04 SES 11 D, The Relation between Theory, Methods, and Practice in Qualitative Inclusive Education Research
The research workshop aims at bringing together researchers involved in inclusive education research from four universities in two European countries. They are all conducting research projects with the attempt to analyse and understand conditions for building inclusive schools and the enhancement of vulnerable students’ participation in educational institutions. This comprises questions of teacher professionalism, collaboration, school development, and school-family-relations.
The four research groups and their projects are:
A) “The missing link in collaborative processes in relation to inclusive school development”.
The research project ‘Approaching Inclusion’ investigates how teachers and other educators in Danish public schools through their work and collaboration handle both inclusion and exclusion processes in order to construct a social order, representing rules, norm, meaning and routines. And how it has an impact on inclusive school development.
B) “Who is who in the inclusive school: Team meetings”.
This research project takes a closer look at team meetings, asking how the multiprofessional team members, consisting of teachers, special educators and paraprofessionals, establish their coordination of actions.
C) “Who is who in the inclusive school: Practice of cooperation in inclusive classes”.
The project is interested in the practices of collaboration, differentiation and segregation of pedagogical professionals in inclusive education and teaching.
D) “Who is who in the inclusive school: Parental involvement within the triangular cooperation between teachers, parents, and teacher assistants”.
This project draws on the irritation of the relation between teachers, students and parents provoked by the new implementation of paraprofessionals in German inclusive schools.
The research workshop focuses on the specific forms in which theoretical approaches and concepts as well as the methods applied in the research process relate to the constitution of the object of research. Within the broad paradigm of qualitative methods of social research, actual methodological attempts conceptualise this relation as a complex and intertwined one (Kalthoff 2008, 10, 18; Kreitz, Miethe & Tervooren 2016, 9). While Böhme (2016, 128) emphasises the constitutive and methodological relevance of the theoretical ties within the triad of theory, object of research, and methods, Dinkelacker, Meseth, Neumann and Rabenstein (2016, 15) highlight the potential of empirical research to irritate hidden constellations of epistemological, methodological, and methodical preconditions of the understanding of pedagogical phenomena. Nohl (2016, 119) describes a reflexive and circular relation between theory and empirical analysis in reconstructive research, and another new approach with far reaching methodological implications in educational research stems from the reception of practice theory (Budde, Bittner, Bossen & Rißler 2018).
As a contribution to this ongoing debate, the proposed research workshop will compare the different conceptualisations of the relation between theory, methodology, methods, and object of research in four research projects conducted in similar fields of inclusive education research. Within this comparison, the question of how these conceptualizations implicitly or explicitly relate scientific knowledge and knowledge in practical contexts – like school organization, classroom interaction, or instructional processes – will be a central dimension.
The research workshop will consist of three sections. First, the four projects will describe their conceptualisation of the interrelations between theory, methods, and practice (35 minutes). Secondly, each research group will comment about the theory-methods-practice-relation conceptualised within the three other research projects (25 minutes). Thirdly, the discussion will be opened for the interested audience (30 minutes).
Research project A: Our approach to fieldwork is influenced by ethnomethodology (Goffmann, 1964), grounded theory (Clarke, 2005), symbolic interactionism (Becker, 1998) discourse theory (Laclau and Mouffe 1985) and ANT (Latour 2005), working inductively through five interrelated phases: • Fieldwork: Observing twelve classrooms for one week each (2nd and 8th), (video, field notes), and 72 different meetings (audio recording, field notes). In our observations, we challenged ourselves to be curious and surprised in order to disturb our implicit perspectives. 27 interviews • Mapping data in order to identify general tendencies • Bottom-up conceptualizing • Bottom-up theorizing collaboration and collaborative processes • Analyzing constructed concepts and theory through general theory Research project B: In this research project, multiprofessional teams were asked to record their meetings during a period of several weeks. This data is now being analysed according to Jan Kruse’s “Integrative analysis method” (2015), combining sequential reconstructive procedures with heuristic approaches relevant to the epistemological interest such as positioning or agency. First results point at how the team coordination is linked to questions of hierarchy and the manner in which work assignments are being given within the team. Research project C: Project C is based on a practice theory approach. The focus is on social practices that are understood as a nexus of activities. The order of practices is formed by organizational items. Particular importance is attached to the materiality of activities. The practices of cooperation are ethnographically observed in the classroom. The field protocols are evaluated with the help of the GTM. The main methodological interest lies in the question of how Practice theory can be applied empirically in a meaningful and knowledge-generating way. Research project D: This research project bases on a GTM-oriented approach, applying focus groups in three schools, followed by three-month field investigations in these schools. Episodic interviews with teachers, teacher assistants, and parents as well as focused ethnography have been conducted, and different coding, memo, and integrating strategies have been used. The main methodological interest of this project lies in the question of how postmodern and systems theoretical perspectives can be integrated into a research process inspired by GTM methodology.
