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previous section: "c. Content of Humanities-Oriented Research in Education"

d. Methods of Humanities-Oriented Research in Education


A distinctive feature of humanities-oriented research in education is its reliance on interpretive methods, which emphasize investigating the history, meanings, beliefs, and values that humans employ, respond to, and construct in the interpretation, production, and reproduction of social life. Interpretive methods focus on three kinds of objects: texts (books, articles, diaries, public documents, media accounts, sacred documents, etc.,); text analogues (reports, narratives or transcripts of ceremonies, rituals, performances, formal and informal meetings, classroom interactions, interviews, etc.); and artifacts (works of art, tools, students’ work samples, implements, etc.). Different areas of study have different foci. For example, cultural anthropology and history examine all three of these kinds of objects. Literary studies and philosophy focus heavily on texts. Narrative research focuses on texts and text analogues. Arts based research focuses on all three. In general, humanities-oriented research in education examines these objects in order to gain an understanding of the explicit and implicit messages and meanings of education, to point out the tensions and contradictions among them, and to compare and critique them on ethical or other value-oriented grounds. Specific kinds of interpretive methods and the other methods that augment them vary substantially across the spectrum of humanities-oriented research in education. Some of this variety is illustrated in examples to follow in Section III.


next section: "e. Empirical Aspects of Humanities-Oriented Research in Education"

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