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Virtuous Educational Research

Conversations on Ethical Practice


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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Part V. Facing the Future of Educational Research


Part V Facing the Future of Educational Research In my conversations with eighteen researchers, presented in Chapters 2 to 10, there are enough themes and issues to make for a whole book’s worth of analysis. I am restricting myself to two chapters, both looking to the future of virtuous educational research. The first, Chapter 11, explores the conver- sational process itself, and its importance for educational research. Each conversation is a kind of portrait of the researcher. Portraiture is a recog- nised research method, with a leading exponent being Lawrence-Lightfoot (Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis 1997, Lawrence-Lightfoot 2000, 2009), and another being Mike Bottery (Bottery et al. 2008b), who describes his approach in Chapter 5. It was Mike Bottery himself – in reading drafts of several chapters – who noted that this book was developing into a book of portraits. He sees the value of portraits of school leaders (their value as research and their value for the school leaders themselves), and I would like to explore the value of these portraits of researchers and to add one, briefer, portrait. However, I would like to go further. In Chapter 12, I want to present a bigger picture. How does educational research work within universities? What is the value of such research? And, given the focus throughout on research virtues, what theory of virtuous research emerges from the conversations? Chapter 11 Portraits of Researchers Introduction Each conversation in this book is a kind of portrait of the researcher, and together they add up to more...

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