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ERIC Number: EJ1085533
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-2004
Educational Research: The Importance of the Humanities
Smith, Richard
Educational Theory, v65 n6 p739-754 Dec 2015
It is one sign of the lack of understanding of the value of the humanities, to educational research and inquiry as well as to our world more widely, that such justifications of them as are offered frequently take a crudely instrumental form. The humanities (which in this essay are not distinguished from the arts) are welcomed insofar as they are beneficial to the economy, for example, or play a therapeutic role in people's physical or mental well-being. In higher education in the UK, they are marginalized for similar reasons, on the grounds that they neither appeal to the lucrative overseas student market nor constitute a significant source of grant income from research councils, industry, or other funding sources. While their place in educational research is still defended in many quarters, the increasing demand that research should have "impact" can leave the humanities appearing ineffectual. Furthermore, the very idea of research is widely taken to mandate empiricist and "scientific" approaches. Although there are no easy solutions to this state of things, Richard Smith argues in this essay that those of us who value the humanities in and for themselves might adopt two approaches in particular: to pursue vigilant criticism of the rampant instrumentalism and scientism of our time, and to emphasize the importance of that distinctive feature of humane inquiry: interpretation.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A