‘Noisy, fallible and biased though it be’ (on the Vagaries of Educational Research)

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Scholarship in education beyond school has developed largely outside university departments of education, and has rarely engaged systematically with the study of education in schools. The paper concentrates on three areas: adult education, higher education, and further education. The development of the extra-mural tradition meant that adult education was less an object of scholarly study than a means of spreading scholarship to the wider population, with important exceptions such as historical studies. Since the 1970s, the volume of research and postgraduate education in adult education in British universities has grown considerably. The study of higher education was marginal until the 1960s; its subsequent development was relatively slow until the 1990s, when the quality of university teaching came under wider external scrutiny. The study of further education and vocational training is characterised by disciplinary fragmentation, with much activity taking place in departments of psychology, economics, sociology and management, as well as in those former polytechnics that specialised in training further education teachers. The rise of integrative concepts such as lifelong learning suggest greater potential for cross-disciplinary scholarship that can engage the diverse body of those interested in teaching and research about this field.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8527.t01-1-00195

Affiliations: Pedagogiska institutionen, UmeƄ University, Sweden

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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