AERA Member Comment Period for Draft of

Standards for Reporting on Humanities-Oriented Research in AERA Publications

Deadline for Comments: August 8, 2008

What are these pages for here, on this wiki?

It appears to me that these standards could have important impacts, in many ways, for the work and the careers of people whose scholarship on education is not limited to what the AERA, in a different document refers to as " empirical social science research."

When I first saw the e-mail message announcing this project, I was apprehensive. Efforts to establish standards for the approaches to research that, by their very nature and purpose, must be free to innovate, and to creatively respond to the unruly nature of the things we want to understand, and to communicate about.

The authors of this draft document seem to have made every effort to recognize such concerns and values in their work. There are points and phrasings throughout the document that I might argue with; however, it seems to me the overall impact of this effort could be extremely positive, not only as it affects the standards by which manuscripts will be reviewed for publication in AERA journals, but also as it could affect recognition in other processes, such as promotion and tenure, for the varied kinds of work we do and for the qualities appropriate in these kinds of work.

There may be more significant problems that I myself am not qualified to recognize: for example, someone who practices and teaches " Arts-Based Education Research" might see ways that that section of the document could be improved, or might need to be corrected. The pages in this wiki provide space for a discussion of this document, and how it might be improved through input to the Task Force.

I expect to add a page of my own general comments, as well as adding comments to particular sections of the document using the "discussion" tab above the text area for that section. The complete text appears here twice: in pages where it is broken down by sections, and all together on a single web page. The single web page version is linked from the Title above the Contents Outline below, and the sections are linked from the headings in that outline. You can edit any of these pages. Edits to the single web page version should be limited to offering typographical corrections or other minor editing, keeping the substantive work of the Task Force intact. On pages for the separate sections, you can use the DISCUSSION tab above the text area to make comments on the section, but you can also insert links at particular points in the text that will link to new pages that you can create yourself for discussion of particular issues. (Anyone can edit or add comments to any page, but you need to join this wiki to create a new page that does not already exist.)

It seems clear to me that the efforts of the Task Force are intended to promote the flourishing of new modes of research, not to stifle them through "standardization." They expect the Membership to find possible improvements for this document.

I am optimistic. If this has the kind of overall impact that I'm hoping for, it suggests to me that something like this might be done to promote a third avenue of research approaches. Along with "empirical social science" and "humanities-oriented" research, what about "practice-oriented" research, including such things as action research, design study, lesson study (授業研究, or jugyou kenkyuu, which I would translate as "teaching study), etc.

Anyway, I think this is important enough for everybody to pitch in. The document is one that I will also want my doctoral students to read in their preparation as researchers, as well as for the professional advancement that this effort promotes, against the tide of some other current developments in the United States.


I. PREAMBLE (p. 1)




Click here for the complete draft document