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The Myth of Rational Research

The Myth of Rational Research In its flight from ‘positivism’ educational inquiry still cleaves to a faith in the ordered and the rational. Educationists continue to believe in an order, accessible via rational inquiry and ordered reflection, governing human affairs and thought. This belief has three unwelcome consequences. First, it promotes the notion that certain rationalistic ingredients are obligatory in research: a technology of inquiry is thus constructed and maintained. Consequently, inquiry (even interpretative inquiry) is formulaic; it follows predictable ruts and leads often to uninteresting findings. Second, a belief in the ordered mind leads to a faith in certain models of mind, and in ‘personal theory’ which can be developed via particular and orthodox methods of finding out. Third, and partly because of this second belief, it leads to a notion of teaching as an explicitly articulated ‘know what’ rather than an implicitly understood ‘know how’ practice—leading, I argue, to a promotion of the notion that ‘know how’ can be enhanced via the technology of reflection. The result of all this is that education ignores and eschews less structured but arguably more productive methods of inquiry. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Educational Research Journal Wiley

The Myth of Rational Research

British Educational Research Journal , Volume 24 (2) – Apr 1, 1998

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References (54)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
1998 British Educational Research Association
ISSN
0141-1926
eISSN
1469-3518
DOI
10.1080/0141192980240203
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In its flight from ‘positivism’ educational inquiry still cleaves to a faith in the ordered and the rational. Educationists continue to believe in an order, accessible via rational inquiry and ordered reflection, governing human affairs and thought. This belief has three unwelcome consequences. First, it promotes the notion that certain rationalistic ingredients are obligatory in research: a technology of inquiry is thus constructed and maintained. Consequently, inquiry (even interpretative inquiry) is formulaic; it follows predictable ruts and leads often to uninteresting findings. Second, a belief in the ordered mind leads to a faith in certain models of mind, and in ‘personal theory’ which can be developed via particular and orthodox methods of finding out. Third, and partly because of this second belief, it leads to a notion of teaching as an explicitly articulated ‘know what’ rather than an implicitly understood ‘know how’ practice—leading, I argue, to a promotion of the notion that ‘know how’ can be enhanced via the technology of reflection. The result of all this is that education ignores and eschews less structured but arguably more productive methods of inquiry.

Journal

British Educational Research JournalWiley

Published: Apr 1, 1998

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