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Qualitative Methods for Gender and Education Research in Brazil  

Marília Carvalho

Qualitative research predominate in Brazilian studies on gender and education. This article points that these methodologies contribute to this field as powerful tools that break the naturalization of gender relations, uncovering the subtle forms of gender inequality in everyday life and highlighting the social construction of gender. The common effort in ethnographies to make strange what is familiar are useful in overcoming these pitfalls. Qualitative methodologies are also important in the construction of contextual analyses that avoid essentialist statements about men and women as fixed universal notions, a frequent bias in gender studies. Latin American research on gender in education has used these principles with good results and this article offers some examples, developed mainly in Brazil. It also suggests researchers use qualitative methodologies to link gender to other social determinations such as class and race, in an intersectional perspective. The challenge of constructing intersectionality finds in qualitative research methods a powerful ally because it allows investigators to understand how each form of inequality combines with the other, creating new meanings. The article also stresses that analysis based on qualitative data may help break the dichotomies between social structures and individual action, fostering the understanding of the simultaneity between actions of the subjects and social determination, between change and permanence, between individuals and society. Finally, the conclusion draws attention to the need for greater dialogue between quantitative and qualitative research in the area of gender and education studies, opening space for issues highlighted in statistical analysis to be explored in qualitative research, which in turn might generate new questions to be investigated in macro-social databases.


Qualitative Research on Educational Technology in Latin America  

Vani Moreira Kenski and Gilberto Lacerda Santos

Important changes have taken place in the field of educational technology over the last few decades due to leaps in informatics, the explosive growth of the use of computers in schools, and the popularization of the Internet as a tool for teaching and learning. This scenario demands a broader understanding of the educational potential of new resources and didactic materials available to schools and innovative modes of individual and collective action in an increasingly digital society. Such changes have been faster since the start of the 21st century, which saw increased interest in educational technologies and many researchers orienting their studies to the modus operandi of the process of teaching and learning mediated by various types of digital technologies, be they presential, non-presential, hybrid, mobile, collaborative, cooperative, interactive, individualized, assistive, active, ubiquitous, and so on. With this, research in the field of educational technology has been consolidated and has begun to adopt methods of qualitative research that take account of this diversity of objects. This article seeks to point out the contributions of qualitative research methodologies in the formatting of this field of knowledge in Latin America. This is based on an examination of the most widely used scientific journals in the region, drawing on almost 100 articles published between 2016 and 2017. The analysis indicates that educational technology is evolving in Latin America, mainly due to the continuous and accelerated advance of digital information, communication, and expression technologies (DICETs). At the same time, there remains a great lack of scientific journals in the area, an issue that must be addressed given the strategic importance of this field of knowledge for the universalization of education in Latin America. Peer-reviewed journals have prioritized studies based on research and development (R&D) methods that emphasize media engineering for education and have a predominance of case studies. But they also present research problems related to qualitative issues that arise from the use of DICETs in specific teaching and learning situations. The scenario under analysis shows that research in this area has gradually evolved from a strongly technical perspective to a humanist one through qualitative analyses focusing on the limits and possibilities of DICETs. Thus, they raise important clues for future research, such as the challenges of adopting collaborative and interdisciplinary research approaches aimed at better understanding the processes and educational relations mediated by technologies; the new possibilities of hybrid education that can be addressed in different school contexts; and the question of teacher training for this new scenario. Such developments are crucial for advancing knowledge about educational technology in Latin America.


Science Education in Classrooms and Qualitative Research in Latin America  

Antonia Candela and Gabriela Naranjo

There are several different ways of understanding ethnography. On one extreme there are studies that use certain “ethnographic techniques” for practice observation, and on the other, there is the assumption that it is a complex theoretical-methodological framework that implies an ideological, political, and sociocultural approach, in order to describe the perspective of the participants. A third perspective seeks to broaden the understanding of the complex construction of scientific knowledge in the classroom. Surveys can unearth a clear tension between the etic and emic approaches, each one related to the theoretical-methodological allegiances of their researchers which can be modified somewhat through their findings. A future inquiry into the complex and heterogeneous contexts of Latin American classrooms can suggest a way to bridge macro with micro contexts of different socioeconomic and cultural and political conditions. Other growing topics that could be developed more thoroughly in the future are, for example, the multimodality of communication processes within the classroom, and studies on scientific education from an intercultural perspective, particularly considering the debt we have with the 50 million indigenous people in our region in taking into account their cultural perspectives and contributions to knowledge.


