Questioning ORACLE: An assessment of ORACLE'S analysis of teachers' questions

Hammersley, Martyn and Scarth, John (1986). Questioning ORACLE: An assessment of ORACLE'S analysis of teachers' questions. Educational Research, 28(3) pp. 174–184.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0013188860280302

Abstract

The ORACLE project is one of the most extensive pieces of classroom observation research in Britain. In this article one part of this research, the analysis of teachers' questions, is examined in detail. We argue that the rules ORACLE use for identifying different types of question involve levels of ambiguity and inference that threaten the reliability and validity of the study's major findings. We also examine the implications of some of the sampling decisions made by the ORACLE team. Our conclusion is that serious methodological problems remain unresolved in ORACLE, but that these are shared with most other research in the field. There is an urgent need for these problems to be tackled directly and systematically.

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