Revista Studii Teologice


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Metodologia cercetării pedagogice în domeniul educaţiei religioase. Specific, particularităţi, dificultăţi

The methodology of pedagogical research into religious education. Characteristics and challenges

Autor(i): Monica OPRIŞ

Pedagogical research into religious education is relatively new to Romanian theology, since the communist regime completely forbid it for obvious reasons: the Church was the only factor overtly opposing the official, atheist doctrine. Communist authorities were less apprehensive about liturgical or systematic theology, however in the educational realm any novel perspectives able to open new vistas on the world or interdisciplinary collaboration – mainly with humanities – were hindered drastically.
Due to the openness to various fields of research, reached in the 1990s, the collaboration between theology and pedagogy has proved to be extremely important, with mutual benefits. Pedagogy immediately perceived theology as an essential support in reaching the ethical goals pursued by education; theology in its turn found pedagogical research to be one of the most challenging as well as most useful approaches with a view to adjusting religious education provided by school and Church to the realities of Romanian educational system, at the turn of the millennium.
The present study dwells on conceptual and pedagogical aspects of the teaching-learning method, the assessment method and the research method; the way in which research methodology is part of the common educational core of education sciences; presenting the methodological system used in religious education research; stressing the opportunities provided by the method of self-observation and observation, as well as a set of limitations and difficulties in choosing the research methodology.
The concept of pedagogical research methodology has the same semantic root as that of didactic method, namely it designates the choice of a path to reach a particular educational goal. Therefore, a method’s worth is demonstrated by the results achieved in a particular context or for a particular problem. If there is no method valuable in itself, we may however assert that each of the research paths currently recommended by education sciences has a regenerative potential for the respective field.
The methodological system is designed around the concept of „research data”, which must be collected, measured, processed and interpreted, according to the topic approached by the researcher and the objectives and the hypothesis/hypotheses put forth. Thus the taxonomy of research methods is centered on these activities. Among the methods employed to collect research data we mention: the self-observation method, the (systematic) observation method, the method of observing as a participant, psychological-pedagogic/ didactic experimentation, the inquiry method, the interview method, the analysis of portofolios/ products of students’ activity, the method of investigating curricular documents and other school documents, the method of tests and other written assessment means, the method of case studies and the sociometric methods. The assessment system for research data includes: recording, classifying and ranking them; the system of mathematical-statistical processing and interpretation of research data includes: organizing, systematizing and presenting the data, determining statistical indices and mathematical-statistical methods to study the interrelations of phenomena. The present study, as mentioned above, dwells on two of these methods, due to the specific aspects of research into religious education.
The method of self-observation involves insight into one’s own emotions, thoughts, states of mind, responses, expectations, wishes, behaviours, undertaken both by the subjects under investigation and the researchers, depending on the manner of applying the method; the data so collected are processed/interpreted in the light of the research objectives. Including self-observation among research methods is accounted for by the fact that personality development must comprise self-knowledge, to allow formative relationships with other persons.

Pagini: 67-83