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colloquia

Reflections on the nature, purposes and uses of educational research

Presenter:Professor Robert Tierney, University of British Columbia

Discussion chair: Professor Peter Freebody

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 10 December 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

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

Invitation

To conclude the Methodology Colloquia series, the audience is invited to join a discussion on the nature, purposes and uses of educational and social research. In this last session, Professor Robert Tierney will discuss the draft of Accord on the Nature of Education Research under development for the Association of Canadian Deans of Education. To exemplify key aspects, he will draw from his research on literacy education and will discuss some implications for practice and policy. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with the presenters of the colloquia series and the audience.

RSVP required: p.brownlee@edfac.usyd.edu.au or phone 9351 2616

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Critical ethnography

Presenter: Debra Hayes

Respondent: Ken Johnston

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 26 November 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

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

Negotiated ethnography: the possibilities for practice, by Debra Hayes

Despite advances in theoretical conceptualisations of inequities in education, and more thorough mappings of the form and distribution of inequities, practice remains problematic, particularly in contexts in which there are high levels of poverty and difference. While undertaking research in schools in these communities in recent years, I have worked with university, system and school-based colleagues to develop negotiated ethnographic research processes that involve the participants in all stages of the research – the identification of useful data, the development and collection of appropriate data, as well as its analysis.

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Ehnomethodology and classroom interaction

Presenter: Peter Freebody

Respondent: Michael Anderson

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 19 November 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

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

Ehnomethodology and classroom interaction: Applications and challenges, by Peter Freebody

Ethnomethdology can be characterised as a branch of sociology interested in the detailed study of the ways in which individuals negotiate and make orderly sense of their communities and cultures in and from their everyday experiences. The presentation will start with an outline of the major analytic elements and, then, will proceed to expand on applications of Ethnomethodological approaches to the study of educational phenomena, including illustrations drawn from the research of the presenter and his colleagues.

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Quantitative methods and modelling

Presenter: Andrew Martin

Discussant: Paul Ginns

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 29 October 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

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

Quantitative Modelling of Correlational Data in Educational Research, by Andrew J. Martin

This presentation examines quantitative modelling of correlational data in educational research, with particular focus on and examples from educational psychology. Traversing cross-sectional and longitudinal methodologies, the presentation looks at the various ways correlational techniques have been applied to answer important questions of relevance to educators, psychologists, policy makers, and researchers. Having scoped the yields of correlational data and research, the presentation then addresses some of the short-comings and limitations in correlational modelling that need to be addressed to fully progress educational research. Alternative quantitative (eg. experimental methods) and qualitative approaches are then introduced, with particular attention given to the questions these methods can answer that correlational methods cannot. Taken together, it is evident that complementing correlational modelling with other rigorous quantitative and qualitative techniques enables researchers to generate a more thorough understanding of key educational issues than any one of these techniques alone.

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Policy Analysis

Presenter: Susan Goodwin

Discussant: Phillip Jones

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 24 September 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

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

Policy analysis: Analysing policy as discourse, by Susan Goodwin

A range of approaches to policy analysis suggest that policy is the result of complex negotiations and contestations that take place to a significant extent within language and discourse/s. This presentation will provide an account of the ways in which policy has come to be understood as discourse, and what this means for how (and why) policy is subjected to analysis. Nancy Fraser’s (1989) influential work on needs discourses, and Stephen Ball’s (1993) work on education policy are discussed in this account. The main aim of the presentation is to introduce the ‘What’s the Problem Represented to Be?’ tool for analysis of policy as discourse. This tool, developed by Carol Bacchi, enables analysts to focus on how problems are represented in policy and how policy subjects are constituted through problem representations. The usefulness of Bacchi’s approach is explored through examples from research on policies relating to indigenous communities, gender equity and educational inequalities. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the role of policy analysis – do we undertake policy analysis in order to solve or address problems or in order to participate in struggles over meaning?

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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.

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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:

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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)

Date

Theme

 Presenter

Respondent

5 Mar 09

Opening plenary

John Ainley, ACER

Raewyn Connell

26 Mar 09

Action research

Jude Irwin & Susan Groundwater Smith

Presentation-discussion

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

 TBA

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

TBA

TBA

Mid-year colloquium and panel discussion

Digital knowledge and educational research

Presenter: Lina Markauskaite

Discussants: Professor Susan Groundwater-Smith, Dr Richard Walker & Professor Peter Freebody (chair)

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

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

Digital knowledge and digital research: What could eResearch offer for education and social policy? by Lina Markauskaite

This presentation will discuss conceptual and practical links and tensions between research for education and social policy and technology-enhanced research, called ‘eResearch’. It will argue that significant progress in social research could be made by harnessing the increasing volume, density and complexity of educational and social data and exploiting opportunities for research collaboration.

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POSTPONEMENT NOTICE

Dear All,


Due to unforeseen circumstances, 25 June presentation by Professor Peter Freebody and Dr Michael Anderson on Ethnomethodology is postponed until further notice. An alternative date will be posted as soon as possible for this colloquium presentation.

Note that all future presentation remain as scheduled.

