ERG SES G 12, Research in Higher Education
Service-Learning methodology (S-L) emerges as an effective educational tool at the curricular level which meets the international standards required to university students. Furthermore, it collaborates in the achievement of a broad, ethical, committed and fair education (Aramburuzabala, 2018) and, at the same time, it acts as a pedagogical facilitator in moral and character education (Fuentes & López, 2018). That is why over the last few years the interest in S-L has been growing exponentially in all educational scenes. The growing interest and development is reflected at the proliferation of publications on educational research in S-L, the organization of congresses, conferences, meetings, courses, awards, as well as the creation of networks, institutionalization processes and national and international research projects.
S-L L gets into the university at international level with strength since this educative tool provides to this institution the ability to take care of the reality that is outside of it, constructing a direct relation with it and assuming the social responsibility that is inherent to the university (Campo, 2010), approaching the needs of their environment and providing solutions to their needs and problems (Álvarez, Martínez, González & Buenestado, 2017). Dewey (1988) appears as an important antecedent of the educational history because a century ago he affirmed the importance of linking education to social needs, since it is the way to prepare students to live in society.
This phenomenon causes an overwhelming increase of the information that makes necessary an analysis of the method and direction of this high development, its research trends and the challenges that are emerging. However, these analyses are still scarce. One of the most important preceding analysis is made by Furco (2004) who did an interesting work about the S-L contributions. In Spain, Opazo, Ramírez, García-Peinado and Lorite (2015) did a meta-analysis work about ethical contributions of S-L to the training of university students.
These investigations of synthetic methodology collaborate in the progress of an area of knowledge that is growing and provide a transversal knowledge that makes S-L remain (Botella and Zamora, 2017, Glass, 2016, Sánchez-Meca and Botella, 2010). This is a vital topic for a methodology that has as last aim the achievement of an educational and social change.
Therefore, the following study aims to investigate the S-L areas of educational research in Spain through a systematic review of the scientific production about S-L published in the Spanish journals with the highest impact from its first appearance to the present.
As the objective of this research is to synthesize the current situation of the S-L research and its evolution in Spain, this study has been done with the methodology of systematic review. This methodology consists of summarizing in an objective and rigorous way the results of certain studies. This review is done following the phases indicated by Sánchez-Meca and Botella (2010). The first of the phases consists of formulating the problem, in this case, analysing the trajectory and the current situation of the most relevant Spanish S-L research. Next, journals indexed in 2017 are selected in the Journal Citation Report (JCR), Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) databases and those journals that have obtained the seal of quality in the evaluation calls of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). Those journals have been selected because of their relevance and impact in the field of educational research. Later, studies that have in their title, keywords or abstract certain previously defined search terms are selected to codify them. Consecutively, the studies are codified according to the variables we want to analysed. Finally, in this revision 57 studies extracted from 50 journals and published between 2003 and 2018 are analysed. From this analysis, results are concluded on four categories of variables: extrinsic variables to the scientific process, methodological variables, variables referred to the participants of the S-L projects and variables related to the aspects researched in these projects.
This research confirms the development and the institutional strengthening of this methodology in educational communities around Spain. In this increase, a special development related with Higher Education is showed. Over 90% of the authors (mostly women) come from universities. This fact links with the distance we still have between the university and the educational realities and its needs. S-L collaborates, in a slow way, in shortening this distance through the links that makes between different educational communities. Most of the analysed studies are theoretical-empirical with non-experimental designs. Because of these methodological aspects, it’s impossible to make a meta-analysis work with these researches. In relation to the S-L projects that appears analysed in these studies, it’s showed the prevalence of the university compared to others educational institutions, since most of the project participants are university students that study school teaching or pedagogy. Besides, there’s a lack of projects related with Secondary School students and university studies of Social Education. Moreover, the learning research takes precedence over the service one: the variables most researched are linked with personal, social, academic and professional development in the participants; the variables related with community development are minority studied. Thus, the incorporation of Social Education students and other university studies together with the deepening in aspects related with the community service, appear as an emerging challenge in the S-L projects research. Lastly, some limitations are relevant on this study. On one hand, the possible existence of studies published outside of the search terms used. On the other hand, the non-revision of studies that are published abroad. Maybe the incorporation of these international studies to the research could make possible the achievement of a meta-analytic study, whose conclusions could be very enriching.
Álvarez, J. L., Martínez, M. J., González, H. & Buenestado,0020M. (2017). El aprendizaje servicio en la formación del profesorado de las universidades españolas. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 75 (267), 199-217. Annette, J. (2005). Character, Civic Renewal and Service Learning for Democratic Citizenship in Higher Education. British Journal of Educational Studies, 53(3), 326-340. Aramburuzabala, P. (2018). ¿Por qué funciona el Aprendizaje-Servicio? En C. Naval y E. Arbués (Coords.), Hacer la Universidad en el espacio social (pp. 77-96). Pamplona: Eunsa. Batlle, R. (2013). El Aprendizaje-Servicio en España: el contagio de una revolución pedagógica necesaria. Madrid: PPC. Botella, J. y Zamora, Á. (2017). El meta-análisis: una metodología para la investigación en educación. Educación XX1, 20(2), 17-38. Campo, L. (2010). Aprendizaje servicio y responsabilidad social de las universidades. En M. Martínez (Ed.), El aprendizaje servicio en la universidad como propuesta pedagógica (pp. 81-91). Barcelona: Octaedro. Dewey, J. (1899). The School and Society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Fuentes, J. L. & López, E. El aprendizaje-servicio como estrategia metodológica de la educación del carácter: posibilidades y complementariedades. En C. Naval y E. Arbués (Coords.), Hacer la Universidad en el espacio social (pp. 53-75). Pamplona: EUNSA. Furco, A. (2003). El impacto educacional del aprendizaje servicio ¿Qué sabemos a partir de la investigación? Disponible en http://roserbatlle.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/resultats-investigacio-aps-furco-modo-de-compatibilidad.pdf García-Gutiérrez, J., Ruiz Corbella, M. y del Pozo, A. (2017). Developing Civic Engagement in Distance Higher Education. A Case Study of Virtual Service-Learning (vSL) Programme in Spain. Open Praxis, 9(2), 235-244. Glass, G. V. (2016). One hundred years of research: Prudent aspirations. Educational Researcher, 45(2), 69-72. Martínez, M. (Ed.) (2008). Aprendizaje servicio y responsabilidad social de las universidades. Barcelona: Octaedro. Opazo, H., Ramírez, C. García-Peinado, R. y Lorite, M. (2015). La ética en el Aprendizaje-Servicio (APS): Un meta-análisis a partir de Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). Profesorado, Revista de Currículum y Formación del Profesorado, 19(1), 144-175. Puig, J. M., Gijón, M., Martín, X. y Rubio. L. (2011). Aprendizaje-Servicio y Educación para la Ciudadanía. Revista de Educación, nº extraordinario, 45-67. Sánchez-Meca, J. y Botella, J. (2010). Revisiones sistemáticas y meta-análisis: herramientas para la práctica profesional. Papeles del Psicólogo, 31(1), 7-17. Santos Rego, M. A.; Sotelino, A. y Lorenzo, M. (2015). Aprendizaje-servicio y misión cívica de la universidad. Una propuesta de desarrollo. Barcelona: Octaedro. Tapia, M. N. (2001). La solidaridad como pedagogía. El “aprendizaje-servicio” en la escuela. Buenos Aires: Ciudad Nueva.
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