Educational Research: Educational Purposes, The Nature of Knowledge and Ethical Issues

Julio Lopez-Alvarado


Educational research should aim at improving educational practice by analysing the world of Education to understand it and make it better. It should be a critical, reflective and professionally oriented activity.  Educational research should have three objectives: to explore issues and find answers to questions (for academics), to share policy (e.g. relationships between education/work/training, for policy makers) and to improve practice (for practitioners). Historically the role of the educational researcher has moved from academic theorist, through expert consultant, to reflective practitioner. Educational research has changed from the positivist assumptions underpinning the scientific–experimental paradigms which had prevailed during the 20th century, to the recent postmodernist and poststructuralist trends, which challenged the previous assumptions. Educational purposes are many and varied, and there is probably no consensus on this issue. The purposes of education can be affected by the context of the historical periods and by ideology. The purposes of education research can also be affected by the views and beliefs of reality. Educational research can in turn be affected and constrained by ethical issues. In this paper I will try and discuss the main issues regarding educational research, and how they affect the modern educational researcher.


educational research; educational purposes; nature of knowledge; ontology; epistemology; ethical issues

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