we think of research, we often think of a laboratory
or classroom where two or more groups receive
different treatments or alternative training
would then determine if the treatment or training
had an impact on some outcome measure.
This type of research is the best at
predicting cause and effect relationships and is
often cited as the most rigorous and standardized
the experiments described above have a definite
place in the research arena, sometimes we gain the
best knowledge by looking into the past rather than
into the future.
Historical research attempts to do just that.
Through a detailed analysis of historical
data, we can determine, perhaps to a lesser extent,
cause and effect relationships.
We can also help prevent the present day
teachers, managers, and other users of research from
making the same mistakes that were made in the past.
research can also mean gathering data from
situations that have already occurred and performing
statistical analysis on this data just as we would
in a traditional experiment.
The one key difference between this type of
research and the type described in the first
paragraph concerns the manipulation of data.
Since historical research relies on data from
the past, there is no way to manipulate it.
Studying the grades of older students, for
example, and younger students may provide some
insight into the differences between these two
groups, but manipulating the work experience is
historical research can often lead to present day
experiments that attempt to further explore what has
occurred in the past.