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Virtuous Educational Research

Conversations on Ethical Practice

Series:

Julian Stern

This is a book of conversations with researchers working across Europe, the USA and Africa. It aims to illuminate the lived reality of educational research on a wide variety of topics, including family life in rural South Africa, support for self-harming students in the UK, character development in the USA and Korea, educational leadership in the UK and China, philosophical analysis of education policy, and much more.
The book is for and about researchers and is built around a set of conversations with the author – a fellow researcher. Researchers work at the frontiers of our knowledge and understanding of the world, and frontiers can be dangerous places. How are the researchers’ personal qualities – virtues such as courage, honesty and kindness – tested and exemplified in their work? The conversations presented here explore the experience of research and ask what qualities are needed, or wished for, in order to successfully face its challenges. There are many books that include lists of what to do and what not to do when carrying out research. Here, in contrast, we find out what really happens and why – and what it takes to keep going.

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Preface

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This is the first book of its kind about virtuous educational research, a book of researchers working in the UK (in England and Scotland), main- land Europe (Latvia, Russia and Spain), North America (Canada and the USA), and South Africa. They illuminate the lived reality of educa- tional research – research on family life in rural South Africa, support for self-harming students in the UK, character development in the US and Korea, educational leadership in the UK and China, philosophical analy- sis of education policy, and much more. The book is built around a set of conversations. This way of presenting researchers is in part derived from the pattern set by Bryan Magee, in his conversations with contemporary philosophers (Magee 1971, 1978). The views of researchers are explored in discussion with me – a fellow-researcher. Although these could be described as ‘interviews’, they are more collaborative and therefore conversational than conventional interviews. This book is for and about researchers themselves. Researchers work at the frontiers of our knowledge and understanding of the world, and fron- tiers can be dangerous places. How are the researchers’ personal qualities – the virtues such as courage, honesty, and kindness – tested and exemplified in contemporary research? For all the work on research ethics in master’s and doctoral degrees, and in the training of academic staff, researchers find that they face unexpected challenges – the challenges inherent in the process of research. Researchers talk about their experience of research and what qualities are needed – or wished for – to face the...

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