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A critical theory perspective on research collaboration

By Bill Atweh and Derek C. Bland


This chapter discusses collaboration from a critical theory perspective, in particular as developed by Habermas. The discussion is illustrated by learnings from a long term collaborative project among university academics, school teachers and high school students. A brief description of the project is presented in the first section of this chapter. However, we commence this discussion by anticipating some of the benefits of such a theoretical approach for reflecting on collaboration. \ud A critical theory perspective of collaboration, allows us to establish a rationale for collaboration in research projects rather than presuppose its use on pragmatic or strategic grounds. We problematize the traditional separation of knowledge generation and knowledge application and challenges the traditional assumptions about who has the right to speak for and about whom. A further challenge lies in the marginalisation of youth, most often the subject of school-based research, from the debate. It has been noted that "while great advances have been made in theorizing researcher-practitioner partnerships, research collaborations with youth remain under-theorized and under-utilized" (Kirshner & O’Donoghue 2001 p. 4). \ud The second section of the chapter demonstrates how this perspective allows us to establish a rationale for collaboration students on real world research projects that affect their life chances in and outside school. Critical theory focuses on the optimism for changing the world and arriving at a more socially just and egalitarian society through the realization of the human potential for reason. \ud The third section of the chapter demonstrates how this approach to studying collaboration allows the identification of a variety of its goals and benefits as well as providing the tools for critiquing their achievement

Topics: 130300 SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION, Critical theory, students as researchers
Publisher: Sense Publishers
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:13531
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