Educational research standards: Challenging mythconceptions.

Noella Mackenzie, Lorraine Ling

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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In this paper the authors employ a recent study into teaching excellence awards as the vehicle to discuss standards in research, especially as they apply to research which occurs into teaching and the work of teachers. The study itself is one which focuses upon teaching awards as another form of standards imposition within education systems which operate according to particular political agendas, economic ideologies and social expectations. However, the focus of this paper is upon the methodological issues that emerged throughout the course of this study and the insights this gives, into what pass for 'standards' in educational research. Firstly it became apparent that research is something which is usually done to teachers rather than done by teachers. Part of this is due to the intensification of teachers' work which ensures that they have no time to engage in any professional reading, writing or research, but it goes deeper than this and is part of the teacher culture that prevails. Thus where teachers are concerned it is standard practice that they are the subjects rather than the creators of most educational research about their professions. In this study the teachers became an integral part of the study. Comments were recorded of teachers feeing elated that someone cared enough about what they think and feel to want to explore it with them. It also became evident throughout the course of this research that there are some 'standard' questions that people ask about research which are the wrong questions. Invariable people will ask whether your research is qualitative or quantitative, to which any self respecting researcher would answer 'Yes'. The dichotomy which many research text books and journal articles set up, and which some academics and researchers perpetuate through their own discourse and through courses in research methodology, is perceived to be between qualitative and quantitative research. This is not the dichotomy ' thedichotomy is between research paradigms not methods of data collection. In this study, an interpretative research paradigm was adopted as distinct from a positivist or emancipatory paradigm. It is the paradigm choice that sets the 'standard' for the chosen methodology and data collection methods and which determines the entire purpose for carrying out the research. In this study, the researcher was at pains to make this clear and thus challenged the superficial 'standard' wisdom of some research literature and practice. In this paper, the impact of understanding and making explicit, the research standard and thus the purpose of research that is being conducted, as determined by the choice of research paradigm, is examined. It is demonstrated that when a researcher works according to the standards of a specific research paradigm, their study can empower all participants ' researcher and respondents alike. This study provides an example of educational research which is done with teachers rather than to teachers and sets clear standards as to what is expected of educational research as a means to inform policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication30th Annual Conference
Subtitle of host publicationTeachers and their educators: standards for development
EditorsM. Snoek, A. Swennen, J de Valk
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9789090209081
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventEuropean Teacher Educators Association (ATEE) Annual Conference - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 21 Oct 200526 Oct 2005


ConferenceEuropean Teacher Educators Association (ATEE) Annual Conference


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