Empirical-Analytical Methodological Research in Environmental Education: Response to a negative Trend in Methodological and Idealogical Discussions

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Connell, Sharon
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1997
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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to methodological discourse about research approaches to environmental education. More specifically, the paper explores the current status of the ‘empirical‐analytical methodology’ and its ‘positivist’ (traditional‐ and post‐positivist) ideologies, in environmental education research through the critical analysis of three criticisms outlined in Robottom & Hart (1995). Their negative discussion of this methodology relates to its ideology and assumptions it makes about the purpose and role of the environmental education curriculum and goals, teachers, students, learning, teaching content and environmental action(s). It is suggested that their critiques misrepresent empirical‐analytical methodology in their dismissal of it as behaviourist and/or traditional positivist in nature and, consequent undesirability in research in environmental education. Such discussions of the perversity of ‘positivist’ empirical‐analytical methodology are not constructive. This paper seeks to reorient the debate by providing a critical analysis of the arguments proffered by Robottom & Hart as a way of opening opportunities for diverse pathways of research in environmental education.

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Environmental Education Research
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Environmental Science and Management
Curriculum and Pedagogy
Specialist Studies in Education
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