Strengths of the research article and its substance education essay


Historical research is “ the procedure of consistently analyzing past events or combinations of events to get at an history of what happened in the yesteryear ” ( Berg, 1998, as cited in Johnson and Christensen, 2011, p. 411 ) . Use of this type of research is apparent in MacLean ‘s ( 2007 ) article titled, “ ‘A work 2nd to none ‘ : Positioning extension at the University of Alberta, 1912-75 ; ” a historical narration that consistently examined the development of the Department of Extension at the University of Alberta from 1912 to 1975. In the article, MacLean attempted to carry through two undertakings: one, to retrace the societal, economic and political factors that influenced the Department ‘s development from widening university resources to those non affiliated with the establishment in 1912, to easing life-long acquisition in 1975 ; and two, to recapture the doctrines of Ottewell, Corbett, Cameron and Campbell, the four consecutive Directors of the University of Alberta ‘s Department of Extension from 1912 to 1975. In the undermentioned review, I will foremost supply a brief overview of the article by defining McLean ‘s literature reappraisal, intent, methodological analysis, and content. I will so compare and contrast the strengths and failings of the article from my ain perceptive, every bit good as that of Johnson and Christensen ( 2011 ) and Guba ( 1981 ) . Throughout, I will include my beliefs for how this article could be improved in order to be considered a more noteworthy part to the field of big instruction.

Article Overview

In the beginning of the article, Maclean claimed that current university extension literature is focused on one of two countries of research ; either historical histories of university based grownup instruction in Western Canada or the displacement in big instruction ‘s intent from societal justness to carry throughing the demands of a neo-liberal docket. Consequentially, MacLean asserted that there is a spread in current university extension research. Harmonizing to MacLean ( 2007 ) , “ despite the substantial importance of university extension units in Western Canada, there has been merely modest scholarly argument about the grounds for the outgrowth and development of these units ” ( Introduction subdivision, para.4 ) . Furthermore, MacLean contested that while bing historical surveies are descriptive ; they oversimplified the political nature of the university extension. Consequentially, they do non supply the analysis needed to bespeak how displacements in the function of the university extension were straight influenced by the societal, political and economic alterations in society, therefore supplying MacLean intent for composing this article.

In order to exemplify Alberta ‘s altering societal, economic and political clime from 1912 to 1975, and how it influenced the development of the Department of Extension, MacLean ‘s methodological analysis included empirical research and theoretical analysis. Sing grounds for Alberta ‘s altering context, MacLean chiefly used quantitative informations such as statistics from official paperss published by Statistics Canada and Canada ‘s Census and Statistics Office. In respects to the development of the Department of Extension, many of MacLean ‘s findings were substantiated utilizing citations from original, unpublished secondary beginnings such as past Department of Extension one-year studies, therefore supplying the qualitative facet to his assorted research method.

The writer begins his narrative by discoursing the historical context of University of Alberta ‘s Department of Extension in relation to the university extension motions that occurred in England from the 1870 ‘s to the 1890 ‘s and in the United States during the 1900 ‘s. In making so, Maclean established a model for his research by supplying the reader with greater penetration into how the socio-political conditions of the clip influenced and motivated university extension execution. After supplying the historical context for university extension constitution, the bulk of the article focused on associating the ends of the four Directors of the Department of Extension to the socio-political conditions of the clip. Harmonizing to MacLean, from 1912 to 1975 there were three major displacements in the function and impact of the Department of Extension: extending university resources for the benefit of all citizens under the way of Ottewell and Corbett ; furthering societal and economic advancement under the way of Carmeron ; and run intoing the acquisition demands of the single under the way of Campbell. At the terminal of the article, MacLean concluded with his hope that this article encourages modern-day grownup pedagogues to critically reflect upon the nature of university extension and grownup instruction. Harmonizing to MacLean ( 2007 ) , “ the utility of this statement for bookmans… is basically one of cultivating consciousness of [ the ] different agencies of positioning grownup instruction within institutional and societal contexts ” ( decisions subdivision, para.1 ) .

Strengths of the Research Article and its Substance

One of the biggest strengths of MacLean ‘s article is the fact that it is clearly written and good structured. As an person who has no anterior experience with scholarly historical research, and whom is most comfy covering with and analysing quantitative research, I appreciate the well focused subject and clear intent. I found it easy to follow the patterned advance of the writer ‘s ideas sing how displacements in the university extension ‘s function are potentially linked to alterations in society ‘s societal, political and economic place.

Another strength of the article is MacLean ‘s usage of empirical grounds and theoretical analysis. Harmonizing to Johnson and Christensen ( 2011 ) , while historical research has no officially agreed upon methodological analysis, the methodological analysis used should: place the research subject ; integrate a literature reappraisal ; evaluate stuffs for genuineness and truth ; synthesise informations ; and fix the narrative. As stated above, I believe that MacLean does a notable occupation of clearly placing research subject. Throughout the narrative, MacLean systematically stated how what he was showing was related to the research intent. For illustration, MacLean illustrated how Alberta ‘s comparatively rural, agricultural and immigrant population in 1921 provided principle and political legitimacy for the function of the Department of Extension at that clip, which was to widen resources beyond the university. This is because since a bulk of citizens did non go to the university, the university needed to legalize usage of revenue enhancement dollars for its support.

