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Experimental Educational Research in Indian Country

Case
By: Scott C. Marley Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

Educational research in Native American communities is particularly challenging for many reasons. In this case study, I describe lessons learned from a series of experiments my colleagues and I performed with elementary-age children from an Indian reservation located in the southwest United States. The case focuses on research credibility considerations, Native community research, and describes personal experiences and challenges performing research in native communities. The first section of the case study provides the reader with two core notions from scientifically credible research: external and internal validities. External validity is concerned with whether the results of a study generalize to the target population and context. Internal validity is concerned with the strength of causal inference a study affords. The second section discusses the need for scientifically credible research in Native community contexts. Due to a paucity of scientifically credible educational research in Native communities, little is known regarding whether well-studied educational interventions with other populations are effective. In the third section, I present an example of an application of scientifically credible research in a Native community. The emphasis of this section is on challenges associated with doing research in rural Native communities. Finally, I conclude with a discussion of the primary lessons learned from being a research worker in this context.

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