In a recent Higher Education Supplement article, titled 'Sense and science, and never the twain shall meet' (The Australian, 16 September 1992), Lewis Wolpert bemoans the way in which science is generally misunderstood by non-scientists. Wolpert gives a plausible, though idealised account of the nature of science and its incompatibility with other ways of constructing knowledge about the physical world, especially those regarded as commonsensical.
We would probably want to take issue with Wolpert's disdain for what he terms 'common sense' - but not here. Our immediate concern is with the meaning of the term 'science' and with the question of what forms of science may be right and proper for investigating the human world. It was, of course, just such a conception as Wolpert's which was adopted by European social scientists in the nineteenth century as their model for making sense of human behaviour. Ever since then, verbal battles have raged as to its appropriateness.
Educational research has not been spared this debate. Indeed, it may be described as a veritable babble of tongues, with members of various paradigmatic camps barely able or willing to enter into serious dialogue with each other. This problem has only served to exacerbate the legitimation problem facing educational research as it seeks to establish itself as a reputable field of scholarship within academe. As editors, struggling to re-establish a journal which has had more than its fair share of teething problems, we are mindful of this state of war. Our aim is to provide a forum for cross-paradigmatic communication for the local community of educational researchers.
So what is our editorial policy, our plan for combating the alleged difficulties of epistemological incompatibility?
First, we want IIER, as product, to be a blend between, on the one hand, the scholarly endeavour of beginning researchers and, on the other, the productions of more established scholars. We expect the finished work of all of our contributors to be informative and challenging. We ask only that writers for the journal assume an audience who want to know and who may be willing to venture into the unknown, provided they are given some encouragement and assistance on the way.
Secondly, we want IIER, as process, to be a collaborative and collegial enterprise. Just as we, the editors, are concerned to build bridges between different research traditions and places of work (to say nothing of the gender gap), we will welcome from our contributors a similar spirit of collaboration and enterprise. It is in the spirit of modelling this collegiality that we encourage the more senior local researchers to contribute to the journal, as well as to their various international and national specialist journals.
We appreciate, of course, that we will not realise these lofty ideals in a moment. However, this, our first edition, is an encouraging first step. The first three papers, those by Alison Lee, David Tripp and Glenda Campbell-Evans are produced from different traditions in educational research. These papers were initially presented in a panel discussion at the Opening Session of the 1991 WAIER Forum. The panel topic was Alternative Approaches to Educational Research. The remaining two papers, by Andrew Thompson and Chris Elliott, have been produced from recently completed MEd theses. Finally, we have included, for the interest of readers, the abstracts for this year's WAIER Forum presentations.
We would ask you to keep in mind avenues for contributions - from yourself, your colleagues and visitors and, above all, from your students. With your support, we look forward to the continuing development of the journal.
The views and styles expressed in the articles in this publication are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily shared by the editor or members of the editorial advisory board.
Copyright © 1992 WAIER
Published by the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research (WAIER), Perth, Western Australia. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission from WAIER. Desktop publishing (1992) by Clare McBeath. Printed (1992) by Printing Services, Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia.
|Please cite as: Hall, J. and Lee, A. (1992). Editorial. Issues In Educational Research, 2(1), iii-v. http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/iier2/editorial.html|
© 1992 Issues in Educational Research
Last revision: 9 Aug 2001. URL: http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/iier2/editorial.html
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