n Education as Change - Teaching qualitative methodology for educational research : cultivating communities of deep learning practice

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-3206
  • E-ISSN: 1947-9417
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In this paper I argue for a deep, situated learning environment for students of qualitative research in education (QRE). I briefly sketch the characteristics of typical courses that are textbook-based, and which include only some practical exercises and classroom simulations as opportunities for "learning by doing". I argue that these may lead to a learning of methodology that suits pen and paper assessment on content and not to an understanding of QRE that will assist students to become novice researchers themselves via a "deep learning" path that engenders a disposition of inquiry. The paper claims that knowledge of qualitative methodology is essentially integrated, with conceptual, procedural, conditional and reflective knowledge linked by the experiential process of research-in-action and therefore as situated cognition. This means that learning has to be integrated as well, with experiential learning opportunities as essential pedagogical events. The difficulties of designing and implementing courses with a strong experiential learning base are then highlighted by means of a number of questions pertaining to student learning and also to educational and research ethics. I subsequently present a view of the research methodology course as educational space for both a community of learners and a community of practice, in which optimal research practice is obtained by authentic research experience and learning of principles, methods, techniques and philosophies concomitantly. The paper concludes with the challenge to supervisors to continue this learning pattern established in the coursework by spending time with students on discussion and exploration of methodological issues while they are conducting their dissertation research.

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