The ‘Wicked’ Problem of Quality in Higher Education: Macro, Meso and Micro Perspectives
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In his HECU5 Think Piece, Trowler (2010) raises the provocative matter of 'wicked issues' surrounding the place of theory in higher education research. This paper addresses the wicked problem of quality in higher education, providing a close up perspective on implications for institutional research methods and their theoretical underpinnings. The paper lends support to Trowler's call to draw on explicit theory (see also Ball, 1995; Tight, 2004) to shape empirical research and the wicked problems it seeks to address. It explores some of the theoretical frameworks informing the quality debate in higher education and considers practical implications for grappling with the seemingly insoluble suite of problems associated with defining, measuring and demonstrating quality, particularly in the areas of learning and teaching. The paper examines issues associated with these wicked problems at the macro or national level, the meso or institutional level and the micro or disciplinary level.
Higher Education Close Up 5: Questioning Theory-Method Relations in Higher Education Research
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