It has been my privilege and pleasure to be the editor of this first issue of the Queensland Journal of Educational Research (QJER) which continues the fine tradition established by the Queensland Researcher as the journal of the Queensland Institute for Educational Research (QIER). The new journal differs from the previous journal in various ways (including its format, presentation and style). These changes are directed at raising its profile, enhancing its appeal, broadening its scope and servicing a wider audience of educational researchers and practitioners. I hope that you find these changes appropriate and appealing.
It should be noted that the continuity of the new journal with its predecessor has been recognised in the numbering of the current volume as volume 13. (Unfortunately, because of the name change, a different ISSN is necessary.) The time delay in making the changes from the previous journal to the new has meant that volume 12 was published as two issues not three. This is regrettable but a third issue for volume 12 was not available at the time of transition and it seemed preferable to move as quickly as possible to the new arrangements after the change had been decided, rather than persist with the previous format. The new journal will continue to be published in three issues per year.
As incoming editor, I want to recognise the achievement of my predecessor Neil Cranston who was editor of the Queensland Researcher since its inception in 1985 and worked hard to make it the success it was as a journal serving the needs of the Queensland educational community. Through its reporting of research and debate on important issues of the time, the journal has helped to disseminate research findings and inform the educational community on important educational issues.
It has also helped to encourage a desirable blurring of the boundary between researchers and practitioners and to encourage a broad-based orientation towards improvement of educational practice through educational research. Specialist researchers have been encouraged to make their research relevant to educational practice and to report their findings in a way which makes the research accessible to practitioners. On the other hand, educational practitioners have been encouraged to adopt an enquiry oriented stance towards their own practice, to subject their practice to more rigorous analysis and to report the outcomes of their research and analysis to a wider audience through the journal.
On behalf of QIER, I would like to thank Neil Cranston for the energy and dedication he contributed as editor of the journal and for the fine reputation of the journal he established over the years. It has given us the platform from which to launch the new venture.
At a time when some state Institutes for Educational Research in Australia are discontinuing their journals, QIER has decided that there remains a place for a journal of this nature focusing on educational research and deriving its inspiration from Queensland-based educational research and debate. Essentially, the promotion of educational research through its journal remains one of the main contributions which QIER can make to the educational community.
In deciding to continue to publish a journal, however, the QIER Executive thought it timely to enhance the presentation of the journal and to broaden and strengthen its appeal. The aim is to service a wider range of authors and readers, and to strengthen the reputation of the journal as a publication of the highest standards of scholarship and presentation.
In deciding to rename the journal the Queensland Journal of Educational Research (QJER), it has been recognised that this might suggest a parochial orientation, authorship and readership. While this may be true to some extent simply because of the relationship between the journal and QIER, with members of QIER receiving the journal as part of their membership benefits, it is not intended that its orientation, authors and readers be restricted to Queensland. Certainly, it can be expected that the journal will be of relevance to Queensland. However, educational research should be relevant beyond state and national borders. Accordingly, the journal will be promoted as an Australian and international journal with a broad orientation to educational research of general significance to the educational community, attracting a diverse range of authors and readers. There are many renowned journals whose names announce national, regional or institutional attachments which have not prevented their establishment of an international reputation and readership. The editorial vision for the QJER is to extend its authorship and its readership so that it too transcends its local origins and acquires a national and international reputation.
Given this vision for the journal, the editorial policy is to prefer articles which report educational research or analysis in a way which draws implications for practice beyond the local contexts in which the research may have been conducted. Case studies will be welcome but should provide sufficient information about the context for the reader to be able to draw implications for other contexts. Articles which focus on theoretical issues will also be welcome but should offer some connection with the improvement of educational practice. Data based reports may involve any type of educational research method or mix of methods but should clearly relate the research to its theoretical underpinnings, substantiate the conclusions reached and indicate the relevance of the research for educational policy or practice. Further details about the aims of the journal are found at the beginning of this issue and notes for contributors at the end.
I would like to encourage various people to submit articles for consideration for publication in the journal. This includes academic researchers and research students but it also includes educational administrators and teachers. Writing for publication is a discipline that enables us to clarify our thinking and refine our arguments and understandings as well as to test the validity of our conclusions on the basis of our evidence. Feedback from reviewers often assists in further clarifying that thinking and improving the articulation of our meanings. Further, many people have important things to say about educational policy and practice and we can all benefit from sharing those things. Sharing our ideas through publication is an exciting and rewarding activity which extends our influence beyond the local context and into the future. It enables us to contribute to the overall body of knowledge about educational issues and phenomena and participate in the process of ongoing discussion and debate about such matters.
This first issue contains an interesting array of articles representing different research topics, styles and methods. Cumming presents an analysis of previous research concerning gender stereotyping and work values, revealing that some of that research is flawed. She shows that the evidence supports the conclusion that 'when considering occupations, men and women, and boys and girls, are not perceiving the desirability of occupations from the same social construct of reality' (p. 13). She shows how typical stereotypes of occupations and of occupational aspirations often miss the mark when attempting to attract women into non-traditional areas but that it should be possible to match more sensitively the opportunities presented in various occupations and the work values of women.
Alexander and Galbraith report research into the transition from earlier to later experience of practice teaching in preservice teacher education. Their focus is the personal experience of the student teacher and they use a sample of student teachers to produce what they term 'neonarratives' of experience by synthesising the salient features of the collected self reports. They point to the desirability of building diary-based self-report on key developmental dimensions into preservice teacher education programs.
Miller shifts our attention to the practice of experienced teachers. The data reported in this article come from one teacher of German, although the research is situated within a larger set of such cases. Miller seeks to show the value of a case study approach to studying such educational phenomena and also to illustrate the role of context which emerged as an important finding from the research. There are important messages here concerning the value of case study research as well as useful insights into second language teaching.
In her article, Searle focuses on the learning needs of new students in universities, particularly mature-age entries. She builds a comprehensive analysis of their literacy needs and provides some data from a survey in one particular course supporting her contention that there can be a serious gap between the literacy demands of university courses and the literacy experiences and skills of the beginning student. What is called for is a deliberate socialising of beginning university students into academic discourses, a process which requires academic teachers to treat students as apprentices in academic learning.
The literacy theme is continued by Ferguson who provides a detailed analysis of issues in the assessment of literacy. This analysis shows how important it is to consider literacy as a multidimensional skill and how assessments which offer only one perspective on literacy are limiting. There are important insights here to inform the current debate on literacy and literacy assessment.
What can be seen from this collection of articles is that educational issues are multifaceted and can be addressed through a variety of analytical techniques. All demonstrate the importance of anchoring the research in previous research. All too make use of local data, whether through instance or case, through multiple cases or samples, or through existing information on the public record, deriving relevant conclusions from these data for the research issue in focus. All draw implications for future educational practice and educational research. Much can be learned from these articles individually and collectively and I commend them to be read and discussed widely.
Graham S. Maxwell
|Please cite as: Maxwell, G. (1997). Editorial. Queensland Journal of Educational Research, 13(1), 1-5. http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qjer13/editorial13-1.html|