Environmental Education Research as Profession, as Science, as Art and as Craft: Implications for guidelines in qualitative research

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<ul><li><p>This article was downloaded by: [Hochschulbibliothek der HTWG Konstanz]On: 19 October 2014, At: 06:03Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T3JH, UK</p><p>Environmental EducationResearchPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ceer20</p><p>Environmental EducationResearch as Profession, asScience, as Art and as Craft:Implications for guidelines inqualitative researchStephen Gough &amp; Alan ReidPublished online: 01 Jul 2010.</p><p>To cite this article: Stephen Gough &amp; Alan Reid (2000) Environmental EducationResearch as Profession, as Science, as Art and as Craft: Implications for guidelinesin qualitative research, Environmental Education Research, 6:1, 47-57, DOI:10.1080/135046200110485</p><p>To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/135046200110485</p><p>PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE</p><p>Taylor &amp; Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of allthe information (the Content) contained in the publications on ourplatform. 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Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution,reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any formto anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &amp; Conditions of access and use canbe found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Hoc</p><p>hsch</p><p>ulbi</p><p>blio</p><p>thek</p><p> der</p><p> HT</p><p>WG</p><p> Kon</p><p>stan</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 06:</p><p>03 1</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p><p>http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions</p></li><li><p>Environmental Education Research, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2000</p><p>Environmental Education Research as</p><p>Profession, as Science, as Art and as Craft:</p><p>implications for guidelines in qualitative</p><p>research</p><p>STEPHEN GOUGH &amp; ALAN REID University of Bath, UK</p><p>SUMMARY The view taken by any particular educational researcher of the desirabilityand potential usefulness of guidelines for qualitative research seems likely to dependupon the way in which the activity of `doing educational research is itself conceptu-alised. The implications of a number of possible positions on this question are examined.It is argued that the existence of such a range of positions is likely to continue, but thatthere may be, nevertheless, a limited role for generally applicable research guidelines iftheir purpose is appropriately de ned.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>Clearly the project of identifying guidelines for researchers in environmentaleducation presupposes the possibility of establishing a consensus of some sortabout appropriate research standards. One possible explanation for the observ-able elusiveness of such a consensus is that different researchers hold, implicitlyor explicitly, rather different views about what sort of activity researching ineducation actually is. If this is so, it is unsurprising, given the well-establishedperception that different teachers (and other stakeholders in education) mayhave quite different views about what sort of activity teaching actually is. Wiseet al. (1984) identi ed four ideal-typical views, or perspectives, of this kind.Teaching, they proposed, may be seen as labour, as a craft, as a profession, or asan art.Certainly, and as will be argued in more detail below, this method of</p><p>classi cation does not transfer wholesale to a consideration of ways in whicheducational researchers might think about what they do. However, in this articlewe use it both as a starting point and as basis for keeping the question `what sort</p><p>1350-4622/00/010047-11 2000 Taylor &amp; Francis Ltd</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Hoc</p><p>hsch</p><p>ulbi</p><p>blio</p><p>thek</p><p> der</p><p> HT</p><p>WG</p><p> Kon</p><p>stan</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 06:</p><p>03 1</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>48 S. Gough &amp; A. Reid</p><p>of activity is research in education? open while exploring the cases for andagainst guidelines for qualitative research. We argue, in particular, that re-searchers views about whether there should be research guidelines and, if so,what form they should take, are likely to depend upon whether they see theirwork as a science-based profession, as a profession based to a greater or lesserextent in something other than science, or as something other than a profession.We conclude by examining the notion of educational research as a craft, andexploring the implications for the development of research guidelines inherentin such a conceptualisation.