The moral foundations of educational research: knowledge, inquiry, and values

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Open University Press, Apr 1, 2003 - Education - 141 pages
"This is a book for everyone doing educational research. It is not simply a routineprovocation directed at positivists by a group of researchers advocating qualitativemethods. The book makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the ethicsof educational research by offering something more than opposition to the narrowutilitarian research agenda."
British Journal of Educational Studies

The Moral Foundations of Educational Research considers what is distinctive about educational research in comparison with other research in the social sciences.

As the contributors all agree that education is always an essentially moral enterprise, discussion about methodology starts, not with the widely endorsed claim that educational research should be 'useful' and 'relevant', but with the attempt to justify and elaborate that claim with reference to its moral foundations. Determining the nature of 'usefulness' and 'relevance' is not simply a matter of focussing on impact and influence but involves a radical re-conceptualisation of the moral and educational significance of what is deemed to be 'useful' and 'relevant'. There is no argument with this emphasis on the generation of 'useful' and 'relevant' knowledge, but it is suggested that educational research requires a fuller and more rounded understanding that takes account of the moral values of those who conduct it. Educational research is grounded, epistemologically, in the moral foundations of educational practice. It is the epistemological and moral purposes underlying the 'usefulness' and 'relevance' of educational research that matter.

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reconceptualizing the debate
Towards a social history of educational research
thoughts on educational research as moral

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About the author (2003)

Pat Sikes works in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. Throughout her career, the study of aspects of teachers' lives and careers through qualitative research methodologies in general and life history/narrative approaches in particular, have been the central strand of Pat's research interest and activity. She has recently published Life History Research in Educational Settings (with Ivor Goodson, Open University Press, 2001 and she is series editor of the Open University Press series Doing Qualitative Research in Educational Settings.

Jon Nixon is Head of the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. Prior to taking up his current post as Professor of Educational Studies, he held chairs in education at the University of Stirling and Canterbury Christ Church University College. He has written widely on the impact of the new management of education on teacher professionalism within the public sector and on academic professionalism within the university sector. He has also written on the institutional conditions of learning, particularly in relation to contexts of multiple disadvantage. His methodological concerns focus on educational research as a mode of public understanding. He is editor of the academic journal Teaching in Higher Education.

Wilfred Carr is Professor of Education in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. His main research interests are in the philosophy of education, educational theory and educational research methodology. He was the Chair of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain from 1996-1999 and is currently the Executive Editor of Pedagogy, Culture and Society. He is the author (with Stephen Kemmis) of Becoming Critical: Education, Knowledge and Action Research (1986) which translated into Spanish in 1988; (with Anthony Hartnett) Education and the Struggle for Democracy (1996) and For Education: towards critical educational inquiry (1995) which was translated into Spanish in 1996 and Chinese in 1997.

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