National Writing Project

Student-Driven Research

By: Susan Yonezawa, Makeba Jones
Publication: Educational Leadership
Date: January 2009

Summary: Two researchers with the San Diego Writing Project report on a student-led research project in which a group of students design, conduct, and present research about their school with the object of initiating and supporting educational reform.


Excerpt from Article

The eight schools, their student co-research teams, their teachers, and their principals have taught us about the range of ways that student-based research can be incorporated into schools and classrooms. Students can effectively research substantial problems in education such as student and teacher engagement, safety, racial segregation on campus, relationships between the school environment and student apathy, and even teachers' grading and assessment policies and practices.

Students designing, conducting, and presenting research about their schools is a powerful way to initiate and support educational reform, but it will not happen without adequate adult support. Student-driven research is an authentic and meaningful educational experience for students, but it is also helpful to the administrators and teachers who choose to take student co-research seriously. It is our responsibly as adults who work with schools to make these types of opportunities available to students and to celebrate the voices of young people willing to take on the challenge of improving the schools they attend every day.

About the Authors Makeba Jones and Susan Yonezawa are both with the San Diego Writing Project and work as associate project scientists at the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE), University of California, San Diego.

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Read Student-Driven Research in Educational Leadership.

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