-‹This book has been designed for people who are thinking about carrying out a small-scale educational research project, perhaps for the first time, as the title suggests.
Any trepidation that one may feel about this enterprise is countered by the clear, engaging and encouraging tone of the writing. The research process is well-explained and wide range of concepts are explored in a coherent fashion.
The book is logically organised and each chapter deals with a different stage in the research journey. It starts with a chapter that explore what research can be and ends with how small-scale research can be developed.
The authors argue that not only researchers need to be research-literate. Those who read and use other people's research also should be able to make informed judgements about its validity and quality.
The central role of ethics within educational research is a feature of the book: consent, honesty and care are noted as being the basic principles of ethical practice. Suggestions are offered on how to manage researcher bias throughout the stages of research design, data-collection, analysing data and reporting findings.
There is a very useful chapter about critical reading and writing (pp.33-48) that delivers practical advice on how to approach writing as a shared process between critical friends who can give and receive feedback on a script. The next chapter, which addresses research questions, is also very good.
The authors are open about their aim to write about small-scale research projects and it is understandable that they don't tackle in-depth longitudinal studies or those based on narrative inquiry.
Many of their examples refer to schools, but there is a lot to be gleaned from this book and applied in further education and non-formal education settings.