Investigating educational issues across Europe (ACROSS Base)
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Method Comparative research: ‘Explanatory oriented’ approach (UNEMPLOYED)
Description From the perspective of further developing and elaborating joint comparative research in the field of (initial and continuing) vocational education and training and human resource development, a stronger focus on the specific problems and challenges one encounters in performing such comparative research in these fields appears necessary. Comparative research should be more than pure descriptions of national systems, developments and peculiarities put next to each other. International comparative research should go beyond such descriptive studies and try to embark upon studies which try to provide social scientific explanations for phenomena in education and training and for differences between countries in these fields. Such an ‘explanatory oriented’ approach might increase the mutual understanding of both our national systems and of what works in a particular situation (and not in another) and why. It should be emphasised that for a correct interpretation and good understanding of this type of comparative research, more descriptive and exploratory (national) studies can be of great value. The one does not exclude the other. But international comparative research could attain value added if it could get past purely descriptive studies and move a few steps further. (Brandsma, 1999, pp. 116).
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