years .It is now realised that research is necessary in order to provide a basis for educational planning and to assess the effects of such planning(The Irish Journal of Education,1967,I,1,p 5.The role of research in Education )
Educational Research is highly purposeful and important to the society because it deals with problems and developments relating to teaching, curriculum and students. It is objective because the researcher looks at the problem in his /her point of view .It attempts to organize data quantitatively and qualitatively to arrive at statistical inferences. Educational research is basically built on philosophical theory. Being scientific study of educational process, it involves: individuals (Student, teachers, educational managers, parents.) - Institutions (Schools, colleges, research - institutes) It discovers facts and relationship in order to make educational process more effective. It relates social sciences like education. It includes process like investigation, planning (design) collecting data, processing of data, their analysis, interpretation and drawing inferences. It covers areas from formal education and conformal education as well.(university of Mumbai ,EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH)
When undertaking educational research, it is important to consider different research paradigms and matters of ontology and epistemology. Since these parameters describe perceptions, beliefs, assumptions and the nature of reality and truth (knowledge of that reality), these factors can influence the way in which the research is undertaken, from design through to conclusions, and it is therefore important to understand and discuss the aspects in order that it is approached in agreement to the nature and aims of the particular inquiry which is adopted, and to ensure that researcher understands the biases are exposed, and minimised. There must be to ensure caution is taken about all the inherent preferences that are likely to shape the research designs, Blaikie (2000) describes these aspects as part of a series of choices that the researcher must consider and he shows the alignment that must connect these choices back to the original Research Problem. If this is not achieved, methods incompatible with the researcher's stance may be adopted, with the result that the final work will be undermined through lack of coherence.
Education and philosophy, the two disciplines, are very closely related and in some areas they overlap each other. It is quite often said that philosophy and education are two sides of a coin. Education is the dynamic side of philosophy. It is the active aspect and the practical means of realising the ideas of life(Anika Sharma,2012,Relationship between education and philosophy). Although the "educational implication" is usually perceived as moving from philosophy to education, it also goes the other way round. We often try to find the philosophical presuppositions of an educational research .The philosophical presuppositions of an educational research are the same as the philosophical presuppositions of the prescriptions approving the action as described; the presuppositions are statements which stand in consideration in an educational context in implications yielding educational decisions and conclusions. Finding the philosophical presuppositions of an educational research can be compared to finding the scientific explanations of an empirical phenomenon, while using deductive reasoning to arrive at empirical predictions from a scientific theory. The question whether explanation and prediction are structurally identical (except for the time factor) is parallel to the question whether philosophical presuppositions and educational implications are identified by means of identical logical structures.( http://www.angelfire.com/planet/conklinpubsbeforehaw/ProprtsRelevanceEdThry1968.pdf)
Educational research plays a very important role when it comes to the issue of what should be taught to students at different levels of education. In this point it can break down all the arguments against its use. This issue of curriculum content is a very fundamental aspect, and it is remarkably a very difficult one with which to engage in close fight.. When tackling these kind of issues, care needs to be taken to distinguish between education and schooling-for although education can occur in schools, so can mis-education (as Dewey pointed out), and many more things take place. And it also must be noticed that education can occur at home, in libraries and museums, in churches and clubs, in solitary interaction with the public media, and the many more places.
Research is very essential in developing a curriculum in a specific to a subject area, or more broadly as the whole range in an educational institution or in a system) difficult decisions need to be made. Issues such as placing the topics and contexts in the chosen subject, the time allocated for each topic. The practical work that is appropriate for particular topics, can all be regarded as technical issues .It can be best resolved either by educationists who have extensive knowledge and experience with the target age group or by experts in the psychology of learning and the like. But there are more intrinsic issues, ones concerning the validity of the justifications that have been given for including particular subjects or topics in the curriculum of formal educational institutions.
The different justifications for particular parts of curriculum contents that have been put forward by philosophers and educational researchers . Plato's brilliant ideas and philosophies efforts to draw upon, explicitly or implicitly, the positions that the respective theorists hold about at least three sets of issues. First, the aims and functions of education , or alternatively, what constitutes the good life and human flourishing. These two formulations are related, for presumably our educational institutions should aim to equip individuals to pursue this good life.(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Published on June 2nd 2008) .If our view of human flourishing includes the capacity to think and act logically and controlling affairs, then the it could be understood that educational institutions-and their curricula-should aim to bring out, individuals who can act independently. This cannot be done, immediately. Lots of philosophical implications are being focused on this particular issue. One influential argument regarding this was developed by Paul Hirst, who argued that knowledge is essential for developing a conception of the good life, and then for pursuing it; and because that is what logical analysis shows He also argued that there are seven basic forms of knowledge, the case can be made that the function of the curriculum is to introduce students to each of these forms. Luckily for Hirst, the typical British high school day was made up of seven instructional periods. (Hirst, 1965as citied in Philips, 1987, ch.11.)
