Questions of Quality in Educational Research

Hammersley, Martyn (2014). Questions of Quality in Educational Research. In: Reid, Alan D.; Hart, E. Paul and Peters, Michael A. eds. A Companion to Research in Education. Springer, pp. 387–390.



This commentary outlines and assesses John K. Smith's account of how quality should be assessed in educational research. We agree on the importance of this issue, and both of us reject a positivist approach that is preoccupied with identifying and applying 'transparent' procedures. However, we are some distance apart in our views about the criteria by which and ways in which research findings should be evaluated. I argue that Smith's position involves fundamental problems. Some of these relate to the accuracy of his account of epistemological positions, notably those he rejects. However, the main issues concern the self-refuting character of relativism, and the inadequacy of his response to this problem.

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