Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Activity Theory in empirical higher education r...

Electronic data

  • ActivityTheoryinEmpiricalHigherEducationResearch_forTEAM

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Tertiary Education and Management on 02/02/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13583883.2017.1284258

    Accepted author manuscript, 795 KB, PDF-document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Links

Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Activity Theory in empirical higher education research: choices, uses, and values

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Tertiary Education and Management
Issue number2
Volume23
Number of pages28
Pages (from-to)125-152
Publication statusPublished
Early online date2/02/17
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper contributes to discussion of theory-application in higher education research. We examine 59 empirical research papers from specialist journals that use a particular theory: activity theory. We scrutinise stated reasons for choosing the theory, functions played by the theory, and how the theory is valorised. We find that the theory is usually chosen for its direct empirical applicability; used for abstraction, explanation and contextualisation; and valorised for apprehending complex situational dynamics. It is rarely chosen to challenge conceptualisation of the research object; used to establish investigative paradigms; or valorised in ways that implicate wider bodies of knowledge or potential theory development. We argue that higher education researchers should reconsider how their application of activity theory is interwoven with interpretative processes, how the theory might frame research design rather than simply data analysis, and how they account for the range of roles that the theory actually plays across research endeavours.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Tertiary Education and Management on 02/02/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13583883.2017.1284258