Sincere apologies,

Peter Freebody, Lina Markauskaite and Patrick Brownlee

Organising Committee
Bridging and Blending Disciplines of Inquiry Colloquia

2009-06-24

Historical Analysis

Presenter: Tim Allender

Respondent: Ruth Phillips

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 28 May 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

Venue: 448, Old Teachers' College (A36), The University of Sydney

New Approaches to Postcolonial Scholarship, by Tim Allender

Historical analysis is a broad church and its methodologies dependent on the categories of evidence in play. Powerful critiques emerge as analysis is variously derived from oral sources, or careful collations from pre-organised databases or from obscure documents hidden in long forgotten corners of archives, or even well worked over texts waiting for new paradigms to permit new ways at looking at old problems.

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NEW! Guest Seminar

Arts-Informed Research

Presenters: Ardra Cole & Gary Knowles, University of Toronto

Respondent: Robyn Ewing, The University of Sydney

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 7 May 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

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

Drawing on the arts, transforming research: Possibilities of arts-informed perspectives, by Ardra Cole & Gary Knowles

An exploration of the possibilities for and challenges of arts-informed research is the focus of the presentation. We begin by recounting the beginnings and foundational elements of arts-informed research and illustrate the various ways in which it is embraced by a variety of qualitative researchers (as a stand-alone approach or in combination with other per-spectives). We emphasize the transformational possibilities that come with presenting scholarship in alternatives ways to traditional academic discourse. The barriers and challenges to researching through the arts are also addressed. We illus-trate and provide examples within our presentation from the work of graduate researchers and others and, in doing so, we address the utility and constraints of arts-informed research.

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Design-Based Research

Presenter: Peter Reimann

Respondent: Richard Walker

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

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

Design-based Research: We need to do better, by Peter Reimann

Design-Based Research (DBR), with the Design Experiment as its main practical method, can be characterized as an in-ter-disciplinary “mixed-method” research approach conducted “in the field” that serves applied as well as theory-building purposes.

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Action Research

Presenters: Susan Groundwater-Smith and Jude Irwin

Time: 4:30-6:30pm, 26 March 2009 (refreshments at 4:30pm for 5:00pm start)

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

Abstract

This presentation will be a conversation about action research in education (Susan) and social work (Jude). It will commence with an assertion that action research is not, in fact, a methodology but an orientation to inquiry with an obligation to action. As such it admits a number of methodological approaches but resists quasi-experimental ones of the grounds of the particularity of the context and the specificity of the purposes.

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Linking Research and Practice in Education and Social Work: Some Implications for Methods of Inquiry

Presenter: Dr John Ainley, Deputy CEO (Research) of the Australian Council for Educational Research and Research Director of its National and International Surveys Program.

Respondent: Professor Raewyn Connell, University Chair in the University of Sydney.

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

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

Abstract of the presentation, by John Ainley

The phrases “evidence-based policy” and “evidence-based practice” have widespread currency. The best interpretations of these terms are that both the fruits of systematic inquiry will be used as the basis for action and the tools of systematic inquiry will be applied in local contexts to evaluate policy and practice. This presentation starts from a perspective in which social inquiry is characterised in terms of the source of problems to be investigated (in practice or in scholarship) and the destination of findings of those investigations (for practice or for scholarship). It then considers the extent to which differences in the sources of problems and the intended destination of findings have implications for the way research questions are formulated (including links to theory), the methods used in investigations (including sampling designs) and the reporting of findings (including questions of effect size and significance). The presentation discusses examples from a number of studies in education to illustrate choices that are made in investigations.

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Approaching Research and Research Approaches in Education and Social Work

by Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney

The Faculty of Education and Social Work invites you to participate in a colloquia series on contemporary research approaches and inter-disciplinarity across the education and social work domains.

Context

The disciplines informing Education and Social Work face unique challenges in defining the nature and purposes of research. Both areas have applied research approaches from many, often apparently incommensurable, disciplines of inquiry — psychology, sociology, policy studies, anthropology, history, linguistics, and so on. The increasing complexity of applied research contexts and heightened expectations concerning the role of research in practice and policy formation have led some commentators to advocate for problem-based, outcomes-oriented, cross-disciplinary research, arguing that mixed approaches are better adapted to the study of practical ill-structured problems. Further, collaboration across disciplines of inquiry is considered an important feature of contemporary and future research agenda. Amid these collections of specialist interests, research designs and analyses must maintain scholarly integrity, robustness and trustworthiness.

This raises a number of questions, including:

  • How are research approaches governed or affected by demands on the researcher to produce certain kinds of knowledge?
  • What is the optimal level of commensurability of techniques, data and findings from different paradigms around shared applied problems?
  • What level of sophistication can mixed-method applied approaches achieve without losing integrity and legitimacy?
  • What is the ethical context attendant to different methodologies and their assumptions?
  • How can the Faculty’s research effort be more than the sum of these parts?
  • Finally, how can we provide research students with the knowledge and experience needed to understand, judge and integrate methods and techniques from multiple disciplines of inquiry?

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One of the main colloquia aims is to foster greater awareness of why certain methodologies are favoured in certain research contexts and to provide opportunities for Faculty to gain a greater appreciation of challenges and opportunities for “mixed” or “blended” approaches. One of the main objectives of the colloquia discussions is to tap into the opportunities for collaboration among social science researchers representing different schools of inquiry. Thus, the presentations and responses shouldn’t be solely descriptive of techniques and outputs, rather raise the fundamental questions and facilitate an open and constructive discussion around the critical conceptual, methodological and practical issues.

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