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Making Sense of Research: What’s Good, What’s Not, and How to Tell the Difference

Making Sense of Research: What’s Good, What’s Not, and How to Tell the Difference

Elaine K. McEwan & Patrick J. McEwan


Corwin Publishers


Making Sense of Research is designed to help educators, both classroom teachers and administrators, to better understand, examine and use educational research to their advantage. Understanding how to use research findings allows educators to improve their practices or make school and board wide decisions to increase student achievement. Ideally, readers also gain confidence, through the book, on how to carry out their own real life research projects to evaluate and be accountable for the effectiveness of their practices on their students’ learning.


The EBP Project uses Making Sense of Research as one of its core textbooks, applying its five critical questions as a framework for organising educators’ learning around the critical examination of available research in education. In order to support teachers to improve their practices through research, they work through the five critical questions: The causal question: does it work? The process question: how does it work? The cost question: is it worthwhile? The usability question: will it work for me? The evaluation question: is it working for me? As part of ongoing professional learning for the EBP’s Lead Data Team (LDT) on critical evaluation of educational research and its applications, members are asked to read Making Sense of Research, paying particular attention to the method chapter - Does it work?


While this book is predominantly theoretical in its attempt to familiarise readers with the five critical questions used to examine research, it offers a plethora of real-life education related examples of using and examining research. It is a useful book to work through in phases to support a group of educators to become more comfortable with incorporating research into their planning and teaching practice.

Related: An In-Depth Analysis: Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research & Its Applications  - Seminar 20

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Lead Data Team Members