To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

The Pasteurization of Education

Technology and Education: Issues in Administration, Policy, and Applications in K12 Schools

ISBN: 978-0-76231-280-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-393-8

ISSN: 1479-3660

Publication date: 27 March 2006


In his book Pasteur's Quadrant, Donald Stokes (1997) argued that research projects can be described by their contributions to theoretical understanding and the solution of practical problems. Building on this model, scholars have suggested that educational research should focus more or less exclusively on what Stokes called “use-inspired basic research.” With this move has come a focus on projects with the potential to create systemic change – and the concurrent devaluation of naturalistic studies of learning in context and design research to develop innovative educational interventions. We argue that this current predilection is based on a fundamental misreading of the processes through which scientific investigation addresses practical problems, and (more important) is counter-productive for the field of educational technology. To make this case, we look more closely at the operationalization of Stokes’ quadrant model in the field of education, suggesting that its short-term focus on systemic change is based on a misunderstanding of history. We use Latour's (1983) study of Pasteur to suggest an alternative lever model for the research-based transformation of educational practices through educational technologies. By way of illustration, we use a brief example of a research project in educational technology to ground a discussion of the broader implications of this alternative conceptualization of the process of education research.


Williamson Shaffer, D. and Squire, K.D. (2006), "The Pasteurization of Education", Tettegah, S.Y. and Hunter, R.C. (Ed.) Technology and Education: Issues in Administration, Policy, and Applications in K12 Schools (Advances in Educational Administration, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 43-55.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited