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Educational research in Palestine: Epistemological and cultural challenges—a case study

Ayman A Khalifah, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study investigates the prevailing epistemological and cultural conditions that underlie educational research in Palestine. Using a case study of a major Palestinian University that awards Masters Degrees in Education, the study analyzes the assumptions and the methodology that characterizes current educational research. Using an analysis of approximately one hundred recent Masters Theses, interviews with current faculty members in Education, and an analysis of research articles published by those faculty members, the study reveals that the approach to research is strongly inclined toward positivist/postpositivist, quantitative paradigm. This inclination is supported by the presence of certain societal cultural values that facilitate the acceptance of many tenets found in the positivist/postpositivist epistemologies. Overcoming such inclination in this context or in any similar context will require opening a space for a better representation for alternative epistemologies and approaches to educational research. This study argues that changing such prevailing conditions must start by critically reviewing and challenging the basic epistemological assumptions that underpin the dominant positivist/postpositivist epistemologies. The study concludes with recommendations that all the parties involved in the conduct, representation, and funding of educational research should seek to promote epistemological diversity while remaining sensitive to the cultural values of the society.

Subject Area

Education Policy|Higher education|Education philosophy

Recommended Citation

Khalifah, Ayman A, "Educational research in Palestine: Epistemological and cultural challenges—a case study" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3409606.