Volume 8 · Number 1 · Pages 118-125
Constructivist Criteria for Organising and Designing Educational Research: How Might an Educational Research Inquiry Be Judged from a Constructivist Perspective?

Sandra Joy Kemp

Log in download the full text in PDF

> Citation > Similar > References > Add Comment


Context: Ernst von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism has been very influential in education, particularly in mathematics and science education. Problem: There is limited guidance available for educational researchers who wish to design research that is consistent with constructivist thinking. Von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism, together with the theoretical perspectives outlined by constructivist educational researchers such as Guba and Lincoln, can be considered as a source of guidance. Method: The paper outlines a constructivist knowledge framework that could be adopted for educational research. The discussion considers how judgement of what counts as knowledge could be made, and how the set of procedures chosen could enable the researcher to represent the findings of the inquiry as knowledge. Results: An argument is made for researchers to explicate the criteria for judging an inquiry. Each criterion can then be linked to the standards to be reached and the techniques for generating data. The joint satisfaction of criteria and techniques for a constructivist inquiry creates conditions that indicate the “trustworthiness” or “authenticity” of an educational research study. Implications: The illustration of how a constructivist inquiry could be judged recognises how the contribution of von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism can be used to inform the practice of educational research. Constructivist content: The argument presented in the paper links to radical constructivism and suggests ways in which it can be applied in the context of educational research.

Key words: Knowledge framework, methodological criteria, trustworthiness, authenticity


Kemp S. J. (2012) Constructivist criteria for organising and designing educational research: How might an educational research inquiry be judged from a constructivist perspective? Constructivist Foundations 8(1): 118-125. http://constructivist.info/8/1/118

Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS)

Similar articles

Hoffjann O. (2013) Public Relations: Between Omnipotence and Impotence


Agger B. (1991) Critical theory, poststructuralism, postmodernism: Their sociological relevance. Annual Review of Sociology 17: 105–131. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Angrosino M. V. & Mays de Pérez K. A. (2000) Rethinking observation: From method to context. In: Denzin N. K. & Lincoln Y. S. (eds.) The handbook of qualitative research. Second edition. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks CA: 673–702. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Bassey M. (1999) Case study research in educational settings. Open University Press, Buckingham UK. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
British Educational Research Association (2011) Ethical guidelines for educational research. Retrieved from http://www.bera.ac.uk on 2 December 2011. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Cobb P. & Yackel E. (1996) Constructivist, emergent, and sociocultural perspectives in the context of developmental research. Educational Psychologist 31(3/4): 175–190. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Cobb P. (1994) Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development. Educational Researcher 23(7): 13–20. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Cobb P. (2011) Implications of Ernst von Glasersfeld’s constructivism for supporting the improvement of teaching on a large scale. Constructivist Foundations 6(2): 157–161. http://www.univie.ac.at/ constructivism/journal/6/2/157.cobb
Cohen L., Manion L. & Morrison K. (2000) Research methods in education. Fifth edition. Routledge/Falmer, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Corbin J. & Strauss A. (1990) Grounded theory research: Procedures, canons, and evaluative criteria. Qualitative Sociology 13(1): 3–21. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Denzin N. K. & Lincoln Y. S. (2000) The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In: Denzin N. K. & Lincoln Y. S. (eds.) The handbook of qualitative research. Second edition. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks CA: 1–28. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Dykstra D. I. Jr. (2005) Against realist instruction: superficial success masking catastrophic failure and an alternative. Constructivist Foundations 1(1): 49–60. http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/1/1/049.dykstra
Foerster H. von (1995) Ethics and second-order cybernetics. Stanford Electronic Humanities Review 4(2) http://www.stanford.edu/group/SHR/4–2/text/foerster.html
Geertz C. (1993) The interpretation of cultures. Fontana Press, New York. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (1986) Steps in the construction of “others” and “reality”: A study in self regulation. In: Trappl R. (ed.) Power, autonomy, utopia. Plenum Press, New York: 107–116. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (1989) Cognition, construction of knowledge, and teaching. Synthese 80(1): 121–140. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (1995) Radical constructivism: A way of knowing and learning. Routledge/Falmer, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Glasersfeld E. von (2009) Relativism, fascism, and the question of ethics in constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 4(3): 117–120. http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/4/3/117.glasersfeld
Guba E. G. & Lincoln Y. S. (1989) Fourth generation evaluation. Sage Publications, Newbury Park CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Lakomski G. (1992) Unity over diversity: Coherence and realism in educational research. Curriculum Inquiry 22(2): 191–203. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Lincoln Y. S. & Guba E. G. (1985) Naturalistic inquiry. Sage, Beverly Hills CA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Lincoln Y. S. & Guba E. G. (1986) But is it rigorous? Trustworthiness and authenticity in naturalistic evaluation. In: Williams D. D. (ed.) Naturalistic evaluation. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco: 73–84. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Lincoln Y. S. & Guba E. G. (2000) Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences. In: Denzin N. K. & Lincoln Y. S. (eds.) The handbook of qualitative research. (2nd ed.) Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks CA: 163–188. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Lincoln Y. S. (1995) Emerging criteria for quality in qualitative and interpretive research. Qualitative Inquiry 1(3): 275–289. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Maturana H. R. & Verden-Zöller G. (2008) The origins of humanness in the biology of love. Imprint Academic, Exeter UK. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Maturana H. R. (1988) Reality: the search for objectivity or the quest for a compelling argument. The Irish Journal of Psychology 9(1): 25–82. http://www.enolagaia.com/M88Reality.html
Pillow W. S. (2003) Confession, catharsis, or cure? Rethinking the uses of reflexivity as methodological power in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 16(2): 175–196. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Pring R. (2003) The virtues and vices of an educational researcher. In: Sikes P., Nixon J. & Carr W. (eds.) The moral foundations of educational research: Knowledge, inquiry and values. Open University Press, Maidenhead: 52–67. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Quine W. V. (1980) From a logical point of view. Second edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Schmidt S. J. (2010) Radical constructivism: A tool, not a super theory! Constructivist Foundations 6(1): 6–11. http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/6/1/006.schmidt
Schwandt T. A. (1996) Farewell to criteriology. Qualitative Inquiry 2(1): 58–72. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Seale C. (1999) The quality of qualitative research. Sage Publications, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Usher R., Bryant I. & Johnston R. (1997) Adult education and the postmodern challenge: Learning beyond the limits. Routledge, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Vygotsky L. S. (1962) Thought and language. MIT Press, Cambridge MA. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Wellington J. (2000) Educational research: Contemporary issues and practical approaches. Continuum, London. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

Comments: 0

To stay informed about comments to this publication and post comments yourself, please log in first.