Good citizenship or good research?.
This thesis is about a journey that begins as an investigation into "good citizenship",
develops into an analysis of the meaning of "good", and then evolves into an
exploration of issuesc oncernedw ith the nature of "good research". In essence,t he
thesis can be split into two interlinked parts. Both "halves" serve a dual purpose in
that they represent findings and data in the journey. The first "half' explores the
theme of "good citizenship" within the context of the cross-curricular themes. It
adds to our understanding of these issues by demystifying the ideological tensions
existing within and between guidance documentation suggested by the National
Curriculum Council to deliver the "whole curriculum" for English and Welsh
schools after the 1988 Education Reform Act. These findings later serve as data in
providing a context from which to reinterpret and advance our understanding of
The epiphany in this journey occured when the meaning of "good" in "GOOD
citizenship" was placed under scrutiny. In discovering that "good" has a
multifarious meaning, which is not reducible to a single definition, the substantive
focus of the thesis changed. This change is reflected in the upper and lower case
lettering displayed within the title. By deemphasising the importance of "good" in
"good RESEARCH", a paradigmatic shift in thinking is symbolized.
The second "half' of this thesis investigates the nature of "good research" and
makes two contributions to our knowledge of interpretive research. Using three
perspectives of a single set of data as a working apparatus, the philosophy of
Gadamerian (1979) hermeneutics is explored and taken beyond our current
understanding. Part of this exploration involves applying the criteria of authenticity
and coherence to the research. However, in discovering the inadequacy of these
predetermined guidelines, the idea of situationally derived criteria is developed.
Finally, it is suggested that the criteria for judging the quality of research can never
be determined in advance of meaning coming into being. Instead, such criteria are
contextually bound and can only be seen as post-hoc rational guidelines.