Teacher Participation and Pedagogical Research in the Educational Sphere  

Daniel Hugo Suárez

Narrative documentation of pedagogical experiences is an alternative and emergent focus of educational research that promotes teacher participation in the processes of research-training-action in the educational field and seeks to make the relationships it configures between power and knowledge more horizontal. Theoretical, methodological, and epistemic-political criteria inform the rules of composition and the validation of constructed pedagogical knowledge, and this methodological framework organizes narrative and autobiographical practices so that educators can reflect on and rename the pedagogical environments they inhabit. Additionally, educators can engage in a series of peer-critique reading-writing exercises that are focused on revising different versions of recounting pedagogical experiences. Moreover, the pedagogical field has a democratizing potential due to the public nature and specialized circulation of these narrative documents.


Archives and Qualitative Research in Education (from Foucault and Bourdieu’s Approaches)  

Dora Marín-Diaz, Flávia Schilling, and Julio Groppa Aquino

This article focuses on the proposal of archival research in qualitative educational research. Based on the assumption that, in this context, different paths are available to the researcher, the question of how to select relevant sources in order to provide singular approaches to the issues at stake arises. More specifically, when conducting qualitative research in education how can the archives be navigated? To that end, the article begins with the notion of sociological imagination drawn from the work of Charles Wright Mills, in conjunction with Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology; for the latter, the construction of the object of investigation was based on a system of objective relations. Next, the archaegenealogical perspective of Michel Foucault is examined; for him the archive is the instance that governs the emergence of discourses. In both cases, the goal is for the researcher to glean certain insights from the surface of what is said, critically describing the functioning of discourse around the problem investigated according to its dispersion among different practices, which in turn are responsible for giving form to the objects to which the researcher dedicates himself. Rather than a methodology per se, the notion of the archive defended here, without any prescriptive intention, describes a specific way of conducting qualitative investigation marked by originality and critical accuracy.


Critical Discourse Analysis and Information and Communication Technology in Education  

Cheryl Brown

Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a cross-disciplinary methodological and theoretical approach. At its core CDA explores the intersections between discourse, critique, power, and ideology which hold particular values for those teaching in developing contexts. CDA has emerged as a valuable methodological approach in cultural and media studies and has increased in prominence since the 2010s in education research where it is drawn on to explore educational policy, literacy education, and identity. This research has intersected with the field of information systems which has explored the dominant discourses and discursive practice of how information and communication technologies (ICTs) are viewed in policy and the contradictions between rhetoric and reality. It has also been drawn on in research in developing contexts to critique the role of ICTs in education. A brief historical background to CDA and overview of the key components of the approach will be provided. How CDA has been drawn on in educational studies will be examined and research on CDA will be highlighted to explore discursive practices of students and the influence of students’ digital identities on their engagement with and experience of online learning. By focusing on four key constructs of CDA—namely meaning, context, identity, and power—the potential of CDA to critically investigate how students’ are constructing their technological identity in an increasingly digital world will be demonstrated, particularly as examples of research emanating from developing contexts will be drawn.


Drama and Learning  

Anton Franks

As ways of making meaning in drama strongly resemble the ways that meanings are made in everyday social life, forms of drama learn from everyday life and, at a societal level, people in everyday life learn from drama. Through history, from the emergence of drama in Western culture, the learning that results at a societal level from the interactions of everyday social life and drama have been noted by scholars. In contemporary culture, electronic and digitized forms of mediation and communication have diversified its content and massively expanded its audiences. Although there are reciprocal relations between everyday life and drama, aspects of everyday life are selected and shaped into the various cultural forms of drama. Processes of selection and shaping crystallize significant aspects of everyday social relations, allowing audiences of and participants in drama to learn and to reflect critically on particular facets of social life. In the 20th century, psychological theories of learning have been developed, taking note of the sociocultural relationships between drama, play, and learning. Learning in and through drama is seen as being socially organized, whole person learning that mobilizes and integrates the bodies and minds of learners. Making signs and meanings through various forms of drama, it is interactive, experiential learning that is semiotically mediated via physical activity. Alongside the various forms of drama that circulate in wider culture, sociocultural theories of learning have also influenced drama pedagogies in schools. In the later part of the 20th century and into the 21st century, drama practices have diversified and been applied as a means of learning in a range of community- and theater-based contexts outside of schooling. Practices in drama education and applied drama and theater, particularly since the late 20th century and into the early 21st century, have been increasingly supported by research employing a range of methods, qualitative, quantitative, and experimental.


Feminist Theory and Its Use in Qualitative Research in Education  

Emily Freeman

Feminist theory rose in prominence in educational research during the 1980s and experienced a resurgence in popularity during the late 1990s−2010s. Standpoint epistemologies, intersectionality, and feminist poststructuralism are the most prevalent theories, but feminist researchers often work across feminist theoretical thought. Feminist qualitative research in education encompasses a myriad of methods and methodologies, but projects share a commitment to feminist ethics and theories. Among the commitments are the understanding that knowledge is situated in the subjectivities and lived experiences of both researcher and participants and research is deeply reflexive. Feminist theory informs both research questions and the methodology of a project in addition to serving as a foundation for analysis. The goals of feminist educational research include dismantling systems of oppression, highlighting gender-based disparities, and seeking new ways of constructing knowledge.


