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Researching professional educational practice: the case for ‘Dirty Theory’

By Ian J. Hardy


In this essay, Ian Hardy argues that a research process involving generalizing from professional educational practice can and should inform the work of educators, including academic researchers, policymakers, and practitioners, but that these generalizations need to be derived from, and in dialogue with, the complexity and specificity of actual practice, the myriad ways such practice might be understood, and a conception of practice as historically informed. In making this case, Hardy draws upon social theorist Raewyn Connell\u27s concept of "dirty theory," and he uses an example of teacher professional learning in a rural community in southeast Queensland, Australia, to show how Connell\u27s notion of dirty theory might be applied to research professional educational practice. Hardy maintains that such an approach has the benefit of making historically informed, context-aware, and epistemologically sensitive generalizations available as resources for informing the work of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. He concludes by providing examples of such generalizations as evidence of the potential of Connell\u27s theory

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1741-5446.2012.00460.x
OAI identifier: oai:espace.library.uq.edu.au:UQ:283859

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