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On warrants and knowledge claims: Everything you ever wanted to know about educational research but were afraid to ask

Browse recordings: livestream.com/educon5

Session Two: Saturday 1:00pm–2:30pm
Room 211
Jon Becker
Affiliation: Virginia Commonwealth University
Conversational Focus/Audience:
All School Levels
Conversation Description:

In January of 1891, the inaugural issue of Educational Review was published and its first article, by Harvard philosopher Josiah Royce, was entitled Is There a Science of Education? That same question re-surfaced over a century later, in 2000, when the U.S. Department of Educations National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board (NERPPB) commissioned the National Research Council (NRC) to convene a committee on scientific principles for education research to review and synthesize recent literature on the science and practice of scientific educational research

The result of that commission was a book called Scientific Research in Education. In that book, Shavelson and Towne claim that [t]he scientific enterprise depends on a healthy community of researchers and is guided by a set of fundamental principles...These principles are not a set of rigid standards for conducting and evaluating individual studies, but rather are a set of norms enforced by the community of researchers that shape scientific understanding.

This conversation is an opportunity for reform-minded educators to interrogate those principles and to gain a deeper understanding of the enterprise of educational research and the politics around it. Using the language of Deweys Logic: The Theory of Inquiry (1938), this conversation revolves around the question: What counts as a warranted knowledge claim in education?

Conversational Practice:
I have read the Pocket Guide to Probing Questions, so I should be good ;-) Seriously, the current plan is to have participants work through an actual article or report that they can hold up to the fundamental principles of scientific research in education. Thus, there's a "hands-on" component to the session along with reporting out and whole-group discussion.


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