Traditions of inquiry in education: Engaging the paradigms of educational research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter I examine debates over the relative merits of qualitative and quantitative research in education from the perspective of Michael Oakeshott's critique of rationalism in the study of human conduct. Contrary to the positivist view that causal explanation based on randomized experimentation is the highest standard of knowledge, I argue that when it comes to the study of human subjects, even statistical generalizations depend upon a prior form of qualitative understanding. The chapter concludes by considering some consequences of this perspective, which I call 'transcendental pragmatism,' for the practice of inquiry in education.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Research in Education
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9789400768093
ISBN (Print)9400768087, 9789400768086
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights are reserved by the Publisher.


  • Educational research paradigms
  • Epistemology
  • Inquiry methods
  • Research methodology
  • Transcendental Pragmatism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (all)


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