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Book Review

 Theory and Method in Higher Education Research, Volume 1
Jeroen Huisman and Malcolm Tight, editors
Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing, 2015 (331 pages, ISBN 978-1-78560-287-0, $124.95)

The first volume of Theory and Method in Higher Education Research, editedby Jeroen Huisman and Malcolm Tight, is an important contribution to the body of pedagogical literature. The volume focuses on researchers’ engagement with theory and contemporary utilization of methods in educational research. Generally, the book highlights contemporary theories and offers summaries pertaining to innovative methods in educational research. This is the first volume of a series that will attend to theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches for researchers. With fifteen chapters from a diverse group of international scholars, the book is a potential handbook for researchers to strengthen their research designs, methods, and analyses.

In the first chapter, Yuzhao Cai and Yohannes Mehari provide a review of how institutional theory has been studied and applied in higher education research. Andrew Gunn, in the second chapter, argues that political factors, theories, and concepts from the field of political science can be applied to higher education policy analysis and matters related to the association between universities and the state. Next, Murray Saunders, Christina Sin, and Steven Dempster utilize a case study from Scottish higher education to describe the use of evaluation theory in policy research and methodologies.

In a subsequent chapter, T. Austin Lacy describes a useful analytical tool for longitudinal studies, namely event history analysis, and offers a practical application for higher education. In the following chapter, Matthias Klumpp discusses the theoretical perspectives that can help stakeholders understand and measure performance and efficiency in higher education. In the sixth chapter, Mareike Landmann, Emilia Kmiotek-Meier, Daniel Lachmann and Jennifer Lorenz discuss reliability and validity in competence scales in graduate surveys. Brett Bligh and Michelle Flood’s contribution to the book is an illustration of the application of Change Laboratory theory to higher education research methodology. In the next chapter, Lynn Clouder and Virgina King present a case for further engagement with Appreciative Inquiry in higher education research. Erika Lofstrom, Anne Nevgi, Elisabeth Wegner, and Mari Karm offer a valuable explanation of how images may be utilized in research methods in the following chapter.

Neville Clement, Terence Lovat, Allyson Holbrook, Margaret Kiley, Sid Bourke, Brian Patridge, Sue Starfield, Hedy Fairbairn, and Dennis M. McInerney wrote the next chapter that conceptualizes judgment, epistemic cognition and the quality of doctoral examinations. The following chapter, written by Megan Y.C.A. Kek and Sara Hammer, presents a meta-analysis centering on academic development research.The next chapters describe the application of important theories to higher education: Two-Dimensional Participatory Theory (Andrew Morrison) and capability approach (Ana Sofia Ribeiro). The final two chapters focus on qualitative approaches in higher education. Peter Gibbings, John Lidstone, and Christine Bruce offer a discussion about presenting phenomenographic research to technology-based audiences and Antonio Magalhaes and Amelia Veiga describe the utilization of the narrative approach in higher education research. Theory and Method in Higher Education Research: Volume 1 is a must have for anyone with an interest in contemporary theoretical perspectives, epistemological advancement, and methodological approaches in higher education research.

Eugene T. Parker III
University of Kansas

 

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