Classification of Educational Research

Educational research can be categorized into several levels based on the scope,focus and objectives of the research. These levels help researchers and educators understand the different types of research and their purposes. Here are common levels of educational research: 



  1. Exploratory Research:

    • Purpose: To explore a topic or issue in education where little is known or understood.

    • Methods: Typically qualitative methods like interviews, observations, or focus groups.

  2. Descriptive Research:

    • Purpose: To describe and document specific educational phenomena, trends, or characteristics.

    • Methods: Surveys, case studies, observational studies, and content analysis are common.

  3. Correlational Research:

    • Purpose: To investigate relationships between variables without implying causation.

    • Methods: Quantitative techniques like statistical analysis are used to identify associations between different factors.

  4. Causal-Comparative (Ex Post Facto) Research:

    • Purpose: To explore cause-and-effect relationships by comparing groups that have been exposed to different conditions.

    • Methods: Retrospective analysis of existing data or situations.

  5. Experimental Research:

    • Purpose: To establish cause-and-effect relationships through controlled experiments.

    • Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and other experimental designs are used to manipulate independent variables and observe their effects on dependent variables.

  6. Action Research:

    • Purpose: To address specific problems or challenges within a particular educational setting, often involving practitioners in the research process.

    • Methods: Collaborative, iterative cycles of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting are employed.

  7. Mixed-Methods Research:

    • Purpose: To combine both quantitative and qualitative approaches to provide a comprehensive understanding of an educational phenomenon.

    • Methods: Integrates data collection and analysis techniques from both quantitative and qualitative research.

  8. Longitudinal Research:

    • Purpose: To study changes or developments in education over an extended period of time.

    • Methods: Data is collected at multiple points in time to track trends or changes.

  9. Cross-Sectional Research:

    • Purpose: To gather data at a single point in time for the purpose of comparison or analysis.

    • Methods: Surveys, observations, or assessments are conducted at one specific time period.

  10. Meta-Analysis and Systematic Reviews:

    • Purpose: To synthesize and analyze existing research studies on a specific educational topic.

    • Methods: Statistical techniques are used to combine findings from multiple studies, providing a more comprehensive overview of the research literature.

These levels of educational research serve various purposes and contribute to the overall body of knowledge in the field of education. Researchers select the appropriate level based on their research questions, available resources, and the nature of the educational phenomenon they aim to investigate.