The need for a philosophical grounding in higher degree science research programmes

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3 Citations (Scopus)


As the learner climbs the ladder of formal education, the role of the teacher transforms from the primary provider of knowledge to that of a mentor. At the university, the learner enters the realm of self-learning, which is synonymous with 'research' in a broad sense. Traditionally, attainment of research capability is measured by the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph D). This measure goes with the assumptions that the person with a Ph D has documented a cognizable and worthwhile doctrine and that the person has contributed to construction of new knowledge. The literature on research theory and practice indicates that any course work on research methods is often either difficultor uninteresting to learners. This may be (i) because the subjects that constitute research methods have not been aligned with the research themes chosen by learners and/or (ii) because the learners have not been appropriately grounded in the philosophical theory that explains the contextual basis for valid research methods. Addressing these gaps, I have argued for the use of the pedagogical tool of 'constructive alignment', integrating philosophical concepts with the themes chosen by the learners for their research activity. I have demonstrated the argued point with the curriculum design of the subject 'Research philosophies and methods', a prerequisite for senior undergraduate learners enrolled in the natural resource management and agribusiness Honours programmes at Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-593
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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