EDEV_504 Week 1_7

Good to meet you and to share our learning experience. Your point that compulsory schooling educators are often the end-users of HE knowledge output reminded me of the need to be ethical in research and that HE researchers in education are not simply following their own agendas. Also, it spoke to the importance of acknowledging various standpoints as the perspective of a university-based researcher may be fundamentally and critically different from a primary teacher’s one, irrespective of the underlying ideologies in the research.

I’d like to ask you about your connection of the examination of one’s ideological position with the arrival at an end point. I don’t disagree in principle with this assertion, but I’d like to know what your methodology of examination is. How does a practitioner know that they have biases? Is this a task for reflection, for the study of cognitive biases, for the survey of all possible ideological stances together with self-assessing one’s own position, or for some other method?

I’m finding the readings this week fascinating. However, I sense an omission that would help me conceptualise the discussion better. The key term ‘knowledge’ is not defined. Hammersley draws on Polanyi’s notion of tacit knowledge, for example, without describing what ‘tacit’ is and how it differs from ‘explicit’ knowledge, the other part of that dichotomy (2006, p. 275). Without a conception of ‘knowledge’, talking about how it is controlled or researched contains in itself many assumptions. From the field of knowledge management, North and Kumpta (2014) provide a useful depiction that graphically represents one view of the concept of knowledge (p. 32). In this view, knowledge refers to a development of information that introduces procedural (know how), declarative (know what) and inferential (know why) aspects.

knowledge steps

Figure 1. The knowledge ladder (from North & Kumpta, 2014, p. 32).

This is not the only formulation of knowledge. Zins (2007) collated the working definitions of ‘data’, ‘information’ and ‘knowledge’ from over 50 researchers in information technology. Reading through them is useful in helping formulate one’s own view of what constitutes knowledge.


Hammersley, M. (2006). Philosophy’s Contribution to Social Science Research on Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 40(2), 273–286. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9752.2006.00504.x

North, K., & Kumta, G. (2014). Knowledge management: Value creation through organizational learning. Cham: Springer. doi:10.1093/annhyg/mei026

Zins, C. (2007). Conceptual approaches for defining data, information and knowledge. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(4), 479–493. doi:10.1002/asi

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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