The purpose of this paper is to describe an experiment in a non-credit bearing series of social philosophy workshops offered to social science and humanities disciplines in an Australian university.
The paper outlines the design rationale and learning objectives for the workshop series. The data set includes qualitative student responses to 501 post-workshop questionnaires and 14 in-depth qualitative responses to a follow-up online questionnaire.
The data suggest that social philosophy methodology curriculum offered within a multi-discipline peer context can facilitate an appreciation among students of the centrality of theory and the value of diverse discipline approaches in research. The last part of the paper explores what underpins this – a kind of un-learning or uncertainty regarding the veracity of different philosophical approaches to research, tied to a de-centring of research subjectivity that allows for the co-existence of multiple voices. Language learning, the inclusion of post-modern perspectives and an unbiased presentation of a wide range of thinkers within a challenging intellectual context are central to this.
The emerging trend towards university-wide doctoral training offers opportunities for useful innovations in research education. University-wide social philosophy curriculum can play a role in facilitating constructive negotiation of theoretical complexity both within and across social science and humanities disciplines.
The contemporary social science and humanities research context is a challenging space, characterised by intra-discipline methodological plurality, and the risk of marginalisation by more dominant instrumentalist, end-user and science-driven perspectives. The trend towards bringing different methodological perspectives together within inter-disciplinary research and team supervision of doctoral students can lead to conceptual misunderstanding and research delays. The capacity to negotiate and translate conceptual perspectives, often within complex research relationships, has then become an increasingly important academic skill. Within this context, university-wide doctoral training has emerged, but there has been little discussion of doctoral curricula beyond that devised for professional doctorates within the discipline in the non-US higher education literature. This paper contributes to emerging scholarship on research education by describing the sorts of relational, textual and conceptual processes that might be created in the multi-discipline social science and humanities context to produce an appreciation for the different philosophical foundations of research knowledge.
Bastalich, W. (2016), "Social philosophy curriculum in social science and humanities structured doctoral programmes", International Journal for Researcher Development, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 15-29. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJRD-02-2015-0004Download as .RIS
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