Our decision to write this book, “A Handbook for Educational Research and Academic Writing: From Idea to Reporting Your Research,” did not happen overnight. As educators, researchers, and scholars, we understand the intricate process one needs to undertake in the journey of pursing knowledge creation and effective communication. This handbook was created out of our collective passion for fostering excellence in educational research and academic writing.
After completing our Master's and Ph.D. degrees in the United States, we met and worked with many graduate students working toward their degrees. Dr. Yong-Jik Lee (hereafter Lee) returned to South Korea and has been working on many international publications. Dr. Hyunjin Jinna Kim (hereafter Kim) remained in the United States, conducting educational research with various departments and experts in different fields. The first few years immediately after earning our Ph.D., we lived with the memory of and under the shadow of our dissertation and research. We observed graduate students struggling to master academic writing conventions while enduring the pressure of completing their degree programs and balancing all the expectations of being an emerging scholar.
Working with those new to educational research taught us the importance of uncovering rigorous research processes in education. Lee noticed that some graduate students' thesis and dissertation presentations had complex diagrams and pictures with a 'fancy' analysis method. These were interesting research topics, but students could not answer some basic questions when he asked about the theoretical backgrounds. The students' research projects lacked theoretical foundations and were designed superficially to claim something with eye-catching visuals and analysis tools. Kim collaborated with undergraduate student research projects and non-education experts to realize that the rigorous educational research steps and processes are complex and not well-established. We also came to the realization that academic writing as a genre and educational research as a discipline are both new cultural experiences no matter where you came from or what linguistic and cultural backgrounds you have.
The landscape of education is ever-evolving, demanding a robust understanding of research methodologies and effective communication skills. Whether you are a graduate student embarking on your first research project or an early-career academic navigating the complexities of academic culture and scholarly writing, we hope this handbook will be a supportive companion on the road from conceptualization to the reporting stage of your research.
Based on a few years of observation and working with undergraduate students, graduate students, and researchers, we noticed a gap in educational research and academic writing. We began to reflect on our research experiences in the U.S. and realized that writing a handbook to support those involved in the writing and scholarly community in education can be immensely helpful. We found the necessity of addressing the cultural and knowledge gap every emerging scholar or novice writer experiences and making those implicit cultural norms rather explicit.
Our aim is to provide a comprehensive guide that not only demystifies the research and academic writing process but also empowers you to articulate your ideas with clarity and impact. Each chapter is constructed to address specific stages of educational research and academic writing. We intend to offer practice insights, actionable advice, and illustrative examples throughout this handbook. From noticing an educational problem to refining your research question, from crafting a captivating introduction to selecting appropriate research methods, from effectively presenting your results to carefully formulating your discussion, this handbook provides guidance at every step of your research and academic writing journey.
We wrote this handbook to provide a sound research process and guidance for completing your essential academic writing piece. We hope this book offers proper yet practical research writing skills to support your research endeavor.
This handbook was specifically designed to achieve the following purposes.
To highlight the valuable and advantageous experiences beyond obtaining a graduate degree.
To transform the landscape of educational research and academic writing practices.
To outline the appropriate research steps and directions for producing high-quality research.
To emphasize the importance of conducting ethical and rigorous research.
To reiterate the real purpose behind academic writing and shift perspectives from recognizing research methodology as a tool to creating and presenting innovative research.
To guide and support those entering the realm of academic writing and educational research to present high-quality academic papers and become international researchers and scholars in the future.
While rooted in the principles of academic rigor, we recognize the need for flexibility and inclusivity and acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to educational research and academic writing. The authors’ shared experiences, lessons learned, and practical tips are intended to resonate with you, the reader, as you embark on your own scholarly journey. Consider this handbook not only as a guidebook but as a conversation?a dialogue between mentors and mentees. Use it as a resource to enhance your knowledge, advance your skills, overcome challenges, and, above all, find inspiration in the transformation of educational research.
May this handbook accompany you from the first innovative research idea to the moment you proudly wrap up reporting your research findings. We extend our heartfelt wishes for a fruitful and fulfilling academic journey.
Happy researching and writing!
Hyunjin Jinna Kim, Ph.D.
Yong-jik Lee, Ph.D.
Hyunjin Jinna Kim is a Postdoctoral Associate at Stony Brook University, coordinating and designing inclusive curriculum and instruction for diverse students in higher education. Her research broadly focuses on issues related to minoritized linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and racial identities in education and ways to provide equitable and inclusive education.
