AERAHUM_IIe

Click here for the complete draft document
Click here for overview, linked table of contents, and tips on joining the discussion and providing input

previous section: "d. Methods of Humanities-Oriented Research in Education"

e. Empirical Aspects of Humanities-Oriented Research in Education


Humanities-oriented research seeks to examine the role and contribution of education in human existence through experience and observation. In pursuit of this general purpose, then, humanities-oriented research investigations are inextricably empirical. Because much work in the social sciences is also empirical, there is overlap between these two domains of research and standards appropriate for evaluating humanities-oriented research in education complement and sometimes overlap with AERA’s Social Science Standards.

Humanities- oriented research and the research most closely identified with AERA’s Social Science Standards are best thought of in terms of a division of labor. James Coleman’s celebrated work on educational inequality provides an illustration. Coleman first investigated the inputs and outputs of public schools vis-à-vis race and then subsequently pursued an analysis of the implications with respect to different conceptions of the of equal educational opportunity. The first part of this work – a large scale survey, regression analysis, and case studies—could be quite appropriately evaluated in terms of the Social Science Standards. These standards would be quite inappropriate, however, for evaluating the conceptual emphasis of his study in which Coleman argued that the concept of equal educational opportunity should be interpreted in terms of equal educational outcomes rather than the more commonplace equal inputs. This argument was made on philosophical merits and drew significant attention from philosophers, who appraised it on the basis of philosophical merits.

Coleman’s work on equality of educational opportunity is useful for illustrating the manner in which humanities-oriented research in education is linked to empirical research. Humanities-oriented research, especially in education, is often more seamless, however. For, a study of urban education might ask about the distinctions and categories in teaching. The empirical is the discursive practices that constitute the urban qualities and characteristics of the child, and how these practices generate principles that conceptualize, classify, order and differentiate the educational experiences provided for specific children within school settings. Whereas the Coleman example above separates phenomena and conceptual methods, this second example looks to the overlapping and dialogic qualities between what is studied and the conceptual categories implicitly or explicitly guiding the study.

These two examples represent two ways of addressing the "empirical", and also point to the intellectual diversity of humanities-oriented research attended to in the standards outlined in this document.


next section: "f. The Concept of Humanities-Oriented Standards"

Click here for the complete draft document
Click here for overview, linked table of contents, and tips on joining the discussion and providing input