Designed Learning & Designing Learning

Evidence-based research & Replication: Back to Repeating things, Part 1 of 5

by Dr Gail Brown | February 6, 2022
Evidence-based research & Replication: Back to Repeating things, Part 1 of 5

Replication is about repeating previous research studies or interventions, to demonstrate that the results were NOT a one-off, random effect or an effect specific to that one study. This tells teachers that the results are reliable, and more strongly suggests that, if they use the strategies in that research or choose to use that intervention – then their results should be similar.

This is exactly what practitioner teachers can do as action research in their classroom – take a research study, with evidence of student learning, and use the instructional strategies to improve THEIR STUDENTS’ LEARNING!

This is PART 1 in a series on replication, within an evidence-based classroom research cycle for teaching. Much deeper learning can be found in my accredited course, Formative Assessment 1: Early Oral Language and Literacy. This post is a first step in this learning about evidence-based research – the course provides a lot more detail and practical strategies.

Evidence-based research should be replicated, and should be taken into classrooms, for teachers to use – instead of teachers “reinventing the wheel” all the time! I believe the purpose of educational research is to support learning – both teacher professional learning and student learning!

So, would it surprise you to know that very few studies are replicated? According to a 2021 review (Plucker & Makel, 2021, OPEN ACCESS) replication is very rare! They suggest that 0.13% of educational research studies and 1% of psychological research studies are replicated?

Plucker & Makel caution teachers and others about using research – and infer that it’s important to look at who the participants are in any research study. For example, if the study is with college students or undergraduate students – then is this result likely to be similar for school students, especially young school students? Probably NOT!

For busy teachers, this means that you need to select evidence-based research with participants that are somewhat similar to your students – this will more likely ensure that your results using those strategies might be similar to those in that study.

As a passionate classroom teacher,  your time is very precious! Before you spend time reading any research study, skim the abstract and find out who the participants were. Try to choose to read studies with participants similar to your students, similar in age, grade or where they live? This will save you time and hopefully provide some worthwhile professional learning. Rather than “starting from scratch” – you will be one step ahead in meeting your students’ learning needs!

Email me if you’d like some support with this process of finding and using evidence-based research that’s relevant to you!

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