On the two cultures of educational research, and how we might move ahead: Reconsidering the ontology, axiology and praxeology of education

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Abstract

In this paper I focus on a split within the field of educational research between those who approach education as an activity or practice governed by cause–effect relationships and those who see education as a human event of communication, meaning making and interpretation. Rather than just arguing against the former and in favour of the latter view, I outline a way forward in which the question of how education works and how it can be made to work better is considered a legitimate question, but where the answer to this question takes into consideration the specific nature of educational processes and practices. In order to do so I explore the ontology, the axiology and the praxeology of education through a discussion of the question of how education actually works (ontology), the question of what education might work for (axiology), and the question of what this means for making education work and making it work better in the everyday practice of teaching (praxeology). I preface this discussion with observations about the differing ways in which education as a field of academic scholarship has developed in Europe, in order to highlight that ‘educational research’ exists in at least two distinctively different configurations, and to show how the way in which the field has established itself in the German-speaking world might provide helpful resources for conceiving of educational research in a more educational manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-22
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Educational Research Journal
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Two cultures
  • complexity
  • educational judgement
  • praxeology
  • axiology
  • educational research, educational technology, educational ontology

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