Academic journal article Journal for Educational Research Online

Educational Research Literacy

Academic journal article Journal for Educational Research Online

Educational Research Literacy

Article excerpt

In recent years, the focus of educational research has shifted to the requirement of evidence-based educational practice, which is seen as the foundation of continuous professionalization activities. Even though the claim to impart such fundamental research skills in academic education is not new (Bundesassistentenkonferenz, 1970), it has been revived in the course of the empirical shift in education following the so-called PISA shock in both Germany (Bos, Postlethwaite, & Gebauer, 2010; Messner, 2016) and Austria (Altrichter, Brüsemeister, & Heinrich, 2005). Research literacy is therefore included in general definitions of standards and objectives for Higher Education degrees (Kultusministerkonferenz, 2005; Wissenschaftsrat, 2000), but can also be found in the context of study programs in the field of Educational Science, e.g., in teacher education curricula (BMUKK, 2013; Kultusministerkonferenz, 2004). At the heart of respective efforts is the conception of competencies as situation-specific skill that underlies observable performance, but manifests itself through a combination of multiple facets such as cognition, conation, affect, and motivation (Blömeke, Gustafsson, & Shavelson, 2015; Klieme, Hartig, & Rauch, 2008; Weinert, 1999).

Even though the debate about competency has stimulated a highly active interdisciplinary research field with focus on proficiency in certain domains and on different educational levels (cf. Baumert & Tillmann, 2016), there is still only little research about the ability to access, interpret, critically reflect, and apply research as an objective of higher education. This is probably due to the fact that in Educational Science, research literacy is not comprehended as content knowledge, but as generic, procedural knowledge, which is acquired during studies (quasi as side effect), and enables students to academically reflect domain-specific contents (e.g., Wecker, Hetmanek, & Fischer, 2014). Descriptions of the aspired competence facets can be found in curricular models (Willison & O'Regan, 2007) and comprise aspects like a) identifying problems/framing questions, b) using data, c) transform- ing information into decision, d) transforming data into information, and e) evaluating outcomes (e.g., Gutman & Genser, 2017; Mandinach & Gummer, 2016). In the Research Skill Development Framework (Willison & Buisman-Pijlman, 2015), these requirements are complemented by another dimension with different levels of autonomy from supervisor instigated to researcher instigated to discipline leading. A similar principle was used by Rueß, Gess, and Deicke (2016) in a model of research-based teaching, that distinguishes, whether students learn through reception, application, or inquiry. The authors' description of learning activities can be used to illustrate the difference between engagement with research and engagement in research, which was introduced by Borg (2010). Engagement with research corresponds with activities like engaging with or discussing research results, methods or the whole research process. Such assignments aim at promoting relevant abilities to access and appraise knowledge in complex contexts that are typical for the line of work in educational practice, and will be referred to as Research Literacy in the following. By contrast, the term engagement in research refers to planning and implementing research. With the long-term objective to be able to generate new knowledge based on scientific methods and as part of a certain scientific community, this term refers to a stronger focus on acting and will be labeled as Research Competence.

All articles in this special issue dwell on the topic of Educational Research Literacy and Educational Research Competence, respectively, as a result of higher education in the field of Educational Science. In the following, we give a short summary of the featured articles, which address different competence facets. …

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