Research and the Teacher: A Qualitative Introduction to School-Based Research

Research and the Teacher: A Qualitative Introduction to School-Based Research

Research and the Teacher: A Qualitative Introduction to School-Based Research

Research and the Teacher: A Qualitative Introduction to School-Based Research

Synopsis

This book shows how to produce school-based research that is both useful and rigorous. It offers a clear account of the research process and provides a sound basis from which teachers can realistically conduct school-based research projects.

Excerpt

Much has happened in the worlds of education and research since we first wrote this book. This second revised edition is an attempt to take into account some of these important changes and reflect more accurately the contemporary practice of qualitative research. The audience we have in mind remains largely the same: practising teachers at all levels of the education system as well as those engaged in research for formal qualifications at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. However, increasingly those engaged in ‘teaching’ in the health and caring professions are becoming actively involved in qualitative research and we hope that there will be something of interest to them here. Theoretically, whilst the divisions between quantitative research and qualitative research remain and the debates between positivism and interpretivism continue we are no longer concerned to justify qualitative, interpretive and naturalistic approaches in the human sciences via an extended critique of other positions. Instead we believe that it is much more profitable to confront the contemporary diversity of qualitative traditions and explore the value of these approaches for practitioner research.

Since we first wrote this book, and indeed for some time before that, the impact of feminist scholarship and a consideration of the significance of gender on all aspects of social research has had far reaching consequences. Chapter 4 therefore explores this area in some detail. Second, qualitative research and teacher research has not escaped the influence of broader intellectual currents. Feminism is one; the notion of reflection in professional practice and postmodernist thinking are two other trends we have attempted to engage. Much higher profile is also given early on to the significance of ethical issues and the challenge this poses for school-based research.

Whilst these theoretical concerns are significant it is important to have a sound practical and operational understanding of the research process. We have therefore provided, in Chapter 5, a pathway through the research process which covers all of the major aspects of the research enterprise likely to be encountered by anyone doing any kind of research. Our comments and guidance, however, has qualitative research specifically in mind. We have also paid much more attention to the complex issues surrounding qualitative

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