Educational Research for Social Justice: Getting off the Fence

By Morwenna Griffiths | Go to book overview

9: Better knowledge

Introduction

The subject of this chapter is 'better knowledge'. Educational research - all research - is about getting knowledge. As the first two principles of educational research for social justice state, the two main reasons for doing the research arc: to get improvements in social justice, in and from education; and to get knowledge and to learn from it. This is 'better knowledge' in two senses of 'better': knowledge which can be relied on and knowledge which can be used wisely, to a good purpose. These two principles are underpinned by a view of social justice and a view of knowledge and power which are expressed in the other eight principles. They emphasize the uncertainty of knowledge, and the importance of collaboration, of openness to other perspectives and of reflexivity.

In Part II, and especially in Chapter 5, I outlined an approach to epistemology, but it was in very abstract terms. Here I connect that discussion with the more concrete questions facing researchers, in terms in which they are likely to be challenged. The mainstream is likely to pose challenges in terms of bias and validity. Minority groups, whether as subjects or researchers, are more likely to be concerned with these questions of bias and validity in different terms, talking instead of the contradictions of being a researcher from a marginal group, exploitation by outsiders, co-option into the academy and the responsibilities of insiders. I address these issues in the sections on ethical issues and insider—outsider research.


Bias, validity and reliability

All researchers have opinions about what they are researching. Their research has been chosen precisely because it is something of significance to them (unless they simply needed the job). Opinions give a clue to values.

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Educational Research for Social Justice: Getting off the Fence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Doing Qualitative Research in Educational Settings ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editor's Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • Part I: Introduction and Context 1
  • 1: Taking Sides, Getting Change 3
  • 2: Research for Social Justice? Some Examples 15
  • Part II: Theoretical Frameworks for Practical Purposes 29
  • Introduction to Part II 31
  • 3: Truths and Methods 33
  • 4: Facts and Values 44
  • 5: Living with Uncertainty in Educational Research 65
  • 6: Educational Research for Social Justice 85
  • Part III: Practical Possibilities 99
  • Introduction to Part III 101
  • 7: Getting Started 105
  • 8: Getting Justice 117
  • 9: Better Knowledge 129
  • 10: Educational Research at Large 141
  • Appendix: Fair Schools 148
  • References 149
  • Index 159
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