Against Transcendent Methodologies (and that includes deconstruction)

Year: 1992

Author: Yates, Lyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

How does one judge the worth of a methodology? If one is a 'research methodologist', what practice does one see oneself as furthering? This paper is going to take up a theme which is not a new one in discussions about research methodology in education - that the assessment of different types of educational research should have some regard to the field of education, and, more specifically, to furthering progressive and critical development within that field. But it is a theme that periodically surfaces and then resubmerges as the focus turns back on methodology as a thing in itself. The issue was raised in a major way as part of the move to proselytize case-study and qualitative rather than quantitative methods in the late 70s and early 80s. Now it is in danger of being submerged as people become fascinated either with the refinement of technique (especially in computer-based technologies and their uses in both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis) or with the legacy of Foucault and Derrida and their friends as providing a way of doing intellectual work that overrides everything else. This paper is specifically grounded in an interest in the problem of how to construct and teach a course of research methodology. If a School of Education is going to offer such a course (and whether it should do so itself deserves discussion) what should that course contain, and how should it be organized?