Generalizability and Research Use Arguments
Empirical research in education can be described as an activity in which the researcher observes some phenomenon in the real world, interprets this in some way, and then uses this interpretation to reach a decision or generalization. If one accepts this description, then educational researchers would appear to have in common both the research activity in which they engage and a concern with generalizability. However, despite these general commonalities, educational research has been factionalized over the years by a debate over differences between so-called “quantitative” and” qualitative” approaches to research. Quantitative research, on the one hand has been derided as “reductionist,” while qualitative research has been characterized as “unscientifi c,” on the other. (I will refer to this “quantitative-qualitative” debate as the “Q-Q debate.”) What is lacking, in my view, is a common conceptual framework for both conducting research in education and for justifying the use of this research.