Future of education and research: a preliminary thematic analysis

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


There seems to be crisis in education and research.  The education landscape looks fragmented, expensive and yet fails millions.  A common perception is that, armed with cultural and social capital, the ‘sharp elbows of the middle classes’ game a commodified system to amass credentials. The media rails against learning institutions that inflate grades to cover up failings.  Some academics game the system or churn out indigestible papers of negligible practical social impact.  In an effort to unravel some of these issues and sketