Module 1. The role and nature of theory
The module aims to explore the role and significance of theory in advanced academic inquiry. It will explore discourses around theory and the relationship between theory and the concept of paradigms and professional practice. You will be expected to situate your own practices and professional contexts within particular theoretical frameworks and begin to analyse the limitations of theory. The ability to critique and interpret theory in relation to complex issues in specialist fields and research is a core aim of this module.
By the end of this module Candidates should be able to demonstrate:
- A systematic understanding of knowledge around the significance of theory in the conceptualisation and practice of education.
- A comprehensive understanding of the role and nature of theory in advanced academic enquiry.
- An ability to communicate their understanding of theory or theories in a particular field or professional environment.
- A conceptual understanding that will allow them to analyse the contribution and limitations of theory in research.
Indicative Module Content
The module will focus on developing your knowledge and understanding of the role and nature of theory in advanced scholarship and complex areas of research. You will discuss and interrogate examples of research that deploy different approaches to theory as well as examining a range of perspectives on the usefulness and limitations of theory in research.
The relationship between theory and research will be explored through an examination of modernism and post modernity. Links between theory and education will be analysed using practices and policies underpinned by constructivism as examples of theory ‘in practice’.
Candidates will be introduced to some key themes in the relationship between ethics and research through a consideration of the tension between ethics and different theories of education.
The assessment will be an essay of 4000 words on an aspect of theory in relation to an area of your choice.
Adams, J. Cochrane, M. and Dunne, L. (2012) Applying Theory to Educational Research. Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ball, S. (2012) Performativity, commodification and commitment: An I-spy guide to the neoliberal university. British Journal of Educational Studies.60 (1) 17-28. Gulson, K. Clarke, M and Peterson, E. 2015 (Eds) Education Policy and Contemporary Theory. London: Routledge.
Joas, H. and Knobl, W. (2009) Social Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Popkewitz, T and Fendler, L. (1999) (EdS) Critical Theories in Education. London:
Ranciere, J. (1991) The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Thomas, G. (1997) What’s the use of Theory? Harvard Educational Review. 67 (1) 75 –
Usher, R and Edwards, R. (2002) Postmodernism and Education. London: Routledge.
British Journal of Sociology of Education
Cambridge Journal of Education
Teaching and Learning