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Literature Reviews and Educational Research by Joseph Maxwell - Article Example

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In the paper “Literature Reviews and Educational Research by Joseph Maxwell” the author discusses the article about the purpose of the highest academic degree as “an opportunity and requirement for the candidate to “display” his or her knowledge of the field”…
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Literature Reviews and Educational Research by Joseph Maxwell
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While Maxwell tended to accuse Boote and Beile’s approach as ‘foundationalism’ (Boote & Beile, 2006, p. 33), Maxwell himself ironically appeared -as it is revealed through the argumentation of the authors- to the adamant foundationalist who, being deviated from the generative purpose of education, is more inclined to establish the value of knowledge on some normative foundations and “conceptual framework[s] that only discusses relevant literature” (Boote & Beile, 2006, p. 32). However, it is also true that Boote and Beile have failed, to some extent, to understand Maxwell’s counter-argument behind the division between the dissertation literature review and the research literature review. Indeed Boote and Beile’s flat allegation that Maxwell advocates, “Candidates need not present a thorough analysis and synthesis of the scholarship and research” (Boote & Beile, 2006, p. 32) can be refuted on the point that Maxwell preserves, though flawed, the right of performing an independent and thorough analysis in the literature review only for the author of the research paper. Here he is more concerned with the educational value of the dissertation. Obviously, adherence to the non-generative conceptual frameworks of doctoral engenders the hollow ritualistic aspects of the highest educational programs. Therefore, Boote and Beile have taken the safest route to prevent such undesired result of reviewing the existing literatures in a particular field by granting the scholar’s independence within the conceptual frameworks of dissertation literature review and, at the same time, defying Maxwell’s approach to take prior literatures as “exemplar for the dissertation” (Boote & Beile, 2006, p. 33).
Response to “Literature Reviews of, and for, Educational Research: A Commentary on Boote and Beile’s “Scholars”
In the article, “Literature Reviews of, and for, Educational Research: A Commentary on Boote and Beile’s “Scholars”, though Joseph A. Maxwell, in the first place, deals with the educative value of the dissertation literature review by confining it from the generative purpose of educational research and by asserting that a thorough and comprehensive analysis and synthesis of literature review is a subject matter of research paper that is to be published, he, certainly to a great extent, fails to establish his claim on any firm ground. In the very beginning, the title of his article itself appears to be a problematic one in its meaning. It is problematic in the sense that ideally, literature review for research papers in the doctoral programs should not be different from the literature review of a research paper. In the article he says, “Boote and Beile confound literature review articles for publication (reviews of research) with dissertation literature reviews, which are primarily reviews for, rather than of, research” (Maxwell, 2006, p. 28). Nowhere in the article, has he, clearly, mentioned what he means by literature reviews for educational research. However, his argumentation explicitly asserts that it is obviously different from what he means by literature review of research and also the literature review of a dissertation that is “to inform a planned study—to create a focus, conceptual framework, design, and justification for the study” (Maxwell, 2006, p. 28) should follow research paper as an example. Here the arguments that he puts forward are not fortified enough to face counter-arguments. For example, he says, “literature reviews for publications…are intended to summarize and synthesize a specific field of research for a wider audience” (Maxwell, 2006, p. 28). When the first and foremost purpose of a research article is to provide a candidate for the doctoral program with the opportunity to explore independently in the field of knowledge, such purpose of a doctoral program cannot be compromised because of the audience. Read More
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