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Education Blog: Pedagogic research methods: An analysis of the methodological traditions in the UK and Netherlands

This study was inspired as a response to an Erasmus Mobility Grant to the Netherlands. Anecdotal conversations with colleagues there led to a discussion about the different approaches being taken in conducting pedagogical research in the UK and the Netherlands. In order to ascertain if these impressions of different epistemological and ontological stances were borne out by evidence, a content analysis of three higher education pedagogic journals was undertaken. The analysis addressed the main research question: ‘To what extent are the methodological positions in pedagogic research different in the UK and Netherlands?’ The initial focus was on assessment research in Higher Education, but this was extended to pedagogic research in Higher Education to obtain enough studies to draw inferences from. The journals analysed were ‘Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education’ (2014-2016), ‘Studies in Higher Education’ (2012-2016) and ‘European Journal of Teacher Education’ (2006 – 2016). The journals chosen all had an international scope and were happy to accept both empirical qualitative and quantitative research. The research reported was then categorised as using qualitative, quantitative or mixed- methods. The type/s of data analysis were also used to indicate the approach that had been taken. Studies that compared a number of countries including the UK or the Netherlands were also counted. The analysis could have been strengthened with the use of peer-debriefing (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Arguably the type of data collected and reported shaped the interpretations of reliability and validity and can therefore be used as a shorthand for understanding how reality is understood.

Click here to read more of Dr Sam Shields' blog post. 

published on: 11 November 2016