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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2020

Robert Donmoyer

This paper has a twofold purpose: (1) to demonstrate, largely with historical evidence, that, contrary to what some have argued, thinking about educational research…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper has a twofold purpose: (1) to demonstrate, largely with historical evidence, that, contrary to what some have argued, thinking about educational research articulated at the start of the twenty-first century was not really “new wine in new bottles” but, rather, a continuation of the so-called paradigm wars about, ultimately, unresolvable methodological and epistemological issues that occurred during the twentieth century; (2) to suggest a way members of the educational administration field might transcend, or at least circumvent, time-consuming and distracting battles about unresolvable methodological and epistemological issues in the future while keeping their focus on issues of practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a quasi-historical essay that uses influential literature during the historical periods focused on as evidence to support the essay's arguments.

Findings

The paper demonstrates that twentieth century philosophical disagreements about research methods and the role that educational research can play in policy and practice decision making were not resolved but, rather, were largely reenacted during the first decade of the twenty-first century, again without a resolution. The paper proposes a way that administrators, policymakers and researchers can manage this situation and still use research to make policy and practice decisions.

Practical implications

The paper suggests a new role for both school administrators and policymakers to play. If administrators/policymakers play this role successfully, all types of research can inform decision making about policy and practice, and researchers can concentrate on doing their research rather than engaging in unresolvable philosophical disputes.

Originality/value

Although a great deal has been written about the twentieth century's theory movement and paradigm wars and the twenty-first century's so-called science wars, the link between these phenomena has not been discussed in the literature. In addition, there have been few attempts to articulate an operational strategy for managing unresolvable philosophical disputes about research methods and the role that research can play in decision making. This paper tackles both matters.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 58 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 September 2020

Izhak Berkovich

The practice of theory borrowing from other research fields is common in interdisciplinary and applied research. Nevertheless, educational administration researchers…

Abstract

Purpose

The practice of theory borrowing from other research fields is common in interdisciplinary and applied research. Nevertheless, educational administration researchers seldom discuss this phenomenon and its complexities in depth.

Design/methodology/approach

This essay provides an overview of what has been written about the practice of theory borrowing.

Findings

After presenting the criticism on misusing theory borrowing, it outlines several recommendations to improve theory borrowing in education administration research by domesticating it through conceptual blending.

Originality/value

The purpose of this essay is to motivate educational administration scholars to reflect on the practice of theory borrowing. The guidelines offered here for promoting conceptual blending serve as a middle ground for mitigating a key problem of theory borrowing.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 58 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1975

DONALD J. WILLOWER

The purpose of this paper is to examine the state of the art of theory and theorizing in educational administration. The author investigates in what ways and why theory

2678

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the state of the art of theory and theorizing in educational administration. The author investigates in what ways and why theory and practice have been disconnected and how they could be better conjoined. Although progress in the development of theory has been slow, it has been tangible. More recent work has displayed a greater degree of scientism in approach; more people have been involved; the extent of conceptual orientation has broadened; and the number of empirical studies has also increased. Whilst acknowledging the full‐fledged field study as the preferred mode, the author suggests a number of other strategies that may profitably be utilized to provide field data with theoretical utility. An experience audit, log or diary, instruments to function as operational definitions for certain kinds of behavior or attitudes, and devices to measure concepts central to explanation in a given area are examples.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Barrie O. Pettman and Richard Dobbins

This issue is a selected bibliography covering the subject of leadership.

21568

Abstract

This issue is a selected bibliography covering the subject of leadership.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 21 no. 4/5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1993

M. Innes‐Brown

An extract from a book manuscript highlighting the specificchallenge which Greenfield posed to established thinking. Discusses howthe study of education administration has…

Abstract

An extract from a book manuscript highlighting the specific challenge which Greenfield posed to established thinking. Discusses how the study of education administration has been characterized by attempts to develop a theory which describes, explains and predicts administrative behaviour within the school context. Assesses the contribution of the “theory movement” and Kuhnian concepts; the movement of research towards finding a phenomological alternative to explain administrative behaviour; and the development of interpretive approaches which look towards subjects such as the humanities for a possible solution. In the light of this background discusses in depth the contribution made by T.B. Greenfield to the debate and considers the viability of an interpretive alternative.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 1991

R.J.S. Macpherson

Suggests that it is reasonable to expectresearchers in the field of educationaladministration to establish the relative value of theknowledge they propound. Draws on the…