</p><p>Environmental Education Research as a Profession of Scienti c Enquiry</p><p>In his development and re-presentation of Wise et als (1984) work on teaching,Bennett (1997) identi es the following characteristics of a profession:</p><p> diagnostic skills; skills in the evaluation and implementation of possible courses of action agreed standards of understanding and competence justi ed by reference totheory; con dence that delity to agreed standards will produce desired results.</p><p>Of course, professional attempts at diagnosis, evaluation, implementation andstandard-setting in environmental education research need not necessarily begrounded in a scienti c worldview. Equally clearly, however, some researchershave seen them as being so grounded. This is explicit, for example, in thecharacterisation of quantitative research which was used as an introductoryresource in the workshop reported by Smith-Sebasto (2000, Fig. 3), and implicitin the claim (Smith-Sebasto, 2000, p. 10) that quantitative and positivist researchare the same thing, as also are postpositivist and qualitative research. There areenvironmental education researchers who believe in:</p><p> the existence of social facts with a single objective reality; observable and objective social truth; the possibility of avoidance of bias through researcher detachment from theresearch setting; the ef cacy of adherence to predetermined, in exible research procedures;</p><p>and who further subscribe to the justi catory notion that they and `natural andphysical science practitioners are the joint custodians of these perceptions(Smith-Sebasto, 2000, Fig. 3). The point here is not that all these suppositionshave been rendered at best questionable by a very substantial body of literature(see, for an overview, Reid &amp; Gough, 2000), but that those who adhere uncom-promisingly to such a `professional-scientist view (as we term it here) of theirwork in environmental education research are not just likely to support thenotion of research guidelines, but to regard them as indispensable as a means ofexcluding from the canon research which is insuf ciently objective, detached,pre-planned or, in sum, scienti cally professional. Given this, the questionarises: why do professional-scientist researchers in environmental educationwant to engage with what is commonly referred to as qualitative research at all?</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Hoc</p><p>hsch</p><p>ulbi</p><p>blio</p><p>thek</p><p> der</p><p> HT</p><p>WG</p><p> Kon</p><p>stan</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 06:</p><p>03 1</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Implications for Guidelines in Qualitative Research 49</p><p>One possible answer lies in the sheer, inescapable stubbornness with whichhuman subjects refuse to behave in the manner thought proper for the foci ofpositivist social research. The point is nicely illustrated in Smith-Sebastos (2000)article, in which the following claims or observations are separately made:</p><p> humans are the ultimate focus of environmental education research (p. 9); the human character is complex and inconsistent (p. 16); quantitative research often assumes stasis regarding the research focus (p. 18).</p><p>Hence, one might argue that the suggested guideline question for qualitativeresearchers: `Have you adequately described the evolving relationship betweenthe emerging research question(s) and the data? (Smith-Sebasto, 2000, p. 18) isevery bit as appropriate for quantitative researchers too, though there wouldseem to be dif culties in squaring an af rmative answer to it with a preferencefor pre-determined and in exibly applied research procedures (Smith-Sebasto,2000, Fig. 3).The problem posed for positivist research by complex and inconsistent human</p><p>behaviour would be greatly reduced if behaviour as a whole could be separatedinto two discrete parts, with the inconsistent bits hived off to qualitative or`postpositivist (Smith-Sebasto, 2000, p. 18) research and the rest isolated forinvestigation using objective, `scienti c methods. Something of the sort has, infact, been proposed within the eld of environmental education research byChawla (1998, p. 384), who refers to an `emotional and interpretive side ofhuman experience which she sees as the proper focus of qualitative research. Inthis conceptualisation the role of qualitative research guidelines would seem tobe a gatekeeping one, designed to exclude all those qualitative researchers whomight be disinclined to see their own endeavours as a supplement to those of theprofessional- scientists, but prefer to argue instead that their work representedan alternative, and in many ways superior, approach to the complexity ofeducational experience in its entirety. This group would seem likely to includenot only most of those qualitative researchers who would reject a `postpositivistlabel for themselves, but also many of those who would accept one. Interest-ingly, it would clearly further include many who were not the least shy of usingquantitative techniques to inform or advance qualitative research when thisseemed appropriate (see, for example, Silverman, 1993, pp. 162 165).There is a further possible reason for the engagement of professional-scienti