Pacific Research Methodologies and Relational Ethics  

Melani Anae

One could easily argue that Pacific research methodologies (PRM) and Pacific relational ethics (PRE) are not new: a genealogy of approach would take one back to the ancient Pacific philosophers and practitioners of ancient indigenous knowledges—indeed back to Tagaloa-a-lagi and the 10 heavens. However, in the last two decades, there has been a renaissance of PRM and PRE taken up by Pacific researchers based in New Zealand and the wider Pacific to counter the Western hegemonic tradition of how research is carried out and why—especially research involving Pacific people, families, and communities. In the diaspora, as ethnic minorities and in their island homes, as Third World nations, Pacific peoples and communities are struggling to survive in contexts of diasporic social marginalization and a neocolonial globalizing West. So there is a need to take stock of what contemporary expressions of PRM and PRE are, how they have developed, and why they are needed. This renaissance seeks to decolonize and reindigenise research agendas and research outputs by doing research based on Pacific indigenous theories, PRM, and PRE. It demands that research carried out with Pacific peoples and communities is ethical and methodologically sound with transformational outputs. In reality, the crisis in Pacific research is the continuing adherence to traditional Western theories and research methods that undermine and overshadow the va—the sacred, spiritual, and social spaces of human relationships between researcher and researched that Pacific peoples place at the center of all human/environment/cosmos/ancestors and animate/inanimate interactions. When human relationships are secondary to research theories and methods, the research result is ineffective and meaningless and misinforms policy formation and education delivery, thereby maintaining the inequitable positioning of Pacific peoples across all demographic indices, especially in the field of Pacific education. The Samoan indigenous reference of teu le va, which means to value, nurture, and care for (teu) the secular/sacred and social/spiritual spaces (va) of all relationships, and Teu le Va , the Ministry of Education research guideline, both evoke politicians, educational research institutions, funders, and researchers to value, nurture, and, if necessary, tidy up the va. In a troubling era of colonizing research methodologies and researcher nonaccountability, Pacific educational researchers can take inspiration from a range of philosophical theorizing based on the development of a suite of PRMs.


Poetic Approaches to Qualitative Data Analysis  

Qiana M. Cutts and M. Billye Sankofa Waters

Poetic inquiry, an increasingly popularized form of arts-based research, is an expressive and evocative method and methodology, where the lines of responsibility and roles assumed of a researcher mandate that the researcher is a social science and expressive artist. It is defined broadly as a reseach process and research product. As a process, poetic inquiry is the foundation of or central component to research endeavors where poetry can be the data source, the analytical and interpretative lenses, and/or the presentation. As a product, poetic inquiry results in poems singularly constructed by the researcher or participants or collaboratively crafted with both researcher and participants using notes, transcripts, memos, documents, texts, and so on. While all research is the interpretation of one voice through yet another voice, poetic inquiry offers the opportunity for participants to truly speak for themselves. The emergence of poetry within arts-based research is connected not only to the overall increase in arts-based practices but also to broader epistemological and theoretical insights such as those posed by postmodern and post-structural theory. As such, feminist and other politically motivated researchers may be interested in the transformational possibilities of poetry, as poetry can be a vehicle through which the patriarchal suffocation of research can be challenged. Thus, many researchers utilizing poetic inquiry focus on race, gender, identity, social justice, etc. As with any research, there are methodological and quality-related criticisms of poetic inquiry. However, poetic inquiry researchers acknowledge poetic inquiry is subjective, emotional, complex, connected, and sometimes messy in that it is constantly evolving, influencing, and being influenced by the social world. The quality of poetry used in and presented as poetic inquiry is more of a concern than a critique as arts-based researchers steer clear of promoting the minimized accessibility of poetic inquiry that would be the result of poetic elitism. Nevertheless, poetic inquiry researchers must consider the quality of their poetic inquiry work. They should study the craft of poetry, be aware of the traditions, understand the techniques, and engage in reflection prior to and while conducting any research project. There are a number of considerations to be had regarding the future directions of poetic inquiry. First, poetic inquiry continues to grow and bear fruit. If researchers are to employ convincingly poetic inquiry, they cannot be bound by draconian definitions. Poetic inquiry is not a welcome all for poorly constructed poetry; however, advocating for tightly bound definitions of work that is intended to be exploratory, evocative, and expressive would debilitate the field. Next, while there are some generally accepted and expected practices, there is no mandated linear process one must employ in poetic inquiry. The continued evolution of the poetic inquiry process is expected. Finally, the impact of poetic inquiry has been increasing steadily for at least 15 years as researchers have become more interested in engaging, questioning, refining, and adopting poetic inquiry. A journal dedicated specifically to defining, exploring, and presenting poetic inquiry could further this impact.