Inquiry template

Please use the headings below. You may find it helpful to paste the text below into the text editor. If you do, please delete the italicised prompts once you have addressed them. Try to keep the word count to around 1000 words. If you wish to add documents (raw data, field notes, appendices etc), you can do so using the ‘Add Media’ button above the text editor. You will find the ‘featured image’ panel in the bottom right hand corner of the text editor page. 

Context:

  • What area do you work in?
  • What problems do you encounter?
  • What does the research say about this problem?

Introduction:

  • Introduce the idea for the research.
  • Discuss the context. Where do you work, what problems do you encounter. There is no need to provide specific details of school names etc – indeed is is preferable not to. Please refer to the ‘ethics’ tab.
  • Outline the scope of the study: how many people does it involve, how old are they, what are their characteristics, how long is the study period etc.

Research question(s):

  • A good template for a research question is: “To what extent is _________ effective as a strategy for improving __________?” However, this may not always the most suitable format. For example, you may simply wish to understand a phenomenon in more detail – e.g. “Why do year 11 AG&T boys struggle to revise effectively for Science exams?” Such an exploratory question my lead to a “to what extent…” type question further down the line.
  • A checklist for a good research question includes:
    • Are your terms well-defined? If your research question includes broad terms like “resilience”, “retention” or “engagement” – what do you mean by this? How can this be measured?
    • Does your research question specify the thing you will change/examine, AND the outcome you will measure (as with the “to what extent…” question frame above)? This format might not be suited to your inquiry, but input/output is a useful concept to bear in mind.
    • Can your research question realistically be answered within the allotted timeframe?
    • What kinds of data will you need to collect in order to answer your research question? (Naturally occurring data, e.g. test scores, behaviour points? Elicited data, e.g. questionnaire responses, interview data? Will you collect a combination of !)
    • Is this realistic, given the time frame?
    • Does your research question specify which students you intend to study? (How many students? Recommend no more than 6)
    • Look again at your research question. Discuss it with someone. Have you made your research question as specific as possible? Vague/broad questions are interesting to discuss, but in research they lead nowhere. A sharp, well-defined research question will make your research manageable and meaningful!

Research method(s):

  • What aspect of your practice are you going to evaluate the impact of?
  • What kinds of data do you need to collect in order to answer your research question?
  • How will you collect this data? Will you use “naturally occurring” data (e.g. test scores, behaviour points), or “elicited” data (e.g. questionnaires, interviews). Will you use a combination of methods perhaps?

Results and discussion:

  • Summarise your findings – you can upload attachments of raw data, field notes etc if you wish.
  • You may wish to consider including a table of results, or a graph. If so, please create it in Word/Excel or similar, and import it as an image using the ‘Add Media’ button.

Conclusions:

  • What conclusions can you draw from your data?
  • What can these data not tell you?
  • Be clear about the limitations of your research. 

Evaluation:

  • How did your inquiry go? 
  • Strengths? Areas for improvement?
  • Did you find out what you wanted to find out?
  • Did you find anything surprising?
  • What would you do differently if you did it again?
  • Next steps/recommendations for future research in this area?

References:

  • Please provide citations – preferably with links – for any works mentioned above.