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The myth of 'scientific method' in contemporary educational research
Journal of Philosophy of Education
  • Darrell Patrick ROWBOTTOM, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
  • Sarah Jane AISTON, University of Durham, United Kingdom
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Journal article
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Whether educational research should employ the ‘scientific method’ has been a recurring issue in its history. Hence, textbooks on research methods continue to perpetuate the idea that research students ought to choose between competing camps: ‘positivist’ or ‘interpretivist’. In reference to one of the most widely referred to educational research methods textbooks on the market—namely Research Methods in Education by Cohen, Manion, and Morrison—this paper demonstrates (1) the misconception of science in operation and (2) the perversely false dichotomy that has become enshrined in educational research. It then advocates a new approach, and suggests that the fixation with ‘science’ versus ‘non-science’ is counterproductive, when what is actually required for good inquiry is a critical approach to knowledge claims.

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Copyright © 2006 Journal of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain

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Citation Information
Rowbottom, D. P., & Aiston, S. J. (2006). The myth of 'scientific method' in contemporary educational research. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 40(2), 137-156. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2006.00508.x