The tale of four researchers : trials and triumphs from the phenomenographic research specialization

Ireland, Joseph, Tambyah, Mallihai M., Neofa, Zui, & Harding, Terry (2009) The tale of four researchers : trials and triumphs from the phenomenographic research specialization. In AARE 2008 International Education Conference : Changing Climates : Educatrion for Sustainable Futures, 30th November - 4th December2008, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

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This paper explores the tactics employed to overcome challenges, unique and common, for others new to or considering a foray into qualitative research using phenomenography. Each contributing author is a postgraduate student making use of the phenomenographical research specialisation in their thesis. Several reoccurring themes of difficulty repeatedly surfaced for the researchers, as well as unique problems specific to the research topic of each researcher. The first two contributors have identified the historical antecedents of phenomenography and identified the constructivist-interpretive approach of phenomenography. This is situated in a study of middle years teachers’ conceptions of “essential knowledge” in social science education, and a study of the qualitatively different ways in which lower primary school teachers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) understand outcomes-based education. The third contributor discusses practical issues with the most common form of data gathering in phenomenography, the interview, in relation to a study into primary school teachers’ conceptions of teaching science through inquiry learning. The fourth contributor discusses data analysis, the structure of awareness, and the ‘outcome space’ as part of a study into the roles of parents in home educated children. Common findings indicate that all researchers strove to understand the phenomenon from the perspective of the participants, and illustrate that phenomenography may be employed to answer a wide variety of research questions. The result is a mapping of personal encounters with the methodology that may prove useful to researchers seeking to better understand this qualitative research methodology.

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ID Code: 20457
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: educational research issues, phenomenography, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900) > Education not elsewhere classified (139999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 14 May 2009 00:54
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:41

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