This book aims to show how a meta-theory of critical realism can be applied to research about pedagogy in the changing landscape of higher education in England. It introduces some of the key ideas of critical realism, and its potential to clarify complex issues that arise in research. This book draws on a critical realist study of structure/agency interactions in three contrasting higher education institutions. Seven case studies of lecturers, over the three universities, are considered to explore the interplay of global, national and institutional structures and processes in their everyday working lives and the extent of their agency in these settings.
Conceptual approaches to pedagogy are developed through an application of critical realism to the nature of knowledge, human agency and structure-agency interactions against the changing landscape in higher education at global, national and institutional levels. The book offers a way out of the current malaise in educational research which appears to be stuck between empiricist reductionism and hermeneutic interpretive positions. Highlighting the importance of ontological analyses, this book explores a realist approach to learning, pedagogy and knowledge in English higher education and will be of interest to students, scholars and practitioners working in education, critical realism and philosophy more generally.
1. Introduction 2. Philosophical Framework 3. Structure, Agency and their interaction. 4. Knowledge and Pedagogy 5. The changing nature of higher education. 6. Methodology 7. University X 8. University Y 9. University Z 10. Conclusions