Yong Jik Lee received his Ph.D. in ESOL/Bilingual Education at the University of Florida and his MA in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from Indiana State University. He is currently a research professor at Chonnam National University. His research and work focus on English language teaching with technology and incorporating AI in the ELT.
Table of Contents
List of Figures 8
Part I. Academic Writing and Educational Research
Chapter 01 What is Academic Writing? 12
Characteristics and Features of Academic Writing 13
Diversity in Academic Writing Styles 15
Academic Writing: Challenges and Solutions 15
Academic Writing Skills for Personal and Professional Development 17
Chapter 02 Conducting Educational Research 20
Methodological Approaches in Educational Research 21
Data Collection in Educational Research 22
Analyzing and Interpreting Data in Educational Research 23
Dissemination and Knowledge Mobilization 24
The Authors’ Reflection 24
Chapter 03 Situating Academic Writing in Educational Research 28
The Essence of Academic Writing in Research 29
Navigating through the Structural Facets 29
Ethical Narratives in Academic Writing 30
Academic Writing as a Tool for Impact and Change 31
Promoting Your Educational Research through Academic Writing 32
Chapter 04 Research Procedures 35
Conception of Research: Ideation and Framing 36
Research Design and Methodology 37
Reporting and Dissemination of Findings 38
The Authors’ Reflection 39
Chapter 05 Research Ethics 41
Understandings of Research Ethics 42
Importance to Understand and Abide by Research Ethics 42
Considerations for an Ethical Research 43
Institutional Review Board (IRB) 45
What is IRB and Why is it Important? 46
Part II Step-by-step Guidelines: From Idea to Reporting
Chapter 06 Considerations before Writing 52
Considering the "Why" 53
Organization of Your Research Writing 55
An Undesirable Organization of a Research Writing 58
Chapter 07 Planning and Preparation Stages 62
Steps for Research and Thesis Writing 63
Organization of an Introduction 64
Preparation Stage: Thinking about the Why, What, and How 66
Chapter 08 Establishing the Problem : Problem-solving Research Method 71
What is a Problem-solving Approach? 72
The Cyclical Steps of a Problem-solving Research Method 75
Chapter 09 Establishing a Theoretical Foundation 84
Integrating Theory into Your Research 85
Drawing from Established Work 86
Constructing a Conceptual Framework 87
Chapter 10 Extensive Literature Review 94
Searching for and Documenting Relevant Literature 95
Unfavorable Literature Review 96
Organization of a Literature Review 99
Chapter 11 Beyond Research Methodology as a Tool 111
Understanding Research Methodologies 112
Research Paradigms: Ontology and Epistemology 114
Methodologies, Theories, and Research Methods 116
Writing the Research Methodology/Research Design Section 118
Chapter 12 The Art of Presenting Findings and Results 131
Steps to Craft a Findings/Results Section 132
Ways to Present Data and Findings 133
Ways of Reporting to Avoid 135
Chapter 13 Wrapping up: Writing Discussion and Conclusion 143
The Role of a Discussion Section 144
Steps for Composing a Discussion Section 145
Guiding Questions for the Discussion 147
Common Mistakes and Pitfalls in a Discussion 148
Concluding your Research and Thesis Writing 149
Part III. Furthering Research and Academic Writing
14 Self-checklist for Academic Writing and Research 160
Cycle of Academic Writing and Research Processes 161
Self-checklist for Research and Academic Writing 162
15 Dissemination Beyond the Thesis 165
Dissemination of Research: What Does it Mean? 166
Dissemination Channels Beyond the Thesis 167
16 Lifelong Development of Skills 171
Reflecting on Your Journey 172
Expansion and Development of Expertise and Skills 173
Concluding Remarks 178
List of Figures
Figure 1 Sample Research Timeline 35
Figure 2 Sample Informed Consent 43
Figure 3 IRB Process 46
Figure 4 Basic Organization of a Thesis 52
Figure 5 Structure of a Thesis Introduction 62
Figure 6 The Cycle of a Problem-solving Research Method 73
Figure 7 Cycle of Theory, Research, and Practice 81
Figure 8 Sample Conceptual Framework : Research and Theoretical Strands of Dialogical Teacher Professional Identities 83
Figure 9 Sample of Literature Review on Seminal Theorizations 91
Figure 10 Sample Literature Review Organization (Kim, 2021) 94
Figure 11 Conceptualization of Research Methodology 103
Figure 12 Common Research Paradigms : Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology 105
Figure 13 Organization of the Methodology/ Research Design Section 109
Figure 14 Sample Findings Presentation 123
Figure 15 Sample Mind Mapping Process of Constructing Discussion 131
Figure 16 Cycle of Academic Writing and Research Processes 142