How to prepare for your research courses

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Here are tips to help you prepare for your research courses. It’s never too early to brainstorm your topic and look into relevant peer-reviewed articles.

A good place to start is with the MEd Research Guide and Library Resources. We suggest you explore the resources before beginning EDGR 601 (Educational Research):

EDGR 601 (Educational Research): During EDGR 601, you will select a topic and begin researching qualitative and quantitative data to support your topic. You will work closely with your professor along the way to ensure you are ready for your final capstone course.

Here are some EDGR 601 assignments videos:

Capstone options

The capstone is the final course of the program. You have the option to take EDGR 698 (Action Research) or EDGR 696 (Practitioner Inquiry). In most programs, you will be automatically registered for EDGR 698 (Action Research) unless otherwise noted with your Student Services Advisor during the first week of EDGR 601. CTE students are required to take EDCT 604 as their capstone course.

EDGR 698 (Action Research): Action Research asks you to identify a potential intervention with your students or another aspect of your work setting, and then research and develop a means of implementing it. Students write a hypothetical proposal for an Action Research plan, rather than actually conducting a study. This means that you do not need access to a group of students or other participants to take the Action Research course. For this reason, we recommend students consider the Action Research course for their capstone, even if they are not currently in a classroom setting.

Action Research topic examples:

  • How does providing one-minute warnings before a transition affect student behavior?
  • How does the use of reading journals affect students’ reading comprehension skills?
  • What are the effects of using Response to Intervention (RTI) with English Language Learners?
  • What effect does project-based learning have on the development of technological and academic skills in a fifth-grade classroom?

EDGR 696 (Practitioner Inquiry): Practitioner Inquiry asks you to identify an area needing improvement with your own teaching or practice, and then research and develop the means of making and measuring this improvement. This capstone course involves an implementation component. You will work closely with your instructor to determine if this is an ideal option for you. Practitioner Inquiry focuses on the reflective acts of the candidate as an educator seeking to improve teaching practice. Premised in the self-study research methodological traditions (Samaras, 2011), Practitioner Inquiry provides the opportunity to reflect on teaching practice and generate improvements based on classroom observation. Practitioner Inquiry focuses on the educator and her/his own practices, developing skills of inquiry, observation, reflection, and action in teachers.

Practitioner Inquiry topic examples:

  • How can I enrich my technology skills to promote student learning through the implementation of smartphones and social media?
  • What strategies can I implement in my classroom to improve my classroom management skills?
  • How can I introduce technology in my early childhood classroom without compromising developmentally appropriate practices?
  • How can I effectively implement alternative assessments in my secondary classroom?

Remember: You will be automatically enrolled in EDGR 698 (Action Research). You will be placed in EDGR 696 (Practitioner Inquiry) only if you submit that request with your Student Services Advisor during the first week of your EDGR 601 (Educational Research) course.


  • Online librarian: Kim Read can assist you in becoming a confident, efficient researcher. She can be reached at 503.493.6451 or Please contact the online library if you have a question about the research process, using a database, proper citation formatting, or accessing materials, or anything in between.
  • Graduate Writing Center: Schedule an online consultation or request feedback via email. The center is staffed with knowledgeable and friendly tutors eager to help improve your writing skills. Tutors provide guidance and mentoring with writing skills but do not correct or rewrite papers nor conduct research. Tutors provide support and insight throughout the writing process and can assist with the following:
    • Discuss paper organization, ideas, and ways to strengthen concepts and arguments
    • Provide guidance on proper grammar, punctuation, format, and citation rules
    • Direct students to appropriate academic resources
    • Answer questions about good writing
  • APA resource
  • Grammar resource

Although the research process can be very challenging, resources are available to support you.  Please email Student Services if you have questions or concerns.

Related Resources

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