The necessity of historical inquiry in educational research: the case of Religious Education
British Journal of Religious Education
This article explores the mixed fortunes of historical inquiry as a method in educational studies and exposes evidence for the neglect of this method in religious education research in particular. It argues that historical inquiry, as a counterpart to other research methods, can add depth and range to our understanding of education, including religious education, and can illuminate important longer‐term, broader and philosophical issues. The article also argues that many historical voices have remained silent in the existing historiography of religious education because such historiography is too generalised and too biased towards the development of national policy and curriculum and pedagogical theory. To address this limitation in educational research, this article promotes rigorous historical studies that are more substantially grounded in the appropriate historiographical literature and utilise a wide range of original primary sources. Finally, the article explores a specific example of the way in which a historical approach may be fruitfully applied to a particular contemporary debate concerning the nature and purpose of religious education.
This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in the British Journal of Religious Education, July 2010. Available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/ or DOI: 10.1080/01416200.2010.498612
Vol. 32, Issue 3, pp. 229 - 243