Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Inconclusive Conclusions

“First, we think education can only benefit from a lot more research… Second, we think education can only benefit from a reduction in applied research – and, particularly, contract research – that aims to provide pedagogical ‘quick fixes’… Finally, we think teachers should be encouraged to engage in research of digitally mediated social practices… (Larson & Marsh, 2005, 98). I find it frustrating that educational theorists offer research and case studies, but never specify recommendations in their conclusions. Conclusions are always the same: more money and more research. Educators read theory and research articles to maintain a current understanding of contemporary educational practices. Usually the conclusions are generic and inconclusive, as Larson and Marsh suggest. I agree that we need to avoid the quick fixes, but is it possible to make a few specific suggestions? It seems as though researchers tend to avoid subjectivity. If future research disagrees with their conclusions, then at least we will know what to avoid doing. Deductive and inductive arguments are valuable. Theorists need to start taking more risks, for the benefit of all educators, not just their own scholarly reputations.

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