chapter  21
Implications for Research and Practice
ByPatricia L. Linn, Eric Miller
Pages 17

Many of us have struggled through research methods texts that were both dull and dry, Research design theory can be difficult to apply in the absence of a question whose answer is of immediate concern to the reader. Potential researchers can also turn to research journals for guidance in research practice. However, after reading published studies we may not understand how the researcher worked through the dilemmas faced in the course of the project because choices made about study design elements are rarely explained: How to get started? How was the population chosen? Why was this question, and not another, the focus of the project? Research studies are written in a linear style that suggests all decisions were obvious and everything went as planned, yet we know from our own experience that is rarely the case. For educators or employers in cooperative education or internship programs, the gap between research theory and practice can seem insurmountable, although research holds promise in demonstrating the effectiveness of our programs or improving our practices to enhance student learning. Just as our students must overcome fear to enter a new workplace for the first time, the best approach may be to just dive in. Also as with our students, some guidance and support can make it possible to dive while avoiding some of the larger rocks that may lie below the surface.