The utility value of research evidence for educational practice from the perspective of preservice student teachers in Austria – A qualitative exploratory study

Christina Haberfellner, Thomas Fenzl

Abstract


This paper investigates how Austrian undergraduate preservice student teachers evaluate (1) the importance of educational research for teachers in general and for themselves in particular and (2) the impact of different aspects of utility value of research evidence on educational practice. In order to achieve this, a theoretical framework proposing five aspects of utility value (Rossi & Freeman, 1993; Visscher & Coe, 2002; Weiss, 1979, 1998) was transferred to the pedagogical context and served as a basis for the development of an interview guideline and of content-analytical rules for qualitative text analysis. To answer the research questions, 30 guideline-based qualitative interviews with Austrian undergraduate preservice student teachers in their second or third year of study were analyzed using various techniques of Qualitative Content Analysis, in particular, inductive category formation and deductive category assignment (Mayring, 2014). Results of the analysis suggest that the interviewed undergraduate preservice student teachers tend to primarily refer to study-orientated topics (e.g. bachelor theses) when evaluating the importance of educational research for teachers and address the conceptual and instrumental value of research evidence for educational practice. The paper concludes with a critical discussion and derives implications for further research projects.

Keywords


Utility value of research evidence; Preservice student teachers; Teacher education; Qualitative exploratory study; Qualitative Content Analysis

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Journal for Educational Research Online/Journal für Bildungsforschung Online (ISSN 1866-6671)