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Good Research, October 16, 2014

Good Research
Nicole D. Porter
Benerd School of Education, University of the Pacific

Applied Inquiry I: EDU 352


Instructor: Dr. Ronald Hallett

GOOD RESEARCH: A NOVICE PERSPECTIVE

Introduction
The beginning of this journey began with Dr. Hallett asking a simple but complex
question, What is good research? Initially, I thought I had an answer until he challenged my
definition with articles about research. I began to highlight and write and rewrite what I thought
a clear and concise definition should include based on my newly acquired knowledge as a
doctoral student and experience as an educator. It was necessary to make a shift from not only
being an educator, but also a researcher, Labaree (2003). This was a mindset change from
reading for content only to include identifying and defending good research.
I have developed an emerging definition. Good research is well-organized to allow the
reader to find and follow the topic for understanding and reflection; defines the purpose of the
study while maintaining ethical responsibility to the community and the field (Hostetler, 2010);
and informs the reader of challenges and successes of the study to enhance a field to better the
lives of others (Hostetler, 2010). Utilizing the levels of mastery from the science fiction movie,
Star Wars, Linda Darling-Hammond is the expert or my Jedi Master and as I learn as a Padiwan
or apprentice. I hope to study her ways of the Force to emulate and prepare good research. I will
be defending my definition by using the article, Does Teacher Preparation Matter? Evidence
about Teacher Certification, Teach for America, and Teacher Effectiveness by Linda DarlingHammond, Debora J. Holtzman, Su Jin Gatlin, and Julian Vasquez Heilig (2005).
Organized Format
Darling-Hammond et al. (2005) created an article that is organized with six main
headings (Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and References) and several subheadings
to keep the reader focused on the topic being presented while decreasing confusion and location
of information. For example within Methods, the subheading The Data Set describes in detail

GOOD RESEARCH: A NOVICE PERSPECTIVE

how, who, when, and where the data was gathered in relation to the study of teacher effectiveness
and student achievement. The headings and subheadings also allow the reader to reference this
body of work for further review. Darling-Hammond et al. (2005) also provided tables and graphs
to explain results and defend their findings by giving validity to the methods discussed while
providing information to replicate or encourage additional studies. Feuer, M et al., (2011)
Defines
Darling-Hammond et al. (2005) start with providing a clear and concise abstract which
summarizes the purpose and current trend in regards to teacher effectiveness, certification, and
education; describes the link between current trends and student achievement; provides
information about the method of data collection; highlights programs or policies that relate to the
topic; and provides reflection for next steps. This well-written summary frontloads the reader
with the information to examine, compare and contrast further research student achievement.
The Introduction reflects on the current issue and policies of teacher education and teacher
effectiveness. The writers referenced previous studies and current events as well as teacher
education programs (e.g., Teach for America) to provide a foundation and to set the purpose of
the study. The purpose was clear in addressing the question of how teacher preparation and
certification influence teacher effectiveness for both traditional and non-traditional trained
teachers. The Methods provide the reader a framework of how the data was collected as well as
the process in deciding the variables to collect data.
Careful considerations were explained in regards to the type of assessments to capture
student achievement; comparison of certified teachers to non-certified teachers; policies and
procedures in putting teachers in high need areas; and benefits and challenges in non-traditional
teaching preparation programs. This disclosure by the writers displayed an ethical commitment

GOOD RESEARCH: A NOVICE PERSPECTIVE

to the field of education through not only gathering but displaying the information in a way that
would benefit others in the future. The writers also made the information transparent in regards
to their thought process when choosing which data to keep and how to address other variables
that may affect student achievement (i.e. socioeconomic status). The Method also included the
timeframe of the study, which provided a realistic lens to the reader and displayed the
commitment by the writers to accurately reflect the depth of information presented in the study.
The next section, Results, displayed the information gathered in two ways: tables and colored bar
graphs. The reader could easily see the written information and use the tables or graphs to further
understand the results. Darling-Hammond et al. (2005) seem to understand this and include both
to allow the reader to understand the information regardless of the preferences and also a way to
break of the writing to digest the information in chunks without becoming overwhelmed or
intimidated by how the writer presents the research.
Informs
Throughout this article, the writers organized and defined the themes to allow the reader
to understand the foundation, method and results in an easy to follow format and then concluded
with the Discussion section.
This section validated their question and enhanced the field of education by exploring the
importance of teacher training, supervision, mentoring, recruitment and retention for all teacher
certification programs. For example, Hammond-Darling et al. (2005) enlighten the reader with
information about teacher preparation in Houston, Texas; share successes and challenges with
traditional and non-traditional teacher preparation programs; and recruitment and ongoing
teacher development. As the writers state, the students have only one opportunity to experience
second grade, and cannot afford to lose ground in acquiring basic skills even for a single year.

GOOD RESEARCH: A NOVICE PERSPECTIVE

The writers also challenged the reader to develop and expand the reach of strong, efficient and
affordable preparation routes that enable teachers to be competent when they enter teaching and
that retain teachers as they become more effective. This is the call to action by the writers in
hopes of further studies, but I also believe that it is a blueprint to producing change in the way
we look and view teacher education to benefit our first and most important consumerthe
student.
Conclusion
Darling-Hammond et al. (2005) met and exceeded my definition of good research.
This journal article was well organized to allow the reader to find and follow the topic for
understanding and reflection; defines the purpose of the study while maintaining ethical
responsibility to the community and the field, Hostetler (2010); and informs the reader of
challenges and successes of the study to enhance the lives of others, Hostetler, K (2010). The
writers style and attention to detail left me wanting to read additional journals as well as texts to
inspire my colleagues and begin to effect change on a higher level.
Darling-Hammonds style and overall presentation of information keeps me engaged in
the topic and thinking about questions that need to be asked in order to further the discussion.
When reading the study I could visually conceptualize the study and identify the variables
necessary to digest the information and reach the same conclusion as the writers. I also liked that
there wasnt difficult or academic vocabulary which could make this journal appeal to a wide
range of fields and professionals. Lastly, I appreciated the authors voice because it felt more like
a conversation than a research journal. I have only read a few articles by Linda DarlingHammond but she inspires me to do. She easily identifies the problem, purpose, method,
result and presents a call to action to benefit the field of education. I have always been

GOOD RESEARCH: A NOVICE PERSPECTIVE

passionate about teacher education and as a child development adjunct faculty, I have an
obligation to prepare and present relevant content to my students as they are working with
typical and atypical developing populations. I wanted to teach because I felt that educators were
not getting what they needed in the classroom to become competent practitioners and hopefully
experts of the field. This article and project of defining good research inspires me to understand
and examine other variables in regards to student achievement, i.e. socioeconomic status,
language acquisition, community, school and home environment, ethnicity, availability of
resources, and ongoing teacher preparation and development. As a novice to good research, I
hope to one day graduate from a Padiwan to a Jedi Master capable and strong enough in the
Force to produce good research.

GOOD RESEARCH: A NOVICE PERSPECTIVE

References
Darling-Hammond, L & et.al (2005). Does Teacher Preparation Matter? Evidence about Teacher
Certification, Teach for America, and Teacher Effectiveness. Education Policy Analysis
Archives, Pages 1-24

Feuer, M., Towne, L., Shavelson, J. (2002) Scientific Culture and Educational Research.
Educational Researcher, Pages 4-14

Hostetler, K. (2005). What is Good Education Research? Educational Researcher, Pages 16-21

Labaree, D. F. (2003). The peculiar problems of preparing education researchers. Educational


Researcher, Pages 13-22.