c,</p><p>positivist/quantitative researchers in environmental education with qualitativeresearch which also implies a need for the development of research guidelines.The positivist appeal to the natural sciences as a model for social-scienti cresearch has embedded within it a conception of a community of scientists ableto check, replicate and verify each others work. This implies some measure ofagreement about what research is properly to be done, and how. Examples ofresearch in environmental education to which to this notion of scienti c com-munity is intrinsic include Hungerford et al.s (1980) development of goals forcurriculum development in environmental education, and Roths (1970)identi cation of fundamental concepts for environmental management edu-cation.However, the word `community has sometimes seemed rather stretched</p><p>when applied to that group of individuals who consider themselves to beenvironmental education researchers. Writing in 1987, for example, Ian Robot-</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Hoc</p><p>hsch</p><p>ulbi</p><p>blio</p><p>thek</p><p> der</p><p> HT</p><p>WG</p><p> Kon</p><p>stan</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 06:</p><p>03 1</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>50 S. Gough &amp; A. Reid</p><p>tom accused Harold Hungerford and his colleagues of seeking to foreclosedebate about the de nitions, aims and guiding principles of environmentaleducation in a way which protected their own interests (Hungerford et al., 1983;Robottom, 1987). In 1993, Robottom and Hart, referring to positivist approaches,observed that environmental education research was:</p><p>in some areas at least rmly in the grip of an insular researchparadigm that has little prospect of contributing to the achievement ofthe very purposes espoused in the founding of modern environmentaleducation some two decades ago. (Robottom &amp; Hart, 1993, p. 3)</p><p>Whatever the truth or otherwise of these particular claims, ideas abouteducational research in general, and environmental education research in par-ticular, have continued to change and develop, partly as a result of contestationbetween researchers. Some aspects of these changes are discussed in more detailbelow. For now, however, it suf ces to say that while the research perspectiveof those classi ed here as `professional-scientists is still widely respected, it isvery questionable whether it is any longer dominant within the eld, as itcertainly was in, say, 1987. In this changed situation, postpositivism providesprofessional-scienti c researchers with a pragmatic way of behaving inclusivelytowards colleagues who do not espouse positivism, but are nevertheless countedin increasing numbers, de facto, among the academys eminent and respectedpersons, because it too permits appeals to the authority of a form of objectiveknowledge which is constructed and validated through the joint endeavours ofa community of scientists with shared standards (Seale, in press). Though agreedstandards and research guidelines may therefore shift or widen a little (perhapsthrough managed processes such as workshops and special editions of academicjournals), the perceived need for them remains as strong as ever. A cynic mightfurther argue that since the designation `qualitative has itself now become, defacto, quite respectable when applied to research, the attempt to con ate it with`postpositivist is no more than a (possibly unconscious) attempt to re-deny thatrespectability to those within the qualitative research community who are notpostpositivists and who appear to reject or even threaten the notion of acoherent research community or eld.</p><p>Artistry in the Profession of Environmental Education Research</p><p>Returning to our adaptation of the framework devised by Wise et al. (1984) anddeveloped by Bennett (1997), we have already described the way in which someresearchers in environmental education appear to see their work as `pro-fessional-scienti c . While any researcher presently engaged in one of the choresof the job, transcription for example, might feel that the designation of researchas labour has much to recommend it. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable tosuggest that many qualitative researchers would have relatively few problemswith being designated as professional . It will be recalled that a key characteristicof work seen as a profession was its appeal to theory as a basis for establishingcompetence. `Professional-scienti c , has been used here to describe researchersin environmental education who have appealed to a positivistic theory of sciencein this way.</p><p>Dow</p><p>nloa</p><p>ded </p><p>by [</p><p>Hoc</p><p>hsch</p><p>ulbi</p><p>blio</p><p>thek</p><p> der</p><p> HT</p><p>WG</p><p> Kon</p><p>stan</p><p>z] a</p><p>t 06:</p><p>03 1</p><p>9 O</p><p>ctob</p><p>er 2</p><p>014 </p></li><li><p>Implications for Guidelines in Qualitative Research 51</p><p>Writing about the view of teaching as an art, Bennett (1997, pp. 46 47)observes that:</p><p>It does not deny the importance of t...</p></li></ul>