The construction of our argument so far about PBE is that it is a relatively unique form of research. The term ‘research’ is itself contested and used to describe a range of activities that differ in the sorts of ways we have outlined in the previous chapters. Variations and differences tend to create disagreements about what does and does not count as research. We want to emphasize the point in this chapter that this is more than esoteric debate. The label ‘research’ affects peoples’ perception of an activity and any claim to worth or knowledge that accompanies that activity. The appellation ‘research’ tends to bestow credibility on an activity that may, on closer scrutiny, be undeserving. We have sought to relate PBE to the criteria of credibility and admissibility by identifying it as a process that involves systematic data gathering, a process of analysis that leads to the production of factual rather than fictitious information, and a process that is useful to the practitioner-researcher in his or her occupational context. In the sections that follow we want to examine further the justificatory character of this orientation.
Practitioners who are relative newcomers to educational research often rely on standard textbooks for guidance. Some of these we have identified in context in our chapters. Others we list in our bibliography at the end of this book. Some of these books are clear in the information they provide and literate in the sense that the language of explanation they use is comprehensible. Other works are opaque or dense in the messages they attempt to convey. Sometimes, the language used, particularly when it ventures into the domain of social philosophy, is abstract to the point of incomprehensibility. Numerous outcomes are possible with books of this type. Some people are intellectually intimidated or alienated. The tacit message is taken to be: You are not smart enough to understand my argument. Consequently, people put the book down and never approach educational research again. Some people take the opaqueness to be an indicator of profundity. The