Qualitative Research, Research based Education and
Purpose of the ELU website
A (very) brief history of the ELU
the Qualitative Research Resources on the ELU Website and Go
to the BLOG for discussion on Qualitative Research
see research methodology books by John
Schostak. See education, youth and
popular culture books by John Schostak. See the key publications
projects and experience of John Schostak
Education from a standpoint of human rights
and social justice has almost
been lost sight of in the rush for 'standards', 'quality assurance',
and the surveillance
and control of people in an age characterised as 'postmodern',
transformed by the language of 'cyberspace' and the networks of global
media, financial and multi-national corporations. Yet, to be truly
postmodern is to be open to the opportunity structures of rapidly
changing technologies and cultures. For this, reflective processes
of enquiry, educational
dialogue, enquiry based learning and research are essential supports
for both individual freedom and creativity and the emergence of communities
exploring curricula founded
problem solving and creativity.
As long ago as 1552-3, Etienne de la Boetie wrote that people can
be free, even under dictatorships "merely by willing to be free":
Resolve to serve no more , and you are at once freed. I do not
ask that you place hands on the tyrant to toppl.e him over, but
simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him,
like a great Collossus whose pedestal
has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.
(Source Rothbard - here to download)
Of course, this is easier said than done.
critical reflection systematically applied to all spheres of public
life, research can make a radical
difference in the lives of people. The ELU archive of papers is
a contribution to this aim where freedom is democratically constructed
in the public lives of people. It is in drivng this aim to the heart
of everyday life that research creates the conditions for democratic
Research focusing on the impact on everyday
life of education, political, social, economic and cultural structures
and processes is critical in a 'postmodern'
age dominated by information media, globalisation and the use and
abuse of knowledge. Qualitative and participative action
research strategies alongside the appropriate use of quantitative
research strategies can provide all decision makers at every level
in a given system or organisation with a democratic means of access
to information. Such research can provide not just professionals but
all concerned with learning, knowledge creation, the politics of knowledge,
and cultural studies with a means to adopt a critical stance and formulate
strategies to engage in the kind of action that leads to real changes
in practice. Change is possible as many will testify. An example is
to be found in the 'Early
years talking and listening project' which in many ways exemplifies
the use of action research to
bring about change. But change requires imagination, de-constructing
the rigid ways of writing and reading the 'realities' that frame our
everyday lives. It draws upon personal experience to develop curricular
action. Opening up imaginative
spaces is the purpose of enquiry learning, emancipatory, radical
qualitative research and
the processes of education.
Purpose of the ELU Website
The purpose of this web site is to contribute
to the development of qualiative
research and its application to enquiry
learning, or enquiry based learning as a basis for evidence based
decision making for all, not just professionals, policy makers or
politicians, as a basis for everyday living. Its purpose is about
making changes so that the institutions that frame everyday lives
can be reformed to meet the needs,
interests of people in a context of human rights and social justice.
The term 'enquiry learning' is used in order to make a contrast with
the more traditional forms of schooling associated with prescribed
curricula and transmission learning. Enquiry learning is about people
formulating their own agendas of concern which they wish to explore.
The enquiry learning approach is then about promoting the strategies
that enable people to identify, choose and explore whatever it is
that interests them. The whole process is, at its widest, curiosity
driven, that is, driven by one's own motivations and interests. Some
may use it to explore workplace, or professional problems, issues,
needs. Others may be driven by wider cultural, political or humanitarian
interests. It is hoped that this web site may contribute a little
to these ends.
A (very) Brief History of ELU
The ELU was initially developed to respond
to the increasing demands of professionals for learning to be founded
upon real life professional practice. Since real life practice does
not take place according to neat text-book formulae and since real
life is complex, ever changing, professionals need to adopt strategies
for learning which enhance their practice. These strategies take the
form of enquiries on practice within the context of the place of work.
The purpose is to gain better understandings of the complexities of
professional work, improve the knowledge, skills and information which
guide professional decision making and hence improve the quality of
The approach of the ELU is fully cross professional.
It is of interest to any profession. We have worked with business
consultants, health professionals, police officers, psychotherapists
and teachers amongst others.
ELU was first placed on the Web at the School
of Education, UEA by John Schostak. No new material will be added
at this site.
ELU has now transferred to its own site at
www.enquirylearning.net and is being maintained and developed by John
Schostak who, from September 2003, works at the Manchester Metropolitan
University, Institute of Education. The orginal plus new material
will be added to this site.