A Plea for More Tightly Focused Research
Keywords:Education, democratic education, research
The January 2013 edition of this journal included a piece by Robert Kunzman and Milton Gaither on existing research into home education. They found the researchers had met with many problems. â€œFirst and foremost,â€ they say, â€œthe literature is almost entirely qualitative in nature. While many of these qualitative studies are ambitious and imaginative, taken as a whole, homeschooling research has an anecdotal quality it has yet to transcend.â€ (Kunzman & Gaither 2013, p. 5).
There is little numerical data to work on, and, â€œAdditionally, homeschoolers are a notoriously difficult demographic to study because of the diversity of individuals engaged in the practice.â€ (p. 5)Â Kunzman and Gaither also found that much of the existing research had been conducted by bodies with prejudices either for or against home education, with a large number performed under the auspices of a prominent American homeschooling advocacy group, HSLDA, the Home School Legal Defence Association.
These four problemsÂÂâ€”the anecdotal quality of the evidence, the variety of the individuals (and organisations) involved, the lack of numerical data and the prejudice of many researchersâ€”are also faced by anyone seeking to evaluate democratic education...
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