Newer Research Approaches for Needed Change in American Education During Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Times

Newer Research Approaches for Needed Change in American Education During Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Times

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7860-5.ch005
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Looking ahead toward future empirical work conducted collaboratively by researchers and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic and in post-pandemic times, this chapter identifies contemporary and emerging types of research and research approaches to meet new challenges and answer newer questions. The chapter focuses on emergent research approaches for collaborative studies conducted in and on partnerships. Such emergent research approaches as design-based implementation research, improvement science, developmental evaluation research, impact research, netnography, and microethnograpy are included in the chapter. Each research approach is defined and described in the context of a partnership setting. The author concludes the chapter with remarks about paradigm wars and promising research (e.g., holism vs. reductionism).
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Today in 2021, because of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent closures and lockdowns in the U.S., the nation faces dramatic changes in the education system. With an unsure future at hand and little certainty as to when and how schools in America will reopen, a number of state and local task forces are being assembled to meet the challenges. They are meeting to design plans for a new reality in American schooling. And they are meeting to carve newer plans and policies to ensure equity and social justice amid the recent rallies against racism and protests against police brutality. As Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has stated on May 5, 2020, in one of his COVID-19 daily briefings, “The last few months have been an incredibly stressful time full of change but we have to learn and grow from this situation and make sure we build our systems back better than they were before” (Cuomo, 2020). Cuomo believes that we as a society can learn from such devastating events, and we can “build back better.” Not just replace and continue the status quo. But rather employ the concept of build back better (BBB). And as we build back, “we [will] want to have a better ‘public health system,’ better ‘tele-medicine,’ and a better ‘education system’ in New York” ( Cuomo has subsequently called for “reimagining” education and announced a collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “explore smart, innovative education alternatives using all of the technology we have at our disposal” (Cuomo, 2020). Such a “reimagining” will not only occur nationwide for the K-12 sector but also for higher education, and the field of education research.

Looking ahead to future empirical work conducted collaboratively by researchers and teachers, this chapter identifies newer, contemporary research approaches and types of research that may be useful during the current coronavirus pandemic and in post-pandemic times. Never before have partnerships between schools and universities been so necessary to help make the sweeping changes that are needed to meet the challenges we face during this new era of change in America. And never before will research play such a critical role in education. This chapter spotlights a few of the newer, emergent research approaches that will help provide answers to questions. Questions that are more immediately linked to the current situation in education brought about COVID-19; and a second set of questions that is tied more closely to the concept of “build back better” (BBB) and a “reimagining” of education. For example:

When schools and colleges reopen -- What does classrooms life look like? What are more effective ways teachers can connect with students? How can universities assist their partnering K-12 schools and vice versa? How is the relationship between the two defined? How are classroom teachers and professors adapting to the new conditions and situations, e.g., social distancing, and remote learning? What are the issues and problems they face, and what are better immediate solutions and long-term strategies? What problems are school districts facing? What is the role of education research? Are large-scale, randomized studies with in-person interventions and control groups even possible? Can research adapt to the current and differing situations? Are there adaptive research methods? What are the effects of untested strategies that are going to be employed during this time? And in earlier months of having reopened as Mark Schneider, director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), has asked – “what worked, what didn’t work and why?” (Sparks, 2020).

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