Educational researchers and practitioners have experienced an unprecedented expansion of qualitative research in the last twenty years. This expansion can be evidenced by a host of ‘new’ and established methods in practice; several subfields developed by special interest groups in international conferences; a growing number of journals dedicated to qualitative research; and handbooks published under the banner of qualitative research in different disciplines of education and social sciences. The expansion has added the much-anticipated complexity in conceiving, designing and carrying out qualitative research, possibly because of competing interests, ideologies and perspectives arising from thinking and actions of educational researchers and practitioners from diverse backgrounds and interests. As a result, initial researchers are likely to experience a number of contradictions, inconsistencies and anomalies in designing, legitimating and communicating the research. Such contradictions are inherently usual because in a broader spectrum of currently emerging qualitative research practices , nothing is given; nothing is free from interpretation; nothing is obvious; nothing is value-free; and nothing is final and complete, for all human enterprises are fallible and subject to continuous revisions. Even the term ‘qualitative’ does not seem to hold the entirety of the field, for it can simply be a catchphrase for many researchers who specialise a particular methodology.  

Despite its use in a variety of contexts, the term, qualitative, can often be regarded as a cliché without offering a clearly oriented meaning. Oftentimes, it can be simplistically represented as a binary opposite to quantitative, which does not seem to represent beyond the cliché-like meaning. Specifically, reductionist emphasis on methods, techniques, and data does not adequately represent the complexity of the field. Such complexities have often been a challenge in teaching and learning courses in qualitative research. In this consideration, out of many possibilities, we have chosen a paradigmatic approach, which readily explores emergent possibilities in educational research, and possibly expand yet further. Indeed, we do not claim that our organizing metaphor is full and final; rather it is one of many heuristics to organize our learning journey. In this process, we have identified five different modules to facilitate our learning process during this semester.

Drawing upon the extant and historical literature on reflective practice, the main purpose of this course is to enable MPhil/PhD students to develop ethical conduct, mindful actions, and resilience in different situations to become active inquirers. This course is developed with the notion that STEAM education develops students as reflective practitioners through the Transformative Learning (TL) approach. Out of many TL approaches, this course focuses on the five interconnected ways of knowing: cultural self-knowing, relational knowing, critical knowing, visionary and ethical knowing, and knowing in action. In doing so, the critical autobiographical reflection is considered a point of departure towards envisaging future professional performances that provide enough spaces to challenge the status quo, being aware of the various dis/empowering forces to improve educational practices. This course aims for students to becoming as reflective citizens by engaging in reflection in action, reflection on action, and reflection for action.