Being critical

Although engaging with research can support choices that you make in teaching, it is important to critically evaluate the strength of the research and its relevance to a classroom setting. Some useful questions to consider are:

  • How many people did the study look at?
  • Did the research look at children or adults?
  • In what context did the research take place, and is this comparable to your context?
  • Did the study take place in a controlled laboratory setting or in a real classroom?
  • What do other researchers say about it?
  • How old is the study? If the research is very recent, there may not have been time for other researchers to replicate the findings or to evaluate it.


Throughout this course we will be referring to research articles from the science of learning field of study, but we would like you to critically reflect on the relevance of the research to classroom practice.

Choose one of the following research papers:

Pick one or two of the questions above to answer. Using this information, compare the research context to your own context. What further questions might you need to address when thinking about applying that research to your own teaching context?

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This article is from the free online course:

The Science of Learning

National STEM Learning Centre