The second idea was about the modern trend towards relativism and partisanship in science as described by Hammersley: "there have been increasing claims, especially among qualitative researchers, that enquiry cannot but be partisan" (Hammersley, M. 2000. “Introduction.” Taking sides in social research: essays on partisanship and bias, London & New York: Routledge). I'm of the view that all research has a bias, or at least a set of assumptions that have some impact on the results. Sometime these assumptions are suspected and researchers go to some lengths to root them out and expose them in their own work, sometime these assumptions are undetected, and sometimes they are deliberate. I think about some qualitative researchers that I know, whose work in the field has provided them with so many reasons to take up advocacy that could not, in good conscience, allow their research not to have a partisan agenda. This is not the same as manipulating research to support a partisan agenda, but it does create challenging questions for these folks about the boundaries between research and advocacy. As it should! I am more comfortable with people with research in a relevant field showing up on a cause than I am leaving this to politicians alone. In m mind, this is especially true for researchers who deal with controversial environmental, cultural, and economic issues.
These ideas have some implications for my PhD research. With the addition of ideas from Oreskes and Gerwitz and Cribb (authors of other articles we read), I can see the total set of readings here informing some framing statements for my work around the limits of what can actually be said about teaching and learning, and who should be saying it. these readings also have implications for the role of narrative in educational theory and policy.
The locus on control for educational policy in BC is an ongoing debate. In most ways, this control is seated with the provincial government, but in other ways it is also owned by the teachers themselves (via the BCTF) who have rights to bargain key working ad learning conditions in their collective agreement. My research will not likely go there, but it will move about among the various attempts to teach about place, to teach about climate change, to teach about reconciliation. In these areas, a kind of partisanship in the research is a fact of life. Teachers are rarely neutral on climate change and are in fact supported by the government's curriculum (and more recently in the revised Teacher Standards -- see Standard 9) to bring a particular set of values to the table in terms of Indigenous reconciliation. We have been asked to trust the science (the plethora of research about the conditions for Indigenous people in Canada, especially children), trust the work done to inform policy (e.g. TRC Commission, UNDRIP) and jump into the work of of decolonization and reconciliation. Aside from the reality that some teachers don't accept this "science," there are legitimate concerns about how to actually go about this work.