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ERIC Number: ED402118
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Oct
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Rural? In Educational Research: It's a Matter of Purpose.
Hedlund, Dalva E.
This paper examines the meaning of "rural" in rural education research and the relationship of this meaning to the research project's design and purpose. In traditional, comparative research designs, "rural" becomes a part of research that involves or implies comparisons with the nonrural. In contrast, emergent, interpretive designs make "rural" central to rural education research in a more subtle and profound sense. Interpretive designs make the rural context in rural education research more relevant by seeking to understand people and their actions in a holistic sense rather than aiming to predict and control individual variables, and by focusing on the conscious intentional aspects of people. Understanding the meaning or organization of a person's experience requires analysis of the person's unique dynamics and history, local culture and social structures, and collective language and symbol systems. Examples drawn from studies of rural teen pregnancy and of the impact of teachers on rural adolescents illustrate the utility of each type of research design, depending on the research purpose. Results that describe the relationship between individual variables are often applicable across educational settings. Because of the unique context, interpretive results are singularly rural, contributing to an understanding of both rural adolescents as human beings and the dynamics of development in a small rural school. Contains 10 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A