Second, is it justifiable that research should be involved to treat the curriculum of an educational institution as base for furthering the socio-political interests and goal. There is a requirement for research to design the curriculum so that it serves as a medium of control or of social engineering In the last few decades of the twentieth century there were numerous discussions of curriculum theory, particularly from Marxist and postmodern perspectives, that offered the sobering analysis that in many educational systems, including those in Western democracies, the curriculum did indeed reflect, and serve, the interests of the ruling class and not for the society as a whole. Research shows that knowledge that now students get in school is choice made already from a much larger universe of possible social knowledge and principles. It is a form of cultural capital that comes from somewhere, that often reflects the perspectives and beliefs of powerful segments of our social collectivity. In its very production and dissemination as a public and economic commodity-as books, films, materials, and so forth-it is repeatedly filtered through ideological and economic commitments. Social and economic values, hence, are already embedded in the design of the institutions we work in, in the 'formal corpus of school knowledge' we preserve in our curriculaâ€¦.(Apple, 1990, 8-9)
Third, research have to be conducted in educational programs at the elementary and secondary levels have to be made up of a number of disparate offerings, so that individuals with different interests and abilities and interest for learning can pursue curricula that are suitable to them or every student would pursue the same curriculum .A curriculum, should be noted, that in past cases it always was based on the needs or interests of those students who were academically inclined or were destined for elite social roles. Mortimer Adler and others in the late twentieth century (who arguably were following Plato's lead in the Republic), sometimes used the aphorism "the best education for the best is the best education for all".(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) The thinking here can be explicated in terms of the analogy of an out-of-control virulent disease, for which there is only one type of medicine available; taking a large dose of this medicine is extremely beneficial, and the hope is that taking only a little-while less effective-is better than taking none at all! Medically, this probably is dubious, while the educational version-forcing students to work, until they exit the system, on topics that do not interest them and for which they have no facility or motivation-has even less merit. (For a critique of Adler and his Paideia Proposal, see Noddings, 2007.) It is interesting to compare the modern "one curriculum track for all" position with Plato's system outlined in the Republic, according to which all students-and importantly this included girls-set out on the same course of study., As they move up the educational ladder it would become obvious that some had reached the limit imposed upon them by nature, and they would be directed off into appropriate social roles in which they would find fulfillment, for their abilities would match the demands of these roles. Those who continued on with their education would eventually be able to contemplate the metaphysical realm of the "forms", thanks to their advanced training in mathematics and philosophy. Having seen the form of the Good, they would be eligible after a period of practical experience to become members of the ruling class of Guardians.(Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
Plato's educational philosophy was guided, based on the understanding he thought he had achieved of the transcendental realm of fixed "forms". John Dewey, was a strong critic of positions that were not naturalistic, or that incorporated a priori premises,argued as follows:Plato's beginning point is that the organization of society depends ultimately upon knowledge of the end of existence. If we do not know its end, we shall be at the mercy of accident and capriceâ€¦. And only those who have rightly trained minds will be able to recognize the end, and ordering principle of things. (Dewey, 1916, 102-3)
Dewey as an opinion and put it as, Plato "had no perception of the uniqueness of individualsâ€¦. they fall by nature into classes", which masks the "infinite diversity of active tendencies" which individuals harbor (104). In addition, Plato tended to talk of learning using the passive language of seeing, which has shaped our discourse down to the present.
In contrast, for Dewey each individual was an organism situated in a biological and social environment in which problems were constantly emerging, forcing the individual to reflect and act, and learn. Dewey, following William James, held that knowledge arises from reflection upon our actions; and is directly correlated with the problem-solving success of the actions performed under its guidance.. All this is made clear enough in a passage containing only a thinly-veiled allusion to Plato's famous analogy of the prisoners in the cave whose eyes are turned to the light by education:
This passage highlights that: "philosophy is the theory of education" (387). It is easy to see the tight link between Dewey's epistemology and his views on education-his anti-epistemology theory directly into advocacy for anti-spectator learning by students in school-students learn by being active inquirers. Over the past few decades this view of learning has inspired a major tradition of research by educational psychologists, and related theory-development (the "situated cognition" framework); and these bodies of work have in turn led to innovative efforts in curriculum development. ( Phillips, 2003.)
The important difference with Plato is that, for Dewey, each student is an individual who blazes his or her unique trail of growth; the teacher has the task of guiding and facilitating this growth, without imposing a fixed end upon the process where reflections and research play an important part.. Dewey uses the term "curriculum" to mean "the funded wisdom of the human race".The point is that being over the course of human history an huge reserve of knowledge and skills has been accumulated and the teacher has the task of helping the student to make contact but helping by facilitating rather than by imposing. All this, has been the subject of intense discussion among philosophers of education:
A similar trend can be recognized with respect to the long time conflicts between two competing research methodologies, on one hand quantitative/statistical approaches to research, and on the other hand the qualitative/ethnographic family. The choice of both the methods is it's not entirely risk-free. The first approach is quite often associated with "experimental" studies. Qualitative methods are associated with "case studies". For several decades these two rival methodologies were given attention by researchers and philosophers of education. The two being rival paradigms .Kuhn's ideas, have been influential in the field of educational research, and the dispute between them was commonly referred-to as "the paradigm wars".
In essence the issue at stake was epistemological stances It was believed that quantitative/experimental methods could lead to well-warranted knowledge claims, especially about the causal factors at play in educational phenomena, and on the whole it was as regarded qualitative methods as lacking in rigor. On the other hand the views towards quantitative approach were that it was too "positivistic" and was operating with an inadequate view of causation in human affairs. It was also complained that it ignored the role of motives and reasons, possession of relevant background knowledge, awareness of cultural norms, and the like. But recently the trend has been towards establishment of harmonious relations between the two methodological families are, in fact, compatible and are not at all like paradigms in the Kuhnian sense(s) of the term; the melding of the two approaches is often called "mixed methods research", and it is growing in popularity.( Howe, 2003, and Phillips, 2008.)
Form the above philosophical assumptions ,presuppositions and justifications we can conclude the importance of research in the society .It is definitely not a luxury but very essential for the growth and development of the educational field which thrives on research . Research purifies educational systems .It also improves the quality of the curriculum and other aspects related to it. It is quest for growth of knowledge. It shows how to solve any problem scientifically. It is a careful enquiry through search for any kind of Knowledge. It is a journey from known to unknown. It is a systematic effort to gain new knowledge in any kind of discipline. (Educational research,university of Mumbai)