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Conducting and Interpreting Educational Research: A Postmodern Perspective

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This article outlines some of the possibilities which might be opened up by adopting a postmodern perspective in conducting and interpreting educational research, and considers the implications of such a perspective for educational policy and practice. The argument is set in the context of current moves in the UK towards increasingly prescriptive classroom practice, driven by closely controlled central policies and punitive inspection procedures. The dominance of visuality and performativity in the evaluation of educational practice and the impact of the concept of ‘evidence-based practice’ on educational research are explored. As an alternative to this instrumental approach to research and practice, the postmodern concept of research as a way to produce ‘different knowledge or to produce knowledge differently’ (St. Pierre, 1997a) is endorsed. The way postmodernism challenges existing ideas of certainty, objectivity, validity and truth, using examples from a range of postmodern writers is examined, and the ways of deconstructing both the texts and the textual silences from which education and educational research are constructed are explored.
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Keywords: educational research; epistemology; knowledge; postmodernism; qualitative analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sunderland

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Education and Society provides a forum, where teachers and scholars throughout the world, are able to evaluate current issues and problems in education and society from a balanced and comparative social, cultural and economic perspective.

    Education and Society, a fully refereed journal, is used by teachers, academics, research scholars, educational administrators and graduate students.
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