srhe

The Society for Research into Higher Education

Paul Ashwin


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David Watson’s Scholarly Legacy: Towards a Conscience for Higher Education Research

By Paul Ashwin

I am offering this reflection on David Watson’s scholarly legacy partly on behalf of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE). David was president of the SRHE from 2005-20012 and partly as someone whose thinking has been strongly influenced by David’s work.

I have always been suspicious of lists. They make me wonder about the relations between the different items and how together they form a coherent whole. I wonder about whether the items are mutually exclusive or if they overlap and how. I carried this suspicion with me into David Watson’s brilliant SRHE presidential addresses, as David outlined ‘Eight Category Mistakes in Higher Education Discourses’, the ten commandments of the ‘Oath for Contemporary Higher Education’ and ‘The Ten Laws of Academic Life’. Despite my suspicion, these lists captured something fundamental about contemporary higher education experience. They were wise, thoughtful and always challenging. So in reflecting on and celebrating David’s scholarly legacy, it seemed fitting that this seemed to form itself as a list. In revisiting David’s work and thinking about where it takes us, my sense was that it gives us much of the work that is needed to form a conscience for higher education research.

1. Know your history

David was an historian and his scholarly work often contains phrases such as “If you look at the long sweep of history” or “If you take the historical view”, which always preceded the demolishing of some supposedly truly original policy or research idea. Continue reading


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Doing Discourse Analysis

By Geraldine Murphy

I was lucky enough to grab a place on the SRHE Discourse Analysis workshop on the 24th of March in London. This session was facilitated by the very experienced @karensmith_HE and covered a range of approaches to undertaking Discourse Analysis within research across a variety of disciplines. The workshop was aimed at researchers at all levels of experience/confidence and at various stages within their projects. The mix of projects, levels and experiences of the delegates made for rich discussion around the best uses and applications of the approach including when to use….and when not to! Continue reading