By Mary Walton
An essential part of any educator’s job is furthering their own knowledge of the profession.
After all, if you don’t keep your own knowledge updated, you can’t give 100% to the students you work with. However, how do you know where to start? How do you find the time to actually start a research project, and what do you do?
Here are ten of the best resources for research and improving researching skills.
1. National Foundation for Educational Research: This UK-based research center brings out an educational journal, based on bringing evidence to educators. Recently, they’ve covered analysis of primary school performance, the idea of the executive headteacher, and what teachers are looking for to improve their teaching performance. It covers all the current news in the world of education, so when you read it, you’re keeping yourself informed as to what’s happening in your profession. It’s a resource you can keep up with as it’s published, keeping you up to date.
2. National Writing Project: If you’re looking to improve the reading and writing skills of your students, this resource can help you out. Banded together by several universities and other institutes of learning, the National Writing Project aims to allow all students to actively engage with each other through the written word. They share further resources that can give you ideas on how to make writing exciting and engaging in your school.
3. American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group: The key to good research is interaction with other researchers. This resource puts you in touch with other educators from all over the country. Become a member of the site, and you can contribute to research that’s happening right now. Share your research with them, and get suggestions and assistance in return. You’ll develop new skills and forge contacts with educators, which are both essential to your professional development.
4. National Louis University Center For Practitioner Research: This resource encourages collaborative research, believing that it’s essential to the growth of educators everywhere. They have a wide array of resources on offer, including an online journal and research resources. They also organise researcher events, so you can sign up and network with other educators in person. It’s one of the quickest ways to develop new ideas and techniques.
5. Research Guide: Finding time to do research can feel impossible for almost any educator. Your day is so full of other highly important tasks that it feels as though research should just have to wait. The writers here recommend that as a researcher, you should concentrate your efforts on online resources. This way, you reduce the legwork you have to do and find more information, quickly. This resource helps you out in narrowing down where you should be looking for information. It recommends using online informational databases, and online journals.
6. Classroom Action Research: You may want to start conducting research in your own classroom, in order to provide data and information to other educators. However, it can be difficult to know where to start. This database can answer any of your questions. It provides explanations of concepts such as action planning, guidelines for every stage of research and even provides models you can use when you’re starting out. This resource means you’ll have all of these things at hand, so you can get started quickly without spending time on the fine details.
7. Self-Study Teacher Research: An important part of teaching doesn’t require you to be there at all. To succeed, your students need to learn how to study and conduct research for themselves. These resources will walk your students through the entire process, no matter what kind of project they need to investigate. It explains exactly why they need to be proficient in self-study, and takes them through a step by step process. You can direct your students here yourself, or you can use its resources in your teaching.
8. Education Endowment Foundation: One of the most important things you need to address in your career is student attainment. Pupils need to improve at a steady rate throughout their entire schooling career, and it’s up to you to make sure that happens. If you’re looking for information on student attainment, this site will help you out. It contains resources, independent research and ideas on how to improve attainment in your classroom and school at large. It’s really helpful if you’re looking to help the students who are lagging behind.
9. ERIC Institute of Educational Sciences: If you’re conducting a study or research of your own, you’ll always need to start with some evidence to base your hypothesis on. This database contains hundreds of journals in almost any topic you can imagine, so you can get started. Simply put your topic into its search engine, and it’ll return everything it has on the subject. You can narrow your search by publication date, specific journals, and more. There’s also a thesaurus search, giving you alternative phrases for your subject. This is helpful when you’re searching databases for your subject, and coming up with little.
10. CUREE: The creators of this resource understand that you don’t really have the time to wade through academic papers to get the information you need. They take academic research and create interactive tools and sites to help you get the most from what they discovered. You can also use these resources in your everyday teaching. They also investigate government initiatives, seeing if they’re effective and looking for ways to improve them. If you find academic journals to be too dry or cumbersome, this site will help you get the most important points from them and put them into practice in your teaching.
These are just a few of the tools that are out there to help you improve your researching skills. Once you know where to start looking, you can start developing as an educator, and your students will feel the benefit of your expanded knowledge.
For more, see:
Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update.