What Does Good Education Research Look Like? Situating a Field and Its Practices

What Does Good Education Research Look Like? Situating a Field and Its Practices

What Does Good Education Research Look Like? Situating a Field and Its Practices

What Does Good Education Research Look Like? Situating a Field and Its Practices

Synopsis

This book explains the debates that bedevil education research - for example that it is low quality, or not scientific enough, or not useful enough - and shows how research in education must meet different demands in different places, times and conditions. A major part of the book provides detailed analyses and guidance to different areas in which educational research is judged - from academic theses to the press; from highest level competition for prestigious grants, to collaborative work with practitioners. In six different areas, it asks: who are the judges here? what expectations and networks do they bring to the task? what are the explicit and implicit criteria for good research in that area? what are the common failings? what does good research look like in that particular arena? The book is an indispensable companion to existing textbooks on research methodology, and a clear and provocative argument about the banalities and messiness in which educational researchers must operate.

Excerpt

This is a book about two related questions: 'What does good research in education look like?' and 'What does good research in education look like?' It attempts to explore some of the reasons why the quality of research in the field of education is subject to such critique and dispute and why there seems to be such an ongoing problem about what good research is for this field. It also sets out to provide a way of looking at different parts of the field in which education researchers operate, how they make judgements about what is good, and have particular ways of addressing what good research 'looks like'. My aim overall is to generate a type of research methodology discussion that will be different from, and will complement, the types of discussion that are found in other books on this subject. It is not written to discuss epistemological, methodological, ethical issues internal to the construction of a particular research project or research design. It is written to discuss the contexts, relationships and conditions in which those engaged in such work are located. 'Contexts' here embraces both the large context – what kind of a field is education and education research? – and also the more specific locations that throw up their own criteria and ways of judging good research – the thesis, the grant application, the journal article, consultancy and partnership projects, schools and parents, the press and book publishers.

The field that is discussed in this book, and the examples and illustrations all come from education. My own background has been particularly in mainstream education (systems of schooling), and questions relating to this and a number of examples I use will reflect this. But I have also worked with women's studies and international students from a range of workplaces, and I currently work in a faculty that is as much concerned with adult, vocational non-formal and organizational learning as with school education. The discussion in this book is intended too for those in the broader field of education or learning or 'new learning . . .

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