(2-2020) What is the relationship between research in social science education and impact?

2019-01-05

The Journal of Social Science Education will publish a special issue in 2020 on the theme of ‘What is the relationship between research in social science education and impact?' 

Editors of this issue: Andrea Szukala (Institute of Sociology, University of Muenster, Germany) and Ian Davies (Department of Education, University of York, UK).

In this edition of JSSE we are keen to explore the interconnections between research and impact in social sciences education. We invite work that investigates whether and, if so, in what ways, does research relate to change. This requires consideration of philosophical and ontological perspectives as well as explorations of agency and power-dynamics in the academic field and in knowledge-political contexts, in which research results are communicated and used for governing social science education and its actors.

The following are indications of the are the interrelated perspectives that are relevant to this issue of JSSE:

  • We wish to consider philosophical and ontological perspectives about research. Social scientific research is never neutral and its bias strongly affects the nature of the research objects as well as the ways research results are transformed in educational programs. In exploring the purpose of research in social sciences education we need, fundamentally, to ask ‘what is it for’? And by raising this question we wish to gain a clearer understanding of what sort of impact may be possible.
  • The above fundamental considerations about the purpose of research in relation to impact may also be explored in particular contexts. What sort of impact (if any) emerges from explorations in particular fields and using particular methods? Social sciences education encompasses a broad range of characterisations including diverse academic disciplines and integrated fields of study. We wish to explore debates about the nature and type of impact that may apply to theoretical and/or professional, large and/or small scale, qualitative and/or quantitative approaches, and ask throughout whether these labels constitute binary or other divides. This focus on particular contexts allows for consideration of impact in relation to specific forms of research activity. Is it possible, for example, that impact is more or less relevant to particular methods and methodologies including such approaches as randomised controlled trials, systematic reviewing and so on?
  • What sorts of ethical considerations are relevant to the relationship between research and impact in social sciences education? Does consideration of impact raise particular moral or ethical issues and, if so, how might we address them? When that research is taking place does the process of the work itself have an impact? Is there, for example, a power dynamic between the researcher and the researched? Who has agency in research processes?
  • What evidence would we need in order to suggest that impact has been achieved in social sciences education? Is there something that is distinct between dissemination of research findings and questions about impact? Is it possible to avoid researching in order to achieve something which is merely a pre-determined outcome?

We are reluctant to impose a very rigid framework but we would be interested in knowing how authors respond to one or more of the following (overlapping) questions:

  • What are the philosophical foundations and contemporary theoretical debates about research in social sciences education that relate to impact?
  • How is research organised, communicated and used by governments, governmental agencies, think tanks and other public bodies to inform, educate and control citizens?
  • What does research mean –directly or indirectly - to young people (including their families and communities) and to professionals? Do they see it as a means by which they can understand, promote and practise social justice? Do they feel research has an impact and if so what is that?
  • What are the ethical considerations that arise from a developing relationship between research and impact?
  • What is done when a connection is made between research and teaching? What sort of teaching, learning and assessment activities occur?
  • Does research impact on policy?
  • What evidence do we need to claim impact?
  • What are the likely and desired futures for research that targets or achieves impact in social sciences education?

We will be pleased to consider work that emerges from a single context (e.g., from one local, regional or national location) as well as from analyses that go across geographical and other areas including comparative perspectives. We will consider reports from European and other countries where language issues and issues of national or ethnic identities are closely connected and contested.

The issue will contain:

  • An editorial in which key themes are highlighted and articles are briefly summarized;
  • 6 articles of between 6-9000 words;
  • 4-6 book reviews (each approximately 4-800 words long) on issues to do with character, citizenship and education.

The focus of the special issue will be education but the editors will welcome theoretical and other material that allows for consideration of issues using insights from a range of academic disciplines and areas (e.g. political science; psychological perspectives; international studies etc.).

Guidance about the presentation of articles is available on the JSSE site at http://jsse.org/index.php/jsse/about/submissions#authorGuidelines

 The focus of the special issue will be education but the editors will welcome theoretical and other material that allows for consideration of issues using insights from a range of academic disciplines and areas (e.g. political science; psychological perspectives; international studies etc.).

 

The following schedule will apply:

October 1, 2019 - Deadline for first submissions

April 1, 2020 - Final versions ready for layout

May 20, 2020 - Publication of the issue

 

Those wishing to discuss matters about the special issue should contact:

Ian Davies (ian.davies@york.ac.uk) or Andrea Szukala (andrea.szukala@uni-muenster.de)

Please use the online submission system to submit a paper.