ERIC Number: ED482572
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Jun
What Is the Research Capacity of the UK Education Research Community? Reconsidering the Shortage of Quantitative Skills Phenomenon. Occasional Paper Series.
Gorard, Stephen; Taylor, Chris; Rushforth, Katie; Smith, Emma
This paper considers the range of research methods used by the United Kingdom education research community. Using insights from 25 interviews with key stakeholders, it seeks to describe what the current strengths and weaknesses in methods are, and the methodological developments that are needed for the future health of the field. Using survey returns from 521 active researchers, the paper goes on to describe the techniques that the field can use, and those where further "training" or experience is required. Using the 8,691 individual Research Assessment Exercise returns (from a survey of higher education research activities), the paper then summarizes the methods reported to be in actual use. Finally, it uses a brief analysis of journal contents as triangulating evidence. The informants were generally in agreement that there is currently a widespread weakness in the quality of UK education research. Much of this weakness is attributed by them to a shortage of skills in quantitative methods. Other data sources suggest that the latter is less likely than the informants believe. A clear majority of education researchers report having used quantitative methods, and the substantial number of publications involving quantitative methods supports this view. It is, perhaps, rather the type and quality of both quantitative and qualitative research that leads to the poor public image of education research. Improvement is not going to come simply by enlarging the group of people using quantitative methods. Two appendixes provide information about the data collected. (Contains 23 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Cardiff Univ. (Wales). School of Social Sciences.