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D. C. Phillips

In: The SAGE Handbook for Research in Education: Engaging Ideas and Enriching Inquiry

Chapter 1: Muddying the Waters: The Many Purposes of Educational Inquiry

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Muddying the Waters: The Many Purposes of Educational Inquiry
Muddying the waters: The many purposes of educational inquiry

There are more things in heaven and earth … than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

—Shakespeare, Hamlet

There is a conceit that is currently popular about an important genre of educational research—empirical research that has scientific pretensions. It is not merely a North American aberration, for it can also be found in the United Kingdom and in parts of Europe, and it is not unknown in Asia and Australasia. Put crassly, the conceit is this: In some influential quarters, empirical educational research is treated as being, in essence, a circumscribed enterprise with both narrow aims and narrow methods—despite the fact that many of the theories and much of the ...

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