20 November 2023

Dear Teacher,

We are delighted to issue this email as part of our CROÍ Research Series, which aims to support a research culture in schools.

This edition highlights a selection of easy-to-read books from the Council’s eBook collection that have a practical approach to conducting research projects in education.

All eBooks referenced in this email are freely available to registered teachers via our online library.

To access the eBooks, log in to your My Registration account using the username and password for your My Registration portal and click on the ‘Online Library’ tile from the navigation screen.

Happy researching,

Carmel Kearns

Head of Teachers' Learning and Research

Undertaking Capstone Projects In Education
Authors: Jolanta Burke and Majella Dempsey

This book is aimed at undergraduate and Master's level students. It is a particularly helpful resource for student teachers in their final year who want to strengthen the connection between the knowledge they gain in in their initial teacher education programme and their professional practice. Specifically written for the field of education, this book is very user-friendly and introduces capstone projects as a way of enchancing evidence-based education. The authors work to demystify common research concepts and also help the reader to develop reflective and critical-thinking tools that help the reader join the dots between their studies and their practice. The authors walk the reader through choosing a topic, carrying out a project and creative ways to present findings. This book is a playful and enjoyable read while also being informative and well structured. It is an excellent handbook for any final year student teacher researcher.

Qualitative Research
A Guide to Design and Implementation
Authors: Sharan B Merriam, Elizabeth J. Tisdell

Qualitative Research is aimed at inexperienced and experienced researchers. It has a practical focus but touches on the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of qualitative research and is divided into three parts; designing qualitative research projects, collecting qualitative data, and analysing and reporting qualitative data. The authors' field of practice is adult education, and the authors bring the reader through different approaches to qualitative research including ethnography, grounded theory, narrative inquiry and phenomenology. They also introduce action research, mixed method research, critical research and arts-based research. The book includes very useful sections about how to set up your research with a clearly defined problem statement. It also includes a useful appendix with a template outline of how to structure a methodology chapter/research proposal.

Enhancing Practice through Classroom Research
A Teacher’s Guide to Professional Development
Authors: Caitríona McDonagh, Mary Roche, Bernie Sullivan and Máirín Glenn

This is the second edition of a book that provides an introduction to a self-study action research as an approach for classroom teachers. A step-by-step approach helps the reader to identify an area of professional concern or interest, explore their educational values, develop a better understanding of and think critically about their educational practice. The book includes a chapter dedicated to promoting professional wellbeing through self-study action research and critical reflection. The authors share a personal story of how being a teacher-researcher led to professional wellbeing and the potential for action research to reduce stress and risk of burnout. They link action research and critical reflection and indicate that through reflecting on their practice as they engage in their research, teachers experience a sense of empowerment and feel they are more in control of their own professional development. 

Practical Research Methods in Education
Author: Edited by Mike Lambert

This edited collection is specifically aimed at helping education researchers at any level choose suitable methods for their research. Each chapter focuses on one research method in detail and then analyses the authors’ own use of it in their research. Common methods such as questionnaires and interviews are covered, but this book also includes other lesser utilised methods such as observation (where participants show their beliefs, perspectives, abilities and understanding in how they react in certain situations), video data, document analysis (to reveal dominant but hidden discourses), and mosaic participatory research in the early years, amongst others. One chapter is dedicated to the challenges of involving children in research and associated ethical considerations. The importance of strong decision-making at all research stages is a strong theme in this book.

Ethics and Education Research
Authors: Rachel Brooks, Kitty te Riele and Meg Maguire

The authors illustrate some of the ethical dilemmas commonly encountered by the education researcher, whether they are a student embarking on a research project for the first time, or a more experienced researcher. They use vignettes as points of entry to various ethical debates and provide an overview of ethical issues associated with conducting research in education. The book particularly focuses on conducting research alongside professional practice. The authors explore ethical issues at each stage of a research project, highlighting how ethics needs to inform all actions as education researchers. They talk about specific ethical issues in relation to educational settings and show how ethics and research methods are linked. Significantly, they consider ethical research practice to be not just about the relationship and interaction with participants but also about the quality of research produced and ethical implications for the education community and greater public. The main principles underpinning ethical guidance (harm prevention, respect, reciprocity and equity) are discussed as are the regulatory and legal contexts in which educational research occurs.

Literature Review and Research Design
Author: Dave Harris

Literature Review and Research Design is written by a writing coach. The goal of the book is to help the reader understand how literature supports and brings out a reseacher’s own voice. This book contains a chapter specifically on writing a literature review but it also helps the reader to use literature effectively in designing and completing a research project at all stages. The author frames literature review as a research practice and approaching academic research as a conversation between scholars, a process of gathering ideas from literature and challenging and critiquing them. This practice, the author indicates, leads to the development of the reader’s voice as a researcher. Each chapter ends with a quick exercise to help the reader improve their skill and ability as a writer. Utlimately the book frames research as storytelling with the book itself written in a storytelling mode which helps to demystify some of the traditional steps in research projects. 

The Teacher's Guide to Research: Engaging With, Applying and Conducting Research in the Classroom 
Author: Jonathan Firth

This book brings teacher research to life and highlights the relevance and value of research for the classroom teacher. As a teacher himself, Firth clearly has great respect for the professionalism of teachers and sees research engagement as central to teachers' professional growth. The book, divided into three main parts; (i) research for the teacher (ii) the teacher as researcher and (iii) the networked teacher researcher, offers insights for the teacher who is interested in reading and learning from research, the teacher who would like to research his/her own practice and the teacher who would like to share his/her research and collaborate with others on research projects. This is a very accessible, practical introduction to teacher research. It is written with an appreciation of daily classroom realities and offers a pragmatic approach to classroom research. 

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