Abstract

Suggests that it is reasonable to expect researchers in the field of educational administration to establish the relative value of the knowledge they propound. Draws on the branch of philosophy devoted to the study of the nature of knowledge; epistemology. Argues for new forms of awareness, criteria and processes to help with the growth of trustworthy knowledge. Concludes that there is a need for a post‐paradigm approach that celebrates coherence and multi‐perspectivism.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 5 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1970

FREDERICK M. WIRT

This article employs a system analytic framework to categorize the available research literature on the politics of education in order to explain the inter‐relationship of…

Abstract

This article employs a system analytic framework to categorize the available research literature on the politics of education in order to explain the inter‐relationship of private and public interests and of different levels in primary and secondary American schools. The objectives are several: to explain and develop the analytical framework of David Easton; to illustrate its heuristic utility by categorizing empirically‐based research within the components of that framework, and to suggest and encourage future research directions in the subject. Education has escaped application of traditional policy analysis in America because educators have convinced scholars and laymen that they are “non‐political,” a label which even most political scientists have accepted without challenge. However, during the 1960s, a few scholars in education and political science began to apply political analytical methods to public school conflict. This research has begun to change perceptions of education and to provide a beginning set of research projects whose data support tentative generalization about the policy‐making process and the total system of public schools. This orientation is bound to increase because of increasing national government intervention in local schools, both through integration and financial policies. These have provoked growing conflict locally over the proper direction of school policies. In this article, we see how such stress is transmitted in the form of “demands” and “supports” into the “political system”, that persistent social mechanism known in all societies in different forms provides an “authoritative allocation of values and resources”. The political system, in this case public school bodies, “converts” such “inputs” into “outputs” of public policy, which in their administration create outcomes which later cause a “feedback” into the political system as the material for new policy demands. For each component of this Eastonian system, this article examines relevant research, providing an extensive annotated bibliography. From this review, it is possible to suggest lines of needed research.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1992

Robert G. Owens and Charol Shakeshaft

Forty years ago the so‐called “theory movement” tookroot in educational administration because it so fundamentally brokewith the past, replacing trial‐and‐error experience…

Abstract

Forty years ago the so‐called “theory movement” took root in educational administration because it so fundamentally broke with the past, replacing trial‐and‐error experience with analysis and research in an effort to improve our understanding of educational organizations and how to manage them. Fuelled by support from private foundations and, eventually, the US federal government, this landmark development in administrative and organizational theory altered the way in which universities taught educational administration. In the educational reform movement of the 1980s, however, the established and time‐honoured theoretic concepts of the past four decades – with their emphasis on mathematical proof and ways of thinking borrowed from laboratory science – gave way to newer, richer ways of understanding organizations and thinking about them. Describes the emerging new directions in organizational and administrative theory and where they are taking us.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 1999

Sun Hyung Park

For nearly two decades, in the field of educational administration, Bates’s critical theory has been one of the most vigorous challenges to the value neutral approach of…

2090

Abstract

For nearly two decades, in the field of educational administration, Bates’s critical theory has been one of the most vigorous challenges to the value neutral approach of traditional theories. He has been a key voice claiming that such theories are ideological and mainly concerned with protecting vested interests and class divisions in society. Despite their theoretical endurance and practical implications, the main ideas advocated by Bates’s critical theory have not been examined seriously in the field. This paper analyses the main ideas of Bates’s critical social theory in three ways. First, the major intellectual influences that shaped Bates’s theory are examined. Second, those areas where Bates and Greenfield shared similar views yet took different approaches are considered. Finally, the main arguments that critics raised against Bates are examined and evaluated.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 37 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 January 2012

Colin W. Evers and Gabriele Lakomski

The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical reflection on ideas that have been published in the Journal of Educational Administration over the last 50 years that…

2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical reflection on ideas that have been published in the Journal of Educational Administration over the last 50 years that present perspectives on the nature of educational administration and its various aspects, that are alternatives to the mainstream systems‐scientific view of educational administration.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employs a standard analytic philosophy methodology with a focus on argument structures found in epistemology. The approach is to argue that the content and structure of administrative theories is shaped significantly by background epistemologies that determine the nature and justification of administrative knowledge

Findings

Epistemologies for both the traditional systems‐science approach to educational administration and a range of alternatives are identified and specified, and the most characteristic features of these approaches that follow from their epistemologies are described. The paper permits inferences about theory choice, and what approach is best, based on a discussion of the merits of the different epistemologies.

Originality/value

The principal value of the paper is to classify and demonstrate the most general features of the arguments that have been behind the large‐scale theoretical differences in the field of educational administration.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 50 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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