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J Dent Educ. 2004 Mar;68(3):316-23.

Issues to consider when planning and conducting educational research.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Programme for Educational Research and Development, McMaster University Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


This article is intended to provide students and clinicians aspiring to perform educational research with some background information pertaining to many of the issues inherent in performing research within this domain. It is not intended to provide a comprehensive review of the quantitative methods one might adopt, nor will it fully reflect all of the debate that currently exists within the educational research community. Rather, it is intended to offer an overview of issues and controversies within the field that will hopefully provide a starting point from which interested individuals can begin to engage in the study of educational effectiveness. Using investigations of the efficacy of problem-based learning as background, the article represents an attempt to guide new researchers through the process of generating and refining scientific research questions, identifying appropriate outcome measures, and selecting or adapting the optimal research design for the questions to be addressed. The article focuses on quantitative methods in general with particular attention paid to experimental designs.

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