n South African Journal of Education - Educational research, democracy and praxis

Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-0100
  • E-ISSN: 2076-3433



Dominant approaches to educational research rarely examine the philosophical underpinnings, specifically epistemological and ontological assumptions, in relation to the research process. Usher argues that the failure to examine these assumptions leads to research being understood as a 'technology', as simply a set of methods, skills and procedures applied to a given research problem. I argue that when research is understood in Usher's terms as a 'technology', it serves only the status quo and does not enable us to interact and transform society. In this article I critically examine different research approaches in terms of their potential to contribute to transformation of societies. I argue that instead of educational research merely contributing to social change it can be a process of change itself. Additionally, I raise challenges for educational research in South Africa and elsewhere, in the context of processes of globalisation and internationalisation currently prevalent.

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