Educational Research as a Form of Democratic Rationality

Journal of Philosophy of Education 40 (2):169-185 (2006)
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Educational Research is commonly regarded as a rational pursuit aimed at the production of objective knowledge. Researchers are expected to avoid value bias by detaching themselves from the normative conceptions of education that shape practice in schools and classrooms, and by casting themselves in the role of the impartial spectator. It is assumed that, as a rational pursuit, educational research is not directly concerned with changing practice but simply with discovering facts about it.This paper claims that it is possible to construct a view of educational research as a form of rational and disciplined inquiry that does not depend on any underpinning spectator theory of knowledge. Nor, the paper claims, does it imply any underpinning foundational principles of rational action and choice. Rather it implies a form of disciplined conversation in which reasons for action are scrutinised, critiqued and modified without resort to foundational principles of rationality. Drawing particularly on the work of John Dewey, Richard Rorty and Amartya Sen, the paper casts educational research as a practical science—a form of action research—that is underpinned by a democratic conception of rationality. In doing so, it contrasts educational research, shaped by a pragmatic theory of knowledge, with research on education that is shaped by a spectator theory.



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Citations of this work

Education(al) Research, Educational Policy-Making and Practice.Charles Clark - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (1):37-57.
The Lure of Psychology for Education and Educational Research.Paul Smeyers & Marc Depaepe - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 46 (3):315-331.
Does Action Research Have a Future? A Reply to Higgins.Lorraine Foreman‐Peck & Ruth Heilbronn - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 52 (1):126-143.
Graham P. McDonough.Graham P. McDonough - forthcoming - Journal of Thought.

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References found in this work

Consequences of Pragmatism.Richard Rorty - 1984 - Erkenntnis 21 (3):423-431.
The View from Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 50 (4):729-730.
Philosophy and Social Hope.Richard Rorty - 1999 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 58 (3):714-716.
Rationality and Freedom.Amartya Sen - 2005 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 67 (1):182-183.

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