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Scientific Realism and the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Scientific Realism and the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
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Author(s): Calvin Smith (The University of Queensland, Australia)
Copyright: 2020
Pages: 22
Source title: Emerging Methods and Paradigms in Scholarship and Education Research
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Lorraine Ling (La Trobe University, Australia) and Peter Ling (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1001-8.ch006

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Abstract

In this chapter, the use of Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) in the analysis of the effects of curricula designs on student learning and experience in higher education is explored. The origins, fundamental assumptions, metaphysical and ontological commitments of SEM, are explicated. This is followed by an exemplification of the method by use of a case study. The chapter includes an argument for the adoption of a realist account of latent variables on the basis that the constructs they represent are in principle manipulable, even though experimental manipulation is not typically a feature of research on curricula in higher education. The chapter concludes with the application of these ideas to the scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT). It is asserted that only by the adoption of a realist perspective on the data collected in the pursuit of SoLT goals can these goals be adequately attained.

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