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Gowin's Knowledge Vee and the Integration of Philosophy and Methodology: A Case Study

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Many universities with a strong research tradition have courses or modules examining the tradition's philosophies and methodologies to prepare their students to undertake research programmes. Recently, however, authors have called for wider debate concerning how these courses are taught and this paper aims to make a contribution to this debate. The Research Philosophy and Methodology module examined here has a number of distinctive characteristics. The teaching philosophy is social constructivist and it uses Gowin's Knowledge Vee as its main heuristic device. This facilitates the construction of knowledge concerning philosophy and methodology in an integrated manner. The module has also been designed for both physical and human geography students at the introductory postgraduate level. There is, therefore, a second element of integration in the curriculum. Lastly, the module is predominantly Web-based, being taken by distance students through the exchange agreement between Rhodes University, South Africa and University West, Sweden. Evidence from reflective exercises shows that the learners' understandings of research and the research process has deepened considerably through using Gowin's Vee.

Keywords: Gowin's Vee; Web-based learning; constructivism; curriculum development; research philosophy and methodology

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Rhodes University, South Africa

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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