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(2014) Educational research, Dordrecht, Springer.

Conversation—in the construction and representation of research

David Bridges

pp. 201-213

Huge importance is attached in educational (and other) research communities to the published work; the paper, the monograph, the book; the tangible outcome that you can count and measure, the product, perhaps, of the "material culture" referred to in the title of this book. This contribution sets out to explore the idea of research as something perhaps less tangible, less material, but still on-going, enduring: a discussion, a conversation, a part of what Michael Oakeshott memorably referred to as the great "conversations of mankind". This chapter considers the centrality of conversation as part of the process of research, but also the ways in which the on-going conversation should be seen as what it is all about. In this sense the conversation is not just the means to an end (which is some sort of product or "deliverable"), but its sustaining and enriching is itself what matters: it is what it is. Though publications may serve as markers, reminders of particular stages in the conversation, that is all they are, and they are, for the most part, no less ephemeral than the conversation itself. One can attend to the material conditions which favour or facilitate such conversation, but it is remarkably free from dependency on such conditions. More important is the development of a shared language and a disposition to attend to the other as well as a delight in taking part.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-03083-8_14

Full citation:

Bridges, D. (2014)., Conversation—in the construction and representation of research, in P. Smeyers & M. Depaepe (eds.), Educational research, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 201-213.

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