The relationship between democracy and patriotism rarely features in educational discussions of ‘active citizenship’, but it is a core issue in public policy. It has been highlighted in a post 9/11 world where nation states seek more than ever the allegiance of their citizens. Such allegiances cannot always be guaranteed since ethnicity, religion, supranationalism and globalization often make competing claims on citizens. A key issue for citizenship education researchers is how best to address this public policy issue Addressing the issue will not be easy. Educational research in general, and citizenship education research in particular, has taken a postmodern turn in its preference for the singular over the generalizable, the case study over the randomized representative sample and the story over statistical analysis. There are, of course, exceptions, but on the whole postmodernism, rather than positivism or even postpositivism rules in citizenship education research. There has been much debate about this paradigm shift, and rightly so. Yet the fact remains, that citizenship education researchers have to confront issues that are of public concern and they need to use the full range of research methodologies that are available to them. This paper will show how multiple research methods have been utilized to investigate issue related to democracy and patriotism and how the findings of such research can be used to inform educational practice. Specific reference will be made to what would be classified as “quantitative” research conducted in the positivistic tradition with an emphasis on what has been learnt conceptually about the relationship between democracy and patriotism, especially from a student perspective. In addition, reference will be made to so called “qualitative” research in the form of autobiography and life story as a means of better understanding complex relationships within individuals when it comes to democracy and patriotism. The role of research paradigms in these contexts is to illuminate different ways of understanding the social and political world rather than to prescribe “the one best way” to conduct citizenship education research.
|Publication status||Published - 2008|