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August 2009

Comparative Research

Presenter: Anthony Welch

Discussants: Nigel Bagnall

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 27 August 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

Venue: Room 351, Education Building (A35), The University of Sydney

Thinking comparatively, byAnthony Welch

Thinking comparatively is a state of mind. For at least the last two centuries, scholars in fields as diverse as comparative religion, comparative anatomy, comparative sociology, and comparative politics, have grappled with the issue of how to develop a systematic science of comparison in their field. Philosophers such as John Stuart Mill also contributed significantly to our appreciation of the art of thinking comparatively. More recently, thinking comparatively in educational research has been influenced by diverse currents, drawn from positivism/scientism; dependency theory, post-colonialism, globalisation and studies of diaspora, (the latter two of which have problematised the taken-for-granted status of the nation-state as unit of analysis within the field). Common to many of these efforts is the ongoing effort to understand and articulate, as well as to refine, both the rationale for comparison, and appropriate theories and methods of comparative research. This presentation will review what it means to think comparatively, what it can contribute to educational research, and some of the major currents of thought on how to go about it.


Guest Seminar!

Quantitative-Substantive Synergies in Social Science

Presenter: Herb Marsh, Oxford University

Respondent: Raymond Debus, Sydney University

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 20 August 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

Venue: 351, Education Building (A35), The University of Sydney

Methodological-Substantive Synergies in Self-concept Research, by Herb Marsh

Professor Marsh’s self-concept research program represents a substantive-quantitative synergy, applying and developing new quantitative approaches to better address substantive issues with important policy implications. Self-concept enhancement is a major goal in many fields including education, child development, health, sport/exercise sciences, social services, organisational settings, and management. Self-concept is a multidimensional hierarchical construct with highly differentiated components such as academic, social, physical and emotional self-concepts in addition to a global self-concept component. Self-concept is also an important mediating factor that facilitates the attainment of other desirable outcomes. In education, for example, a positive academic self-concept is both a highly desirable goal and a means of facilitating subsequent academic accomplishments. However, the benefits of feeling positively about oneself in relation to choice, planning, persistence and subsequent accomplishments, transcend traditional disciplinary and cultural barriers. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of Professor Marsh’s self-concept research in which he addresses diverse theoretical and methodological issues with practical implications for research, policy and practice, such as:


Updated 1 August 2009

Venue: 351, Education Building, A35

Time: All colloquia are held from 4:30pm to 6:30pm on the last Thursday of the month (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)





5 Mar 09

Opening plenary

John Ainley, ACER

Raewyn Connell

26 Mar 09

Action research

Jude Irwin & Susan Groundwater Smith


30 Apr 09

Design based research

Peter Reimann

Richard Walker


Guest seminar: Arts-informed inquiry

Ardra Cole & Gary Knowles, University of Toronto

Robyn Ewing

28 May 09

Historical analysis

Tim Allender

Ruth Phillips

30 Jul 09 

Mid-plenary: Digital knowledge and educational research

Lina Markauskaite

Panel discussion

20 Aug

Guest seminar: Quantitative-substantive synergies in social science

Herb Marsh, Oxford University


27 Aug 09

Comparative analysis

Anthony Welch

Nigel Bagnall

24 Sep 09

Policy analysis

Sue Goodwin

Phillip Jones

29 Oct 09 

Quantitative methods and modeling

Andrew Martin

Paul Ginns

26 Nov 09

Critical ethnography and post-structural narrative approaches

Debra Hayes

 Ken Johnston

03 Dec 09

Closing plenary