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    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

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

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Activity Theory in empirical higher education research : choices, uses, and values. / Bligh, Brett; Flood, Michelle.

In: Tertiary Education and Management, Vol. 23, No. 2, 04.2017, p. 125-152.

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Bligh, Brett ; Flood, Michelle. / Activity Theory in empirical higher education research : choices, uses, and values. In: Tertiary Education and Management. 2017 ; Vol. 23, No. 2. pp. 125-152.

Bibtex

@article{06192ca503754d01a3e1dfbb520eb19f,
title = "Activity Theory in empirical higher education research: choices, uses, and values",
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.",
keywords = "theory, theory application, higher education research, activity theory",
author = "Brett Bligh and Michelle Flood",
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",
year = "2017",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1080/13583883.2017.1284258",
language = "English",
volume = "23",
pages = "125--152",
journal = "Tertiary Education and Management",
issn = "1358-3883",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Activity Theory in empirical higher education research

T2 - choices, uses, and values

AU - Bligh, Brett

AU - Flood, Michelle

N1 - 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

PY - 2017/4

Y1 - 2017/4

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - theory

KW - theory application

KW - higher education research

KW - activity theory

U2 - 10.1080/13583883.2017.1284258

DO - 10.1080/13583883.2017.1284258

M3 - Journal article

VL - 23

SP - 125

EP - 152

JO - Tertiary Education and Management

JF - Tertiary Education and Management

SN - 1358-3883

IS - 2

ER -