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One-day seminar

November 10 2003
Birkbeck College, Universityof London

Organised in collaboration with Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning (WBL), Institute of Education


This seminar concerns the topic of context in qualitative educational research. The issue of context is inescapable for qualitative researchers in terms of not only the meso-social context of educational institutions and localities, but also in terms of historical and macro-social context. Although this is what many researchers understand by context, this ‘externality’ of context is inherently problematic due to the reflexive nature of lived experience.

In this seminar we address issues of context through two pieces of research. The first, DfES funded biographical research at the Centre for the Wider Benefits of Learning (WBL) on the effects of learning on health, family and social cohesion. Through the use of examples of work from this research we discuss issues of context relating to family, institutions and locality. The next, from a research project on progression to HE from Essex FE colleges examines the use of context in educational research in terms of institutional cultures and ‘racialisation’. We hope that this seminar will be mutually useful, not only for researchers engaged in qualitative study, but also in developing our own research ideas for the future.

The workshop is free to all. For Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) researchers, all travel expenses will be paid. There are a limited number of places, so bookings will be taken on a first come first served basis.

If you would like more information and/or would like to book a place on the workshop please contact the RCBN or complete a booking form and send to the RCBN.


Monday 10th November

  9.45am – 10.00am Introduction and welcome
'Context in educational research'
(John Preston)
  10.00am – 11.00am 'Biographical research at the WBL'
(Cathie Hammond and John Preston)
  11.00 – 11.15am Tea and coffee
  11.15am – 12.15pm 'Ethnographic research in Essex FE colleges'
(John Preston)
  12.30pm – 1.00pm Discussion and questions
  1.00pm – 2.00pm Buffet lunch
  2.00pm – 3.00pm Round table discussion
  3.00pm Close



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This page was last updated 18th February 2004