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By Stephen Mumford

ISBN-10: 0199259828

ISBN-13: 9780199259823

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Secondly, in its purest form, this kind of investigation is conducted in the actual situation of the object of study and over a period of time. Depending on the area under investigation, it can take months or years working 'in the field'. This - 42 Research Methods in Education Handbook 2001 Open University BR9 is not to say that smaller-scale studies, say of a classroom, or an interview with a teacher or pupil, are without their uses. These will, however, have more limited objectives and be more exploratory.

4. READ IN G FOR ASSESSM ENT Understanding the argument of a research report is usually only the first task in reading it. Often, we also wish to assess how well the conclusions are supported by the evidence. 2 we introduced the concept of validity as a standard to be used in assessing research reports and explained how we thought the validity of claims and conclusions could be assessed. We suggested that this assessment had to rely on judgements of plausibility and credibility. It is rare for the major claims in research reports to be so plausible that they need no evidential support.

We can illustrate this in relation to Rist's study of teacher-pupil interactions in the early years of schooling. It is the central claim of his account that the different levels of achievement of the children are largely a product of the teachers' expectations of them, based on social class. Therefore, besides providing descriptions of the teachers' procedures for allocating children to groups, and of their interactions with members of these groups, Rist also makes an explanatory claim. Indeed, the descriptive claims are subordinated to the task of explanation.

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Dispositions by Stephen Mumford

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