The purpose of this paper is to explore the scientific nature of work-based learning (WBL) and research as operationalized in Professional Studies by examining first principles of scientific inquiry.
This paper introduces a Professional Studies program as it has been implemented at University of Southern Queensland in Australia and examines it from the perspective of five first principles of scientific inquiry: systematic exploration and reporting, use of models, objectivity, testability and applicability. The authors do so not to privilege the meritorious qualities of science or to legitimise WBL or its example in Professional Studies by conferring on them the status of science, but to highlight their systematised approach to learning and research.
If the authors define Professional Studies to mean the systematic inquiry of work-based people, processes and phenomena, evidence affirmatively suggests that it is scientific “in nature”.
WBL has been well documented, but its orientation to research, particularly mixed methods (MM) research through Professional Studies, and its adherence to first principles of science have never been explored; this paper begins to uncover the value of work-based pedagogical approaches to learning and research.
Fergusson, L., Shallies, B. and Meijer, G. (2020), "The scientific nature of work-based learning and research: An introduction to first principles", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 171-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-05-2019-0060
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