The literature reappraisal is besides good done, with 14 different beginnings cited that place the current province of university extension research. However, despite being good written and reasonably inclusive, I believe that the reappraisal lacks conflicting literature. MacLean does briefly advert a conflicting point of view, that changes in the university extension ‘s function could be attributed to a altering university context, instead than a altering socio-political context ; nevertheless it is done in the decision instead than at the beginning of the article. As an alternate account, I would hold appreciated this information early on so that I could do my ain opinion sing why the function of the Department of Extension changed. Furthermore, in order to contradict this account, I believe that the writer should hold been more persevering in supplying grounds why this is non the more plausible motivation for altering section functions.

In footings of stuff genuineness, a bulk of MacLean ‘s supporting paperss are original and were straight obtained from either the University of Alberta ‘s achieves, Statistics Canada or Canada ‘s Census and Statistics Office. Sing truth, MacLean utilized Wineburg ‘s ( 1991, as cited in Johnson and Christensen, 2011 ) three heuristics for measuring historical paperss. Maclean foremost corroborated with comparable paperss from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia to exemplify how they presented some of the same information sing the function of university extension. By using thick descriptive informations, MacLean was able to compare the University of Saskatchewan and University of British Columbia contexts to that of the University of Alberta, therefore leting the reader to contemplate transportation ( Guba, 1981 ) . The writer besides sourced the information ; by utilizing one-year studies that were written during or shortly after a displacement in the Department of Extension ‘s function and intent, MacLean was able to guarantee document truth. Last, MacLean contextualized the information by associating the displacement in Department function with alterations in social context.

Prior to fixing the article, it is obvious that MacLean synthesized the informations collected. By using a assorted method research attack through usage of both narrations ( qualitative ) and statistical analysis ( quantitative ) , MacLean skillfully demonstrated how idiographic cognition of the four Directors could be related to the ideographic causing of Alberta ‘s societal, political and economic clime of the clip ( Johnson and Christensen, 2011 ) .

Failings of the Research Article and its Substance

While MacLean ‘s article provides an interesting overview of the history of university extension both in general and in relation to the University of Alberta from 1912 to 1975, it is non without its failings. First, while usage of original archived paperss is cardinal to the genuineness and truth of the narrative in respects to go throughing the trial of external unfavorable judgment ; the writer did non discourse why he chose to establish his narrative on antecedently unpublished paperss instead than use literature that has been peer reviewed or antecedently critiqued. Consequentially, this made me oppugn the article ‘s internal unfavorable judgment with specific respect to its negative unfavorable judgment. On one manus, usage of citations derived from original paperss “ provide ( s ) a deep apprehension of the interior positions and significances of the people studied ” ( Johnson and Christensen, 2011, p.80 ) . On the other manus, since persons attend to or construe different constituents of an event based on their preparation, bias, or anterior experience, how one interprets is context driven ( Johnson and Christensen, 2011 ) . Guba ( 1981 ) corroborates this sentiment when he stated that there exists “ multiple worlds since there are multiple individuals ; cognition of human behavior is seldom context free ” ( p.78 ) . As a consequence, as I read this article I was diffident whether MacLean ‘s findings were based purely on the topics and conditions of enquiry or if they were based on his prejudices, motives, involvements, or positions. A solution to this job, besides admiting any prejudice or preconceived impressions to the reader, would be to supply a member cheque ( Guba, 1981 ) . By either saying his position or by using another research worker and finding if they came to the same decision, MacLean could hold improved his credibleness and hence the overall trustiness of the article.

Another job with MacLean ‘s article is when he stated that “ the place of the university extension shifted in concert with political-economic alterations that transformed the society and the establishment in which such extension work took topographic point ” ( Introduction subdivision, para.2, italics added ) . Harmonizing to the Cambridge online lexicon ( n.d. ) , the term displacement means “ to travel or alteration from one place to another ” . Consequentially, is MacLean connoting that when the Department of Extension ‘s function changed from widening resources beyond the university in 1912 to run intoing learner demands in 1975, that they abandoned all old discourse? Does this mean that the Department of Extension in 1975 was merely concerned with easing the demands of the life-long scholar and non with widening university resources or furthering social advancement as good? If this is the instance, so why does today ‘s Faculty of Extension list all three ( extend resources, surrogate advancement and meet scholar demands ) as module ends on its web site ( University of Alberta, 2010 ) ? Based on current Faculty of Extension ends, it is my reading that discourse is added to as clip advancements, non changed from one place to another. MacLean merely briefly acknowledges this when he stated that these constructs are “ non reciprocally sole ” in the decision subdivision ( para.1 ) . As a consequence, in order to avoid such deceptive intensions, I believe that MacLean needed to be more careful with the linguistic communication used when showing his statements.


MacLean ‘s article efficaciously narrated the development of the Department of Extension at the University of Alberta from 1912 to 1975 under the way and influence of four consecutive Directors: Ottewell, Corbett, Cameron and Campbell. He besides provided a solid statement that illustrated how changing section function were linked to altering social contexts. However, despite the fact that the article is good written and has a clear intent, the undermentioned betterments need to be considered. First, in order to let the reader to do their ain informed determinations sing the relationship between altering section function and altering social landscapes, alternate accounts need to be expressed and non included as an reconsideration in the decision. Two, the writer should place his ain position and possible prejudices in order for the reader to place the writers point of position and take that into consideration when judging the trustiness of the article. Finally, the writer must be careful with his usage of linguistic communication in order to avoid taking the reader to false readings. With these issues resolved, I believe that this article can supply a valuable part to the field of big instruction.