Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

As if by Machinery: The Levelling of Educational Research

Smith, R.D.



Much current educational research shows the influence of two powerful but potentially pernicious lines of thought. The first, which can be traced at least as far back as Francis Bacon, is the ambition to formulate precise techniques of research, or `research methods', which can be applied reliably irrespective of the talent of the researcher. The second is the recognition that in the social sciences we—humankind—are ourselves the objects of our study. The first line of thought threatens to cut educational research free of the wider range of ideas and theories that should govern or at least inform it. The second tends to turn it into an absorption with self, particularly when allied to what its practitioners like to think of as the postmodern turn.


Smith, R. (2006). As if by Machinery: The Levelling of Educational Research. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 40(2), 157-168.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2006-05
Deposit Date Jul 7, 2008
Journal Journal of Philosophy of Education
Print ISSN 0309-8249
Electronic ISSN 1467-9752
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 2
Pages 157-168
Keywords Research methods, Theory, Abstractions, Skills, Techniques.