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An In-Depth Analysis: Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research & Its Applications 2

An In-Depth Analysis: Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research & Its Applications 2


Overall learning goal

Based on the learning outcomes of the last seven years where team members focused on data literacy, data-driven decision–making and collaborative inquiry, and the approach to ‘stay ahead of the curve’, this year’s topic is Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research and Its Applications: A One Year Cycle.

The aim of this year’s topic is for Lead Data Team (LDT) members to become confident consumers of research by developing healthy skepticism and adapting findings into practice. The one year cycle of seminars aims to support school board teams’ ability to implement evidence-based teaching and learning across their schools.

The overall learning goal for seminar 20 is for participants to develop a critical and deeper understanding of how to evaluate research.


The overall learning goal for seminar 20 is for participants to develop a critical and deeper understanding of how to evaluate research. Participants are guided through six collaborative activities, allowing them to conduct a more in-depth analysis of the available research in education. As a result, participants will achieve the three learning intentions detailed in the seminar.  These are to:

  1. Find out what the research really says - What is good research? What is the difference between research and evaluation?

  2. Develop & maintain a healthy skepticism - Understanding critical thinking: What does it mean to be critical? What is thinking and looking at research?

  3. Become a confident consumer of educational research - Consider your role in its application, what does it look like in the classroom? How do you use research-based practice?

Throughout the two days, participants gain a better understanding of quality educational research and explore a number of research based concepts and terms. Once participants have taken a critical look at the literature and have established an understanding of what constitutes a solid evidence base, they explore strategies used in their own settings. The focus for the latter part of the seminar is to gain experience in critically examining the efficacy of strategies used in classrooms.

Instructional design

Warm up

Each participant shares a random fact about themselves to get acquainted.


In order to develop their own leadership capacities in supporting school teams to use evidence-based practices to improve teaching and learning, LDT members take a critical look at research based strategies and their applications.  The facilitator breaks the title down to explore the three learning intentions in more detail - examining what we know about research.

Activity 1 - quick reads

Establishing a knowledge basis about accessing research; critical thinking.

Activity 1 - quick reads: Read two or three articles and feedback what the research says & make connections to practice.

Activity 2 - concept maps

What is research? Concepts & terms, including causal studies. Becoming confident consumers by understanding statistics.

Activity 2 - concept maps: In groups, list all strategies used in participants’ school board to improve student achievement.


Examining research behind teaching strategies & interventions to increase achievement - questioning the application of research as confident consumers.

Activity 3 -activating knowledge

Activity 3 -activating knowledge:  Two minute feedback on notes from their chosen chapter. Book: Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW)

Activity 4 - digging into the research:

Activity 4 - digging into the research: Does it work?: in groups based on the book chapter read, participants examine the meta-analysis provided, summarise the strategy, read the background research (McRel Study – 2010) and share conclusions & recommendations about its use.

Activity 4 - triangulation of information; databases

Activity 4 - triangulation of information; databases: Participants explore the different research databases (links provided) to see what other information they could find to validate the efficacy of the strategies featured in CITW.

Activity 5 - Application

Activity 5 - Application - how to advise teachers:In groups, participants synthesize the information gathered about the strategy covered in their chapter, feedback & take questions.  The group decides which strategies have the most solid research base to prove efficacy.


The three learning intentions are revisited - 1) Research says, 2) Healthy skepticism, 3) Application - consumer of research.

The five key questions to consider when implementing strategies in school are highlighted - 1) Does it work? 2) How does it work? 3) How much does it cost? 4) Will it work for me? 5) Is it working for me?

Looking ahead

The next seminar will look at ‘How does it work?’


1) Spend 5% of your time learning about an issue, 2) Read Making sense of research (book gifted to participants at seminar), 3) Read method chapter ‘Does it work and how?’


Exit cards - Participants are asked to record their’ take away’ or ‘aha’ moment and what they will put into practice, along with feedback on the seminar itself.