What is research?

Research is ‘the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies, inventions and understandings’ (Australian Research Council, 2015). There are many types of research. For example:

  • exploratory research: involves investigating an issue or problem. It aims to better understand this problem and sometimes leads to the formation of hypotheses or theories about the problem.
  • descriptive research: describes a population, situation or event that is being studied. It focuses on developing knowledge about what exists and what is happening.
  • causal research (also known as ‘evaluative research’): uses experimentation to determine whether a cause-and-effect relationship exists between two or more elements, features or factors.
  • synthesis research: combines, compares and links existing information to provide a summary and/or new insights or information about a given topic.

What research will AERO conduct?

AERO conducts a wide range of research projects. 

  • Some research is exploratory or descriptive to help us determine the educational issues and topics we need to prioritise. This research may, for example, describe patterns in child and student outcomes so we can learn more about education in Australia.
  • Some research generates evidence to improve the evidence base in the areas aligned to our annual research agenda. These research projects entail varied methodologies that are tailored to the specific project, and may include primary field research, secondary data analysis, qualitative investigations, randomised control trials or quasi-experimental designs and more.
  • Some research evaluates or synthesises existing evidence on the effectiveness of an approach, to make it more accessible and easy to understand.
  • Some research projects are aimed at enhancing the use of evidence in schools and early childhood education and care services. These research projects generate insights into how education practitioners and policymakers use evidence to improve child and student outcomes, and the supports and resources that can increase the frequency and quality of evidence use. 

AERO has produced a number of documents to support the production of high-quality research. Explore below.

How we work

AERO develops and prioritises research projects based on greatest potential impact and greatest need.

Areas of research

The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) undertakes a range of research projects related to the education pathways of children and young people.

Producing quality research

We follow a comprehensive process to ensure our research is high quality.

Ethical and responsible conduct of research

The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) is committed to high quality research which is produced ethically and responsibly.