00 SES 06, The Importance of Contextualising Educational Research: What is the European Dimension?
The EERA mission statement affirms that: “High quality research not only acknowledges its own context but also recognises wider, transnational contexts with their social, cultural and political similarities and differences” (EERA). This has been a founding principle for an association that encompasses over 35 national and regional educational research associations, each with its own particular history and character. While this axiom clearly emphasises the importance to contextualise research, the degree to which educational research, and particularly its findings, are considered in the light of national, regional or local characteristics, varies strongly. Certain conference papers and research articles neglect any context, implicitly assuming that the mechanisms analysed are universal in time and space. Others describe the spatial and historical context of their research in detail. There also seems to be a disciplinary divide here with educational research papers with a sociological or socio-psychological background being more likely to follow a strong contextual perspective, and papers with a psychological or cognition science focus emphasising context to a lower extent.
Against this background, this session has two objectives: First, the participants will reflect and discuss on the importance of considering contexts in educational research from different disciplinary perspectives. Do we all need to focus on context to the same extent? When does contextualisation appear to be essential? Are there even research issues that do not need to be contextualised? Second, this EERA session taps on a key question of this association – the European dimension. What is the European dimension? What does considering the European dimension in research articles and conference contributions imply? Is the European dimension defined by the EU and its commitment to a collective political project, Europe as a geographical entity, or single European countries with distinctive educational histories and outlooks who operate merely as good neighbours. How does this dimension relate to global, national, regional and local levels of analysis?
The session is conceptualised in terms of a round-table discussion with a strong participation of the audience. In the first part, five different round-table contributors, speaking from their own disciplinary backgrounds (Sociology, Educational Sciences, Psychology, History, Cognitive Science), will consider what “contextualising” research means in their own context and the part this plays in developing a rich educational research community across national boundaries. This is followed by a discussion of above-mentioned questions within the round-table and beyond. In the second part, each of the round-table participants briefly mentions what the European dimensions means to her or him. In a next step, all participants discuss about the European dimensions. A final step of the EERA session is dedicated to a summary of the discussion considering both issues – contextualisation in general, European dimension in particular.
European Educational Research Association. EERA Mission Statement. Online: https://eera-ecer.de/about-eera/
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