oa Journal of Education - Ignorance, trust and educational research

Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



In this contribution I explore how ignorance and trust might help us to rethink educational research in terms of how it is that we come to know. I argue that the pursuit of truth in educational research (as conventionally is the case) privileges means over ends in that research is judged chiefly on the apparent truthfulness of its parts to the neglect of its larger purpose � producing new knowledge about education. In contrast, ignorance is a useful criterion in that it focuses attention on the end users � that research claims are dependent on historical contingency and context. In my discussion I refer to two kinds of ignorance produced by Western knowledge systems, blank spots and blind spots. Blank spots are what scientists know enough about to question but do not answer, and blind spots are what they don�t know enough about or care about. Furthermore I argue that by focusing on trust in social inquiry instead of truth, seemingly disparate knowledge systems can co-exist and can also be equitably compared so as to create new knowledge spaces that might have potentially transformative effects on educational practices in South Africa.

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