The purpose of educational research is to improve the quality of education for all students. Education can only be improved when educational researchers identify solutions to the problems that schools face. Therefore, Jos Educational Forum strongly encourages empirical papers that investigate strategies that will improve the quality of education in Nigerian schools.
To develop a high quality manuscript, authors are advised to adhere to the following suggestions, based off of the American Psychological Association Public Manual (5th edition, 2001).
Abstract. The purpose of an abstract is to provide a comprehensive summary of the article. Therefore, the abstract should summarize the purpose, participants, procedures, major findings, and conclusion. For a theoretical paper, the abstract should include the topic, the purpose, the sources used, and conclusions.
Introduction and Literature Review. The Introduction and Literature Review should introduce the problem to be studied and describe previous research conducted on the topic. The Introduction should describe the key variables that will be studied and the importance of the problem. The Literature Review should only include papers specifically related to the purpose of the study, omitting papers that are only marginally related to the work, or are only of general importance to the topic. When summarizing other papers, focus on relevant findings, methodological issues, and major conclusions as related to the purpose of your study. At the conclusion of the Literature Review, state the purpose of the study and the questions and hypotheses that will be addressed in your study.
Method. The purpose of the Method section is to give a detailed description of the research study. Providing sufficient detail in the Method section is important for two reasons. First, it allows readers to evaluate the appropriateness of the methods as well as the reliability and validity of the results. Second, the Method section should provide sufficient detail to allow any reader to replicate the study exactly as you conducted it. Providing adequate details of the methods cannot be overemphasized.
Participants. Details of the participants are necessary to allow readers to determine the groups of people that the study’s findings can be generalized to. Report the sampling procedures as well as major demographic characteristics of the sample, including sex and age, as well as socioeconomic status, level of education, and language preference where appropriate. If any participants did not complete the study, state the number and details of why they did not complete it.
Design. Describe the research design that was used and how the design was implemented in your study. Identify key variables under study, including the independent and dependent variables for experimental, quasi-experimental, and causal-comparative (also called ex-post facto) designs.
Instruments. Researchers should explain how the dependent variables were measured, or key variables in correlational and descriptive research designs. In this section, give an operational definition of the key variables that were measured, how many items measured each variable, and sample questions. Also briefly describe instructions to the participants, how the participants responded (e.g., Likert scale), and how the instrument was scored. Also explain who developed the instrument, research studies conducted to examine the instrument’s validity, and other studies that have used the same instrument.
Procedure. Summarize each step in the research study, including specific information about the treatment where appropriate. Describe random assignment procedures, instructions given to the participants, and when and where the research occurred. Remember that this information needs to be specific enough so any other researcher can replicate your procedure exactly.
Results. The Results section describes the analysis of the data that was collected. For each research hypothesis or question, describe how scores were obtained for each variable and the statistical test used. After explaining the calculated statistics, explain how the results should be interpretted. Summarize statistics in tables and figures where appropriate to help the reader understand the results.
Discussion. The Discussion section should evaluate and interpret the implications of the statistical tests described in the results section. Begin the Discussion with a clear statement of how the findings in the Results section confirmed or disconfirmed the original research hypotheses or questions. Then describe how the results relate to previous studies, theory, and/or education in Nigeria.
Recommendations. The purpose of the Recommendations section is to make recommendation for educational practice based on the findings of the study. Therefore, recommendations must be directly related to the variables that were measured in the study. To do this, the recommendations need to be based off of the statistical results reported for each research question or hypothesis. Any recommendation about a variable that was not measured or manipulated in the study is unwarranted and lowers the validity of the study.
Conclusions. The Conclusions section should summarize the findings of the study and to state the final conclusion based on the purpose of the study. Again, the conclusions must be based on the findings of the study. Conclusions about variables not measured or manipulated in the study and analyzed by a research question or hypothesis are invalid.
References. All references cited in the paper must appear in the References section, and all references must be cited in the paper. List references in alphabetical order. The basic format of references are as follows for a book and journal article, respectively.
Mallum, J. O. & Haggai, M. P. (2000). Educational psychology: Classroom practice. Jos: Ya-Byangs Publishers.
Fidelia, M.U.N. & Odini, I. J. (2009). A study of occupational related stress among lecturers. The Nigerian Educational Psychologist, 7, 112-118.
Theoretical Papers. The purpose of a theoretical paper is to clarify a significant educational issue and provide recommendations to improve educational practice. In a theoretical paper, the author uses existing research literature to advance educational practice. Introduction, Recommendations, and Conclusions of a theoretical paper should follow similar guidelines as empirical papers with minor adjustments. Instead of the Method, Results, and Discussion sections, a theoretical paper includes either Theoretical Framework or a Conceptual Framework and Position. Particularly when writing theoretical papers, consider that most research and theory has been developed in Western countries. Therefore, authors must critically consider the theoretical and practical application of Western research in the Nigerian context. Ensure that the position and recommendations are feasible within the cultural context and practical constraints of the Nigerian education system.
Introduction. Clearly state the problem and the importance of the problem.
Theoretical or Conceptual Framework. In this section, describe existing research and theory that relates to the problem. In most cases, only one theory or conceptual framework should be applied. Clearly explain both the theory/conceptual framework and how it relates to the problem at hand.
Position. Based on the theoretical or conceptual framework, the author now describes their position on how the educational problem can be improved. Clearly describe practical steps that educationalists can take to solve the problem.
Recommendations. Summarize recommendations, ensuring that all recommendations are based off of the theoretical/conceptual framework.
Conclusion. Summarize the findings of the paper as related to the theoretical/conceptual framework.
Revision. All papers should be carefully edited for grammatical errors and clarity of writing. After finishing a manuscript, the paper should be reviewed at least three times. First, read the paper out loud to yourself to determine whether the writing is clear. Imagine that you are a reader encountering the material for the first time. Would you be able to understand what is written? Second, give the paper to a knowledgeable colleague and ask them to make substantial comments on the content and writing style. Finally, just before submitting the paper, read through it one last time to identify grammatical and formatting errors.
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