23 SES 03 E, Research Policies and the Politics of Research (Part 2)
Paper Session: continued from 23 SES 02 E, to be continued in 23 SES 04 E
The purpose of this study is to illustrate what it might mean to become a researcher in a collaborative project focusing school development. The starting point is two researchers (the authors) stories of the time as doctoral students in a multi-year school research and school development project - School Development as Change of Local Organizations (National Agency for Education 2002) - with multiple parties involved.
Educational research and educational policy have a long and intertwined history, both in a European and Swedish perspective (Ball 2006; Carlgren & Hörnqvist 1999; Fransson & Lundgren 2006). Over time, this interweaving has shifted focus: in the beginning educational, psychological and sociological education research was used in building the welfare state, in recent decades, neo-liberal streams of thought lies behind school reform, focusing on quality, evaluation, leadership and accountability (Ball 2006; Carlgren & Klette 2008; Klette 2002; Ozga 2000).
This management model of today, management by objectives, and its way of steering by remote control, means that ”questions of how” has been provided to the local scene, which places great demands on those working in these local areas (Carlgren & Hörnqvist 1999). In this wake of a more detailed control a gap has occurred, which various actors, consultants and educational researchers claims to fill (Ball 2006; Carlgren och Hörnqvist 1999). It is in this context of collaboration between research and practice this study unfolds, and even if the interweaving of educational research and educational policy is a problematized area (Carlgren & Hörnqvist, 1999; Forsberg, 2012), there are few studies that highlights what implications collaborative projects with both research and normative claims may have for those involved.
For graduate students or researchers in the field of educational science, this can mean a dilemma. Researchers are expected to be and act independently. According to the Higher Education Act (SFS 2013:1117) and Higher Education Ordinance (SFS 1998:1003) research should be conducted objectively without other interests than the scientific. Research must not be conducted tendentiously. At the same time research, according to the public outreach for universities, must make public benefit. How it should be done, however, is negotiable.
We would argue that a collaborative project with claims of both research and practice development represents a special form of research, since it offers a complexity of different implications to relate to. The collaboration project in this study can be seen as a market place for various institutions with somewhat different goals and different professional ideas. Thus, the collaborative project is also a market place for different institutional practices (Angervall, Gustafsson, Lundahl & Silfvers 2013; Öhrn & Lundahl 2013 ), which in turn results in different discursive practices.
Research with more or less utilitarian objectives (eg school development research, action research, practice-based research) sometimes risk becoming normative and evaluative in that it relates uncritically to the discursive practice that scientific activity itself constitutes.On the other hand, research conducted from a more critical angel, which questions the (contemporary) discursive practice, and where education, education policy and education research can be the object of study, is in some cases incused by an almost cynical attitude. The gist of such research sometimes imply that no solution, whether educational, political or scientific training, is up to par, but at the same time nothing else is suggested.
Based on the above our research questions are:
- What does it mean for aspiring and junior researchers in the field of educational science to manage and simultaneously relate to the possibilities and limits of science?
- What might it mean for aspiring or junior researchers in the field of educational science to be critical without being cynical?
Angervall, P., Gustafsson, J., Lundahl, L. och Silfver, E.(2013).Studiens kontext, begreppsram och empiri. I Kön och karriär i akademin: en studie inom det utbildningsvetenskapliga fältet. (p.19-37). Göteborg: Acta universitatis Gothoburgensis. Ball, S. J. (2006). Education policy and social class: The selected works of Stephen J. Ball. London: Routledge. Ball, S.J. (2013). The education debate. (2nd ed.) Bristol: Policy Boström, V. & Lundmark, K. (red.) (2012). Skoljuridik. (3. uppl.) Malmö: Liber Carlgren, I. och Hörnqvist, B. (1999). När inget facit finns – om skolutveckling i en decentraliserad skola. Stockholm: Skolverket. Carlgren, I. och Klette, K. (2008). Reconstructions of Nordic Teachers: Reform policies and teachers' work during the 1990s. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(2), 117-133. Davies, B. & Harré, R.(2007). “Positioning: The discursive production of selves”. In: Athenea Digital. (Athenea Digital, 2007, (12):242-259) Denzin, N.K. (2013). Performance Ethography. Critical Pedagogy and the Politics of Culture. London: Sage. Ellis, C. and Bochner, A.P. (1996). Composing Ethtnography. Alernative Forms of Qualitative Writing. London: Sage. Forsberg, E. (2012). Styrningen av den obligatoriska skolan - mellan stabilitet och förändring. I U. P. Lundgren, R. Säljö, & C. Liberg, (red.), Lärande, skola, bildning: [grundbok för lärare], 2., [rev. och uppdaterad] (p.437-459). Natur & kultur, Stockholm, 2012 Fransson, K. and Lundgren, U.P (2006). Utbildningsvetenskap – ett begrepp och dess sammanhang. Uppsala: The Swedish Research Council. Holmberg, L. (2007). Communication in palliative home care, grief and bereavement. Doctoral thesis, Malmö: Malmö University. Jones, S.H. (2008). Autoethnography: Making the Personal Political. I: N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (red.) (2008).Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. (3. ed.).(ss.205- 245). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. Klette, K. (2002). Reform policy and teacher professionalism in four Nordic countries. Journal of Educational Change 3, 265–282. National Agency for Educattion (2002). Överenskommelse (Dnr 84–2002:1 096). Stockholm: Skolverket. Neuman, M. (1996). Collecting ourselves at the end of the century. In C Ellis & A.P. Bochner, A.P. (red.) (1996). Composing ethnography: alternative forms of qualitative writing. (p.172- 198). London: Sage. Ozga, J. (2000). Policy research in educational settings: Contested terrain. Philadelphia: Open University Press. Öhrn, E. and Lundahl, L. (2013). Kön och karriär i akademin: en studie inom det utbildningsvetenskapliga fältet. (2013). Göteborg: Acta universitatis Gothoburgensis.
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