ERIC Number: EJ949717
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Lure of Statistics for Educational Researchers
Labaree, David F.
Educational Theory, v61 n6 p621-632 Dec 2011
In this essay David Labaree explores the historical and sociological elements that have made educational researchers dependent on statistics. He shows that educational research as a domain, with its focus on a radically soft and thoroughly applied form of knowledge and with its low academic standing, fits the pattern in which weak professions have been most likely to adopt quantification. One problem with educational researchers' seduction by the quantitative turn is that it deflects attention away from many of the most important issues in the field, which are not easily reduced to standardized quanta. Another is that by adopting this rationalized, quantified, abstracted, statist, and reductionist vision of education, educational policymakers risk imposing reforms that will destroy the local practical knowledge that makes the ecology of the classroom function effectively. Quantification, Labaree suggests, may be useful for the professional interests of educational researchers, but it can be devastating for school and society.
Descriptors: Educational Researchers, Statistics, Educational Research, Status, Social Science Research, Professional Occupations, Educational Attitudes, Classroom Environment, Educational Policy, Public Officials, Politics of Education, Educational Change
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
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