With regard to the different local cultures of doing qualitative research in Europe described by Knoblauch, Flick, and Meader (2005), the research workshop aims at providing a space to reflect on some basic methodological questions within a European scientific context. The closely related, nevertheless slightly different research designs and topics of the research projects of the four contributing working groups create the possibility of comparison and dialogue with regard to these fundamental methodological questions. Thereby, a deeper and more detailed understanding of the complex relation between theory, methodology, methods, object of research, and practice shall be gained.
Böhme, J. (2016). Trends, Mythen und Standards qualitativ-rekonstruktiver Forschung – Plädoyer für ein Comeback des methodologischen Scharfsinns der Methodenschul-Ära. In: Kreitz, R., Miethe, I., & Tervooren, A. (Eds.), Theorien in der qualitativen Bildungsforschung–Qualitative Bildungsforschung als Theoriegenerierung (123-136). Opladen, Berlin & Toronto: Verlag Barbara Budrich. Budde, J., Bittner, M., Bossen, A., & Rißler, G. (Eds.). Konturen praxistheoretischer Erziehungswissenschaft. Weinheim & Basel: Beltz Juventa. Dinkelaker, J., Meseth, W., Neumann, S., & Rabenstein, K. (2016). Die Erziehungswissenschaft, ihr Gegenstand und ihre Empirie. Sondierungen im Spannungsfeld von traditionellen Kontroversen und reflexiver Empirisierung. In: Meseth, W., Dinkelaker, J., Neumann, S., & Rabenstein, K. (Eds.), Empirie des Pädagogischen und Empirie der Erziehungswissenschaft. Beobachtungen erziehungswissenschaftlicher Forschung (13-30). Bad Heilbrunn: Julius Klinkhardt, S,. Kalthoff, H. (2008). Einleitung: Zur Dialektik von qualitativer Forschung und soziologischer Theoriebildung. In: Kalthoff, H., Hirschauer, S., & Lindemann, G. (Eds.), Theoretische Empirie. Zur Relevanz qualitativer Forschung, (8-32). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Knoblauch, H.; Flick, U. & Maeder, C. (2005). Qualitative Methods in Europe: The Variety of Social Research [10 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(3), Art. 34, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0503342. Kreitz, R., Miethe, I., & Tervooren, A. (2016). Einleitung. In: Kreitz, R., Miethe, I., & Tervooren, A. (Eds.), Theorien in der qualitativen Bildungsforschung–Qualitative Bildungsforschung als Theoriegenerierung (7-17). Opladen, Berlin & Toronto: Verlag Barbara Budrich. Kruse, J. (2014). Qualitative Interviewforschung: Ein integrativer Ansatz. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa. Nohl, A.M. (2016). Grundbegriffe und empirische Analysen als wechselseitige Spiegel: Potentiale eines reflexiven Verhältnisses zwischen Grundlagentheorie und rekonstruktiver Empirie. In: Kreitz, R., Miethe, I., & Tervooren, A. (Eds.), Theorien in der qualitativen Bildungsforschung–Qualitative Bildungsforschung als Theoriegenerierung (105-122). Opladen, Berlin & Toronto: Verlag Barbara Budrich.
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