Epistemological Trends of Educational Action Research in Greece (1990 – 2010)

Paris Papaioannou
Teacher, Ph.D. Student, University of Crete

Abstract: This article reports the research findings of a study that focused on the epistemological characteristics of 36 educational action-research projects (e.g. PhD Dissertations, postgraduate research, collaborative research projects published in peer-reviewed academic journals) which took place in Greece during 1990-2010. Analysis of these projects has been qualitative. Specifically, a content analysis method has been employed; using categories and sub-categories derived from J. Habermas’ theory of cognitive interests (1965) - the technical, practical, and emancipatory interests - L. Stenhouse’s theory of curriculum (1975) and the criteria for categorisation of action research as developed by S. Grundy (1987), B. Somekh & K. Zeichner (2009). This study suggests that the application of action research in Greek education during the last twenty years has been influenced by the dominant epistemological paradigm of positivism. The latter emphasises technical interests, effectiveness and evaluation. Although action research gives academic researchers the opportunity to collaborate with educators in practice, in the Greek educational research it is used as a circular and experimental research methodology that aims to control the factors and variables which influence the verification (or refutation) of initial research hypotheses.

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