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RESEARCH ON READING PROGRAMS --
SCIENTIFIC VERSUS "QUALITATIVE" RESEARCH


UNSCIENTIFIC STUDIES:
      • "Whole language" is typically endorsed by faulty research termed "qualitative research" by its proponents
      • The results are "descriptive"   for example: "teachers use phonics in whole language" is a "research finding"
      • There is no separation of groups that receive the experimental treatment from "control" groups not receiving treatment that can be used to compare outcomes
      • There are no definitive conclusions because there is nothing to compare with
      • There does not appear to be any random assignment of subjects (teachers/ schools/ students/ or programs) in such studies
      • Recent teacher training programs employ these "results" to document effectiveness of whole language programs and to disparage phonics
      • School administrators seem unaware of the unscientific nature of the studies
      • Many reading curricula are chosen by educators using outcomes of this kind of "research"
      • Current teachers are frequently not trained to teach reading effectively
SCIENTIFIC STUDIES:
      • Typically more balanced view of programs
      • The studies have long duration and are carefully designed so that only one component of the reading program is changed at a single time
      • There are always "control" groups that do not receive the expermental treatment for the duration of the study, so that results with and without treatment can be compared
      • Groups are carefully matched and the subjects of the study (teachers/ schools/ students/ or programs) are randomly assigned
      • Study outcomes can be replicated if conditions are duplicated.

 
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