Asking Research Questions: Theoretical Presuppositions
ACM Transactions on Computing Education Volume 14, Number 3, ISSN 1946-6226
Asking significant research questions is a crucial aspect of building a research foundation in computer science (CS) education. In this article, I argue that the questions that we ask are shaped by internalized theoretical presuppositions about how the social and behavioral worlds operate. And although such presuppositions are essential in making the world sensible, at the same time they preclude carrying out many research studies that may further our collective research enterprise. I build this argument by first considering a few proposed research questions typical of much of the existing research in CS education, making visible the cognitivist assumptions that these questions presuppose. I then provide a different set of assumptions based on sociocultural theories of cognition and enumerate some of the (different) research questions to which these presuppositions give rise. My point is not to debate the merits of the contrasting theories but to demonstrate how theories about how minds and sociality operate are imminent in the very questions that researchers ask. Finally, I argue that by appropriating existing theory from the social, behavioral, and learning sciences, and making such theories explicit in carrying out and reporting their research, CS education researchers will advance the field.
Tenenberg, J. (2014). Asking Research Questions: Theoretical Presuppositions. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 14(3),.