E891: Activity 1.11 The assessment of research

How do you relate the different types of research to the categories indicated by Bassey and Ball?

The TLRP briefing lists a number of types of research, but these are driven by ultimate purpose/audience rather than philosophical categories.  There is some overlap between the TLRP briefing categories and Bassey’s pluralist conception of educational research.  The TLRP briefing does not include a holistic definition of what educational research is, but the the number of types identified indicates that the authors are thinking broadly in terms of what the discipline encompasses.  However, the idea of educational research being on a journey is not strongly reflected in the TLRP briefing categories.  The categories in the TLRP briefing do, however, identify practice-based research as a separate type, in common with Bassey’s ideas of personal theories etc.

I think linking the TLRP briefing and Ball is more difficult.  Some of the TLRP identified categories appear to fall within policy science – for example project evaluation etc.  However, most of the detailed lists of criteria include theoretical basis/framework as something reviewers/funders are looking for, so the policy scholarship ideas of Ball appear to be reflected and privileged here as well.

Where do the other articles you have read fit into the frameworks presented in the TLRP briefing?

Gao and Shu (2010) – published journal article but elements of the developmental/practice-based research framework.  The paper doesn’t have a particularly strong theoretical framework and it is focused on an issue identified in practice and policy recommendations relating to this issue.

Edwards, Sebba and Rickinson (2007) – published journal article but there is an element of project evaluation of the strand of the TLRP that these authors are writing about, and its wider implications for collaborative working between academic researchers and practitioners.  It therefore has potential relevance for future practice-based and developmental research studies.

TLRP ‘Improving working as learning’ (2008) – I found this difficult to fit neatly into the frameworks.  It appears to be partly project evaluation, but also practice-based research.

Do the evaluation criteria also reflect the different categories?

There is overlap between the criteria but they are tailored to the overall purpose and audience within each category.  I think that the research process led to development of ‘shopping lists’ of criteria.  What is not evident in the briefing is the relative emphasis on  tindividual criteria within each category.  For example – theoretical framework is mentioned in a number of the lists, but there is no indication of its importance in journal published articles vs practice-based research, for example.  I think that the ‘bar’ for theoretical robustness would be higher in journal published articles than in practice-based research, even though I would expect both types of research to be informed by theory.  


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