How Can we Improve Research?

Research Questions

What is Involved in Teaching?
How can Teacher Education Help?
How Can Professional Development Help?
How Can Policy Help?
How Can Research Help?
How can we Improve Research?

Research Projects

Teacher Qualifications and the Quality of Teaching
Class Acts
Research and Teacher Learning
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning
Teacher Education and Learning to Teach
Local Uses of Evidence
Evaluations of Federal Programs


Michigan State University
College of Education
Graduate Program in Teacher Education
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning



Researchers in most fields think both about the things they are studying and about the methods they use to study them. Here are some of my contributions to the literature on how educational research is or should be carried out.

Kennedy, M. M. (2007) Defining a Literature.  Educational Researcher, 36(3), 139-147.

Examines problems associated with establishing a body of literature for purposes of review or of synthesis.

Kennedy, M. M. (2004) Influence of Study Design on Causal Inferences. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, April.

Examines problems that arise in studies of naturally-occurring events when independent variables are not things we manipulate but things that are themselves caused by other naturally occurring events.

Kennedy, M. M. (1999). Approximations to indicators of student outcomes. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 21(4), 345-363.

Sorts outcomes used in policy research according to how closely they approximate an idealized measure of student learning. Asks how well different indicators can inform policymaker about policy influences on student outcomes.

Kennedy, M. M. (1999) The problem of evidence in teacher education. In Roth, R. (Ed). The Role of the University in the Preparation of Teachers (pgs 87-107). London: Falmer Press.

Reviews research asking the question, Does Teacher Education Make a Difference? from the point of view of a skeptic-that is, a person who doubts the value of teacher education. Argues that much of this literature is not persuasive.

Kennedy, M. M. (1995). Research Genres in Teacher Education. In F. Murray (ed) Knowledge Base in Teacher Education (pages 120-152).

Reviews 5 research methods, or genres, commonly used to address the question, Does Teacher Education Make a Difference? and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Kennedy, M. M., G. W. McDiarmid and D. L. Ball (1993) A study Package for examing and tracking teacher learning.

Presents interview guides and questionnaires designed by the National Center for Research on Teacher Education and used in the Teacher Education and Learning to Teach (TELT) study. The instruments are public and anyone can use these items.

Kennedy, M. M. (1979) Generalizing from single cases. Evaluation Quarterly, 3(4), 661-678.

Written when qualitative research was just being introduced to the education research community and people were struggling to figure out how it would work.