Guest editors' introduction to special theme issue [of International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning]: Doctoral designers: challenges and opportunities in planning and conducting educational research

Henderson, Robyn and Danaher, Patrick Alan (2008) Guest editors' introduction to special theme issue [of International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning]: Doctoral designers: challenges and opportunities in planning and conducting educational research. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 4 (2). pp. 1-5.


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Research methods textbooks (see for example Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007; Johnson & Christensen, 2004; Opie, 2004; Somekh & Lewin, 2005; Wiersma & Jurs, 2004) generally highlight the need for educational research to be rigorous and systematic in character. These characteristics are clearly crucial on a number of levels, from ‘being true’ in representations of research participants to demonstrating the researcher’s competence to offset recurring criticisms of educational research as
fragmented, ideologically biased and/or having little or no effect on practice (Pring, 2004; see also Hammersley, 2002; Scott, 2000; Wellington, 2000).

Despite these injunctions, the planning and conducting of educational research are neither automatic nor easy. On the contrary, every step in the process involves a
complex and sometimes controversial set of decisions and requires the exercise of finely honed judgment about the design and shape of the project. Educational
researchers draw on multiple sources of information and inspiration to frame and inform their negotiations around, past and through these potential shoals. The research
process involves complex navigation of ethical, methodological and political stances to ensure legitimate, trustworthy and hopefully useful findings (see for example
Bridges, 2003; Carmine, 1995; deMarrais & Lapan, 2004; Gold, 1999; Swann & Pratt, 2004; Tabachnick, 1998).

This special theme issue of the International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning is entitled “Doctoral Designers: Challenges and Opportunities in Planning and
Conducting Educational Research”. It presents diverse engagements – by several intending, current and recently graduated doctoral candidates presently associated
with the Faculty of Education at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia – with the processes of planning and conducting educational research. What emerges is a rich array of methodological approaches to research which have been foregrounded as these particular doctoral designers have reflected on and interrogated the
characteristics of doctoral research. Their considerations have focused on what was and what might have been, as well as what was not and will not be, included in their
research. This decision-making about the intentions and impact of doctoral research offers valuable knowledge about the difficult and challenging task of ‘designing’
doctoral study.

Despite the diversity of approaches, contexts and foci revealed in this theme issue, the papers have in common an engagement with one or more of the following organising

 Which issues are most important in making decisions about the planning and conduct of an educational research project?
 Which factors help to facilitate and/or restrict an educational research project’s legitimacy, trustworthiness and utility?
 How can and should educational researchers negotiate with multiple and sometimes competing stakeholders and gatekeepers?
 What are the particular challenges and opportunities of designing doctoral
educational research?

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Authors retain copyright.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2008 05:24
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2014 03:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: educational researchers; educational research
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130199 Education systems not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified

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