|The paradigms of e-Education: An analysis of the communication structures in the research on information and communication technology integration in education in the years 2000–2001|
This thesis aims to contribute to the restructuring of the research field of ICT in education by aiming to reduce the complexity of the research by analyzing it from a perspective of research of science. The analysis provides a second order observation for the research, especially from a paradigm point of view. The concept of paradigm has been re-defined in previous chapters to better fit Niklas Luhmann’s (1995) theory of social systems. The theoretical approach is also quite close to Foucault’s theory of science as discursive practice, but prefers to use more a dynamic social systems concept instead of understanding concepts and scientific texts as “monuments”.
The main research task of this thesis is to describe the paradigms that structure scientific communication in the research of ICT integration in education.
The research questions are based on understanding that paradigms are structures of the social communicative systems of science (see Luhmann 1995) creating expectations for the researcher about the scientific nature of the research. The paradigms are based on three different selections of information, utterance and understanding, which create expectations in the ontological and epistemic considerations of the research and the considerations of research interests.
In this research these three selections have been understood as practical ways of using language describing what is researched (ontological presumptions of ICT integration), how the research is uttering the information (related to epistemic presumptions) and why the research is studying the topic (the research interests and social relevance of the research). The correspondence of the research considerations and communication structures are summarized in table 2.
Table 2. The basic considerations in research and their counterparts in research communication.
|Research considerations (temporal)||Selection structures (social)|
|Ontology: What is the research object? Concept analysis, definition.||Information: What concepts can be used in defining the research object? Conceptual (ontological) metaphors; root metaphors.|
|Epistemology: How can it be researched? Research design, methodology.||Utterance: How to convince the reader about the scientific nature of the text. Scientific rhetoric.|
|Relevance: Why the research is needed; what is the purpose of the research? Social & theoretical relevance.||Understanding: Why the research has been done. What has been seen as purpose of the research, ultimate goal? Research interest rhetoric.|
The main research task is divided into the following research questions:
How do the different research orientations contextualize currently the research field of ICT integration in education?
The first research question is explorative, and aims to connect the phenomena of ICT integration in education to research domains represented in journals and articles to be analyzed:
This research question is answered with a context analysis, which will connect the phenomena in the field in to the research domains the research is concerned with. The context analysis will explore the relationship between ICT and education at all the levels of education system. This analysis also emphasizes the nature of this research as a second order observation by considering the research of ICT integration in education rather as a context than a theoretical framework of this research. The analysis makes it possible to choose the articles representing the core research communication in the field for closer analysis.
The next three research questions aims at a closer analysis of the characteristics of the communication structures based on the selected research articles.
How are the research domains structuring the research communication in general?
How does the rhetoric in a research utterance structure the epistemic foundation of the research communication in these research domains?
How does the rhetoric in the research structure the ultimate purpose and the interest of the research communication in these research domains?
These questions will be answered by selecting and describing scientific journals and research articles, which represents the core of scientific communication in the research field and analyzing these articles from a rhetoric point of view.
The last research question will focus on the concepts and conceptual metaphors in research communication when referring to ICT integration in education. These concepts are mostly metaphorical expressions and form the core of the research by setting the ontological, and therefore also the epistemological basis for the research paradigms.
How does the current research conceptualize ICT integration in education in the research articles?
This question is answered with a conceptual metaphor analysis explicating the conceptual root metaphors for the metaphorical expressions in the research articles. Finally, based on the analysis of the previously described questions, the main research task will be answered and the paradigmatic communication structures explicated.