Research and Development in School

Grounded in Cultural Historical Activity Theory

Research and Development in School: Grounded in Cultural Historical Activity Theory intends to give student teachers, teachers and school leaders research knowledge about which methodologies (research approaches) and methods (data collection and analysis methods) they can use as tools when researching the day-to-day affairs of school and classroom practice. Cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) is presented as the framework. When grounded in CHAT the intention of the research will be to produce useful knowledge whether the aim is to promote development when the research is conducted or incoming development processes. The text is useful in connection with CHAT-informed development work research (DWR), where development work and research are combined in a common project, and in connection with on-going practices in school without the person studying them supporting the on-going development work there and then, but with the intention and understanding that the constructed knowledge can be used in subsequent development processes. This book is also useful for teacher educators/researchers who supervise student teachers or collaborate with practitioners in schools. The wish is that CHAT and its models will be able to contribute to the development processes we want to see in school, which in turn will promote the pupils’ learning outcome.

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EUR €99.00USD $119.00

Biographical Note

May Britt Postholm, Ph.D., is professor in pedagogy and qualitative methodology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Teacher Education. She has published articles on teaching and learning and qualitative methodology in both national and international journals.

Table of contents

List of Figures

1 Introduction
1  Development Work Research and Research in School
2  DWR and Research at Valen School
3  The Aim of the Book
4  The Structure of the Book

2 Theoretical Perspectives and Cultural Historical Activity Theory
1  Different Theoretical Perspectives
2  Cultural Historical Activity Theory
3  The Activity System: Its Origin and Development
4  Researching Development Processes

3 The Qualitative Method: Its Historical and Theoretical Roots and Characteristics
1  Historical Roots
2  Theoretical Roots
3  Characteristics of the Qualitative Method

4 Researcher Roles and Access to the Research Field
1  Researcher Roles and the Aim of the Research
2  Access to the Research Field

5 Qualitative Research Approaches and Analysis
1  Case Studies
2  Ethnographic Studies
3  Phenomenological Studies
4  Narrative Studies
5  Text Analysis
6  Conversation Analysis
6 Data Collection
1  Observation as a Data Collection Strategy
2  Different Observer Roles
3  Interviews as a Data Collection Strategy
4  Types of Interviews
5  Questions That Help the Researcher Achieve Understanding
6  Connection between Interview and Observation
7  Practical Advice

7 Analysing the Data Material Using the Constant Comparative Analysis Method and D-Analysis
1  Introduction
2  The Point of Departure and Purpose of the Constant Comparative Analysis Method
3  The Importance of Theory When Using the Constant Comparative Analysis Method
4  Analytical Procedures in the Constant Comparative Analysis Method
5  Analysis of an On-Going Process
6  Contextual Circumstances in the Analysis
7  Asking Questions and Making Comparisons
8  Strategies in the Analytical Work
9  Categories and Structure in a Written Presentation
10  Background for the Project Used as an Example for the Constant Comparative Analysis Method and D-Analysis
11  Concluding Reflection

8 Quality and Ethics
1  Introduction
2  Knowledge – Constructed and Intersubjective
3  Concepts Representing Quality
4  Ethical Principles in Research
5  Quality and Ethics – A Summary

9 Writing up the Research Project
1  Introduction
2  The Thesis and the Researcher’s Position
3  The Recipients of the Thesis
4  The Introduction in the Thesis
5  Thick and Thin Descriptions
6  How to Structure the Text
7  Descriptions as the Starting Point for Further Analysis
8  Quotations Embedded in the Text
9  The Connecting Theme in the Master’s Thesis

Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3


Student teachers, teachers, leaders and teacher educators/researchers who want to conduct research on day to day affairs in school and classroom practice and also support development of practice in school.

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