The Theoretical Basis for the Methodology of Comparative Research, Considered in the Light of the Contemporary Relevance of the Views of Prominent Comparative Educational Theorists
- Publisher: Edukacja Elementarna w Teorii i Praktyce
Elementary Education in Theory and Practice
Education | comparative educational studies; methodology of comparative studies; humanities; social sciences; historical perspective; comparative research; hermeneutics | Pedagogika | pedagogika porównawcza; metodologia badań porównawczych; nauki humanistyczne; nauki społeczne; perspektywa historyczna; badania komparatywne; hermeneutyka
Today’s political, economic, and social spheres are all subject to a range of contrasting processes, such as globalization and internalization on the one hand, and attempts to preserve national identity, autonomy, and independence, on the other. This is why the disciplines relating to these areas – through which man aims to cast light on his place in the complex world of these opposing tendencies – have assumed an increased importance. Amongst these are sociology, political science and comparative pedagogy. Individuals, ethnic groups and societies often try to establish their unique character by comparing themselves with others. The same goes for educational systems. Comparative educators, teachers, politicians and others compile quantitative data and qualitative information on many aspects of education, such as the number of educational institutions, the levels of successful achievement amongst young people, and the level of burnout amongst teachers. This is also pursued in order to establish the determinants of effectiveness or the need for certain adjustments, so that these can be properly identified and, if necessary, replicated. As such facts come to light, it becomes clear that such activities also require a proper methodology of comparative education to be in place, involving a comprehensive list of guidelines with respect to how one may go about making such comparisons, for what purposes, and what the pitfalls here might be. The methodology of pedagogical research, including comparative research of this kind, is currently undergoing some major changes, making the scope and significance of the discipline into something of interest not only to pedagogues, but also to researchers in other disciplines. The purpose of this article is to show the main features of the methodology of comparative educational studies, with particular emphasis on the theoretical and methodological views held by prominent comparative educational theorists. The authors seek to outline how classical methodological approaches are used in contemporary comparative research.