Ten Readings

What is research capacity? Research capacity and TEL SPNECRE Tens of things

There are more a lot more than ten readings here – our initial list got extended as soon as people saw it! These are readings (papers, books, chapters, reports) which have proved useful for researchers making sense of new disciplinary territories, or which have framed and shaped the cross-disciplinary practices of groups of researchers with different backgrounds and commitments.

Readings on Education and Social Science

Foundational Readings

  • Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (2000) ‘Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences’ in: N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed., pp. 163-188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Yin, R. (2002). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and on the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4-13.
  • Wenger, E. (1999). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lincoln and Guba’s chapter describes critical and enduring issues in qualitative research; Yin’s book on case study is widely read and cited on research design and includes mixed method as well as qualitative approaches. Sfard’s paper has been influential as it describes how different theories of learning have evolved and identifies the ‘acquisition’ and ‘participation’ metaphors – Wenger’s work falling within the latter.

Papers which consider the implications of social science theory for instruction or technology

  • Jonassen, D.H., & Murphy, M. (1998). Activity theory as a framework for designing constructivist learning environments. Paper presented at the annual meering of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1998, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Duffy, T.M. and Cunningham, D.J. (1996) ‘Constructivism: Implications for the design and delivery of instruction’ in: D. H. Jonassen (Ed.) Encyclopaedia of Education (New York, Simon and Schuster).
  • Nardi, B. (1996). ‘Activity Theory and Human Computer Interaction’ In B. Nardi (Ed.), Context and Consciousness: Activity Theory and Human-computer Interaction (pp. 7-16). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Wellman, B. (2001). Physical Place and Cyberplace: The Rise of Personalized Networking. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 25(2), 227-252.

These were identified by SPNECRE participants as linking social science and education theory with learning technologies: constructivism, activity theory and social network analysis, in these examples.

Case studies and papers which discuss the practicalities of social science research

  • Hjorne, E., & Saljo, R. (2004). “There Is Something About Julia”: Symptoms, Categories, and the Process of Invoking Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in the Swedish School: A Case Study. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 31(1), 1-24.
  • Orona, C. J. (1990). Temporality and identity loss due to Alzheimer’s disease. Social Science and Medicine, 30(11), 1247-1256.
  • Mason, J. (2006). Six strategies for mixing methods and linking data in social science research. ESRC National Centre for Research Methods, NCRM Working Paper Series 4/06.
  • Mason, J. (2006). Mixing methods in a qualitatively driven way. Qualitative Research, 6(1), 9-2.

These writings have been identified as providing ‘real insights into how social scientists think’, conduct their research and link data and theory. Hjorne and Saljo’s paper is cited as an good explication of how concepts are ‘discursively constructed’; Orona’s ‘grounded theory’ account shows how research questions and hypotheses are developed in the context of a reflective, participatory study. Mason’s work discusses how researchers can conduct mixed methods research and, one researcher explained “really helped me at an early stage of carrying out research; knowing what I could do in terms of collecting data in different ways”.

Readings on Technology

Foundational Readings

  • Gamma, E.,Helm, R., Johnson, R. and Vlissides, J. (1995). Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (Indianopolis, IN: Addison-Wesley Pearson)
  • Kernighan, B. and Pike, R. (1999). The Practice of Programming (Indianopolis, IN: Addison-Wesley Pearson) .

Gamma et al was identified as being influential and useful because the term ‘design patterns’ is “widely misunderstood” outside computer sciences. While a bit dated now, Kermighan and Pike’s book was described as being a good account of ‘what programmers do’ and of the tenets of ‘simplicity, clarity and generality’.

Design Practices

  • Olsson, E. (2004). What active users and designers contribute in the design process. Interacting with Computers, 16, 377-401.

This paper was recommended as a means of understanding the different perspectives on ‘participation’ of computer scientists and HCI designers, as opposed to education or social science researchers.

Readings on Cross-Disciplinary Working

  • Haythornthwaite, C. (2006). Learning and knowledge exchanges in interdisciplinary collaborations. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(8), 1079-1092
  • New London Group (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66 (1), 60-92
  • Strathern, M. (2006). A Community of Critics: thoughts on new knowledge. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 12(1), 191-209 – also available in video form here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHDCcAF0rQ4
  • Hall, J. (1999). Cultures of inquiry: From epistemology to discourse in sociocultural research (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

The New London Group’s multi-authored paper “gave me a good grounding in the linguistic concepts many of the other papers had referred to whilst showing how these concepts related to considerations of other fields”, said one researcher. Strathern and Hall provide alternatives to view of cross-disciplinary working simply as shared problem solving, drawing on perspectives from anthropology and historiography. Haythornthwaite’s account provides insights into the evolution of research practices in complex project involving participants from many disciplinary backgrounds.

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