Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Research for Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

Greetings from the Australian National University where Professor Lawrence Cram, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) is giving the Opening Address for the ANU Educational Research Conference. His theme was "lists". Professor Cram started with "How to Become an Excellent Tertiary-level Teacher. Seven golden rules for university and college lecturers" by HENRY ELLINGTON. He pointed to further education and conferences for lecturers, but suggested Ellington missed out on the point of lectures conducting research.

Professor Cram then looked at "What does Good Education Research Look Like?" by Lyn Yates (Open University Press, 2004). The question here was: who is our research for?

Professor Cramlooked at "What Makes a Concept Good? A Criterial Framework for Understanding Concept Formation in the Social Sciences" by John Gerring:

Nowhere in the broad and heterogeneous work on concept formation has the question of conceptual utility been satisfactorily addressed. Goodness in concept formation, I argue, cannot be reduced to 'clarity,' to empirical or theoretical relevance, to a set of rules, or to the methodology particular to a given study. Rather, I argue that conceptual adequacy should be perceived as an attempt to respond to a standard set of criteria, whose demands are felt in the formation and use of all social science concepts: (1) familiarity, (2) resonance, (3) parsimony, (4) coherence, (5) differentiation, (6) depth, (7) theoretical utility, and (8) field utility. The significance of this study is to be found not simply in answering this important question, but also in providing a complete and reasonably concise framework for explaining the process of concept formation within the social sciences. Rather than conceiving of concept formation as a method (with a fixed set of rules and a definite outcome), I view it as a highly variable process involving trade-offs among these eight demands.

From: What Makes a Concept Good? A Criterial Framework for Understanding Concept Formation in the Social Sciences, John Gerring, Polity , Vol. 31, No. 3 (Spring, 1999), pp. 357-393 Published by Palgrave Macmillan Journals

Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3235246

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