Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2005 Issue »

    Does History Matter in Education Research?

    A Brief for the Humanities in an Age of Science

    Ellen Condliffe Lagemann
    Ellen Lagemann, Charles Warren Professor of the History of American Education and Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, focuses on developments within the history of education to examine questions about the role of humanities research in the study of education-an issue which has plagued education scholarship since its inception. In this article, Lagemann demonstrates that scholars of education have sought to base their work on factual or "scientific" authority since the inception of the discipline at the start of the twentieth century. Early students of education, however, were less concerned with the evolution of these academic standards and more interested in how humanistic studies of education might be relevant to their everyday encounters in the classroom. After tracing the development of this tension between academic and presentist concerns, Lagemann reveals how this conflict has dramatically reemerged in the field of history since the late 1960s. Lagemann argues that this historiography illuminates a broader tension between scientific and humanistic concerns in the field of education and seeks to reconcile this dualism. Asserting that educators and researchers need both scientific and humanistic knowledge in order to study education with sufficient power to support sensible policies and effective practices, Lagemann concludes that humanistic and scientific perspectives must work in partnership, complementing one another with their differences.

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    Spring 2005 Issue


    Gary Orfield
    Does History Matter in Education Research?
    A Brief for the Humanities in an Age of Science
    Ellen Condliffe Lagemann
    Students’ Development in Theory and Practice
    The Doubtful Role of Research
    Kieran Egan
    Public Education in the Twentieth Century and Beyond
    High Hopes, Broken Promises, and an Uncertain Future
    Sonia Nieto
    What “Counts” as Educational Policy?
    Notes toward a New Paradigm
    Jean Anyon
    Comparative and International Education
    A Journey toward Equality and Equity
    Nelly P. Stromquist
    Kevin K. Kumashiro