Developing pedagogical practices under umbrellas of different colours


  • Hannu L. T. Heikkinen



action research, pedagogical development, knowledge and human interests, Aristotle, sociology of knowledge


The aim of this article is to introduce different ways to conceptualise approaches aimed at improving practices by combining practitioners’ professional work and research. In historical terms, the oldest of these approaches is action research which was introduced in the 1940’s. Thereafter, approaches combining practical work with academic aspirations have been conceptualised in a number of ways, such as design research, translational research, developmental work research (DWR) and practitioner research, and their numerous versions and combinations. Secondly, the purpose of this paper is, from a philosophical and theoretical perspective, to examine the relationship between theoretical and practical aims of research by integrating Aristotle’s classical views on epistemology with the theory of knowledge and human interests of Jürgen Habermas. The methodological approach of this article is a theoretical and philosophical analysis of the literature.


Download data is not yet available.


Anderson, G. L., & Herr, K. (1999). The new paradigm wars: Is there room for rigorous practitioner knowledge in schools and universities? Educational Researcher, 28(5), 12–21, 40.

Aristotle (2011/350 BCE). Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Becher, T., & Trowler, P. R. (2001). Academic tribes and territories: Intellectual enquiry and the culture of disciplines (2nd ed.). London: Society for Research into Higher Education.

Bereiter, C. (2002). Education and mind in the knowledge age. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. London: Penguin.

Broekkamp, H., & van Hout-Wolters, B. (2007). The gap between educational research and practice: A literature review, symposium, and questionnaire. Educational Research and Evaluation, 13(3), 203–220.

Burns, D. (2007). Systemic action research: A strategy for whole system change. Exeter: Policy Press.

Candy, L. (2006). Practice-based research: A guide (CCS Report: 2006-V1.0 November). Sydney: University of Technology, Creativity & Cognition Studios.

Carr, W., & Kemmis, S. (1986). Becoming critical: Education, knowledge and action research. London: Falmer Pess.

De Jong, F., de Beus, M., Richardson, R., & Ruijters, M. (2013). Ecologically and transdisciplinarily inspired research: Starting points for practitioner research and sustainable change. Journal of Organisational Transformation & Social Change, 10(2), 163–117.

Denzin, N., & Lincoln, S. (Eds.) (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Dinkelman, T. (2003). Self-study in teacher education: A means and ends tool for promoting reflective teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(1), 6–18.

Engeström, Y., & Rückriem, G. (Eds.) (2005). Developmental work research: Expanding activity theory in practice (International cultural-historical human sciences No. 12). Berlin: Lehmanns Media.

Foucault, M. (1969). The archaeology of knowledge. London, New York: Routledge.

Habermas, J. (1972). Knowledge and human interests. Boston: Beacon Press.

Heikkinen, H. L. T., de Jong, F. P. C. M., & Vanderlinde, R. (2016). What is (good) practitioner research? Vocations and Learning, 9(1), 1–19.

Heikkinen, H. L. T., & Huttunen, R. (2017). ‘Mitä järkeä?’: Kasvatuksen tietoperusta ja rationaalisuus. In A. Toom, M. Rautiainen, & J. Tähtinen (toim.), Toiveet ja todellisuus: Kasvatus osallisuutta ja oppimista rakentamassa (Kasvatusalan tutkimuksia No. 75, pp. 31–58). Turku: Suomen kasvatustieteellinen seura.

Heikkinen, H. L. T., Huttunen, R., & Syrjälä, L. (2007). Action research as narrative: Five principles for validation. Educational Action Research, 15(1), 5–19.

Heikkinen, H., Kiilakoski, T., Huttunen, R., Kaukko, M., & Kemmis, S. (2018). Koulu tustutkimuksen arkkitehtuurit. Kasvatus, 49(5), 368–383.

Kemmis, S. (2012). Researching educational praxis: Spectator and participant perspectives. British Educational Research Journal, 38(6), 885–905.

Kemmis, S., & Edwards-Groves, C. (2017). The nature and study of education: A primer of the theory of practice architectures. Singapore: Springer.

Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (2000). Participatory action research: Communicative action and the public sphere. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 567–606). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Kemmis, S., & Smith, T. J. (2008a). Personal praxis: Learning through experience. In S. Kemmis & T. J. Smith (Eds.), Enabling praxis: Challenges for education (pp. 15–35). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Kemmis, S., & Smith, T. J. (2008b). Praxis and praxis development: About this book. In S. Kemmis & T. J. Smith (Eds.), Enabling praxis: Challenges for education (pp. 3–13). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Loughran, J. J. (2004). Learning through self-study: The influence of purpose, participants and context. In J. J. Loughran, M. L. Hamilton, V. K. LaBoskey, & T. L. Russell (Eds.), International handbook of self-study of teaching and teacher education practices (Kluwer international handbooks of education No. 12, pp. 151–192). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Mahon, K., Heikkinen, H. L. T., & Huttunen, R. (2019). Critical educational praxis in university ecosystems: Enablers and constraints. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 27(3), 463–484.

Marshall, E. A. (2010). Practice-oriented research. In A. J. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of case study research (pp. 722–723). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Niglas, K. (2004). The combined use of qualitative and quantitative methods in educational research (Doctoral dissertation). Tallinn: Tallinn Pedagogical University. Peters, M., & Bulut, E. (Eds.) (2011). Cognitive capitalism, education and digital labor. New York: Peter Lang.

Popper, K. R. (1963). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Reason, P., & Bradbury, H. (Eds.) (2007). The SAGE handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice (2nd ed.). London: Sage.

Saugstad, T. (2005). Aristotle’s contribution to scholastic and non-scholastic learning theories. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 13(3), 347–366.

Tierney, W. M., Oppenheimer, C. C., Hudson, B. L., Benz, J., Finn, A., Hickner, J. M., Lanier, D., & Gaylin, D. S. (2007). A national survey of primary care practicebased research networks. The Annals of Family Medicine, 5(3), 242–250.

Van den Akker, J., Gravemeijer, K., McKenney, S., & Nieveen, N. (2006). Educational design research. London: Routledge.

Vanderlinde, R., & van Braak, J. (2010). The gap between educational research and practice: Views of teachers, school leaders, intermediaries and researchers. British Educational Research Journal, 36(2), 299–316.

Välimaa, J., Heikkinen, H. L. T., & Arvaja, M. (2018). Koulutuksen tutkimuksen ääni. Kasvatus, 49(5), 363–367.




How to Cite

Heikkinen, H. L. T. (2019). Developing pedagogical practices under umbrellas of different colours. Eesti Haridusteaduste Ajakiri. Estonian Journal of Education, 7(2), 23–39.