About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4479-4487
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.2059

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain


L. Mortari, C. Girelli, R. Silva

University of Verona (ITALY)
In order to be effective and valuable, educational research should be rooted in the practice: the generative reason of the research is the need to understand experience or, in other word, to find the truth of experience. Educational reality continuously generates enquires, because every lived experience brings with itself an element of uniqueness that overturns pre-packaged ideas and compels to interpret each case in absence of rigidly fixed schemes. As Dewey states, the purpose of the research within an educative context must be to obtain «knowledge and understanding» that render teachers’ work «better adapted to deal effectively with concrete phenomena of practice» (Dewey, 1929, p. 20). Indeed Dewey, as pragmatists, conceives that the researcher is a scholar having the duty to «make people more comfortable and secure and to use science and philosophy as tools for this purpose» (Rorty, 1991, p. 9). A good researcher is who develops a knowledge useful to the community, and a knowledge useful to the community is something that improves the quality of people’s life: «for Dewey as for Hegel, the point od individual human greatness is its contribution to social freedom» (Rorty, 1991, p. 18). Therefore, the researcher must use his cultural and professional background as something from which he takes tools to use coherently with the practical requirements of the context and in order to be useful to it (Rorty, 1991).

Despite that, many researches in education field are worked out “on paper”, without relationship with practice: this situation could create a gap between theory and practice or between research and reality. Indeed, the results of research that are born without a direct reference to the problems emerging from practice risk to be ineffective, or worse useless, for those who work in educational contexts. Actually, this issue has been discussed in literature, but rarely starting from the lived experiences of the teachers. In order to bring out their voice, we set out to develop an explorative research, with the aim to verify if practitioners working in educational settings feel this gap between research and reality.

From a methodological point of view, the research is linked to a phenomenological perspective because it wants to answer to questions of meaning and more specifically wants to enquiry the meaning of the research participants’ lived experiences (Cohen et al, 2000). The sample group is composed of pre-scholar teachers and the chosen tool is a written interview, starting from four questions:
(a) What are the issues to which you need to pay attention?
(b) From a practical point of view, what do you expect from an educational research?
(c) What help would you like to get from a university researcher?
(d) What are the tools that you use to improve your professional knowledge?

The data has been analyzed using a phenomenological-hermeneutic method that has lead to build inductively a coding system (Mortari, 2006), which is structured in two level of categories. Micro-categories “hold together” elements that pre-scholar teachers explicitly connect to their experience or their needs, while macro-categories represent a higher level of conceptual abstraction. The paper will present the excerpts taken from the data, organized according to what emerged from the data analysis, revealing the concerns, the expectations and the needs of the teachers involved in the research, in order to make audible their voices.
author = {Mortari, L. and Girelli, C. and Silva, R.},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.2059},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.2059},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {4479-4487}}
AU - L. Mortari AU - C. Girelli AU - R. Silva
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.2059
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 4479
EP - 4487
ER -
L. Mortari, C. Girelli, R. Silva (2016) THE GAP BETWEEN RESEARCH AND REALITY: TEACHERS’ VOICES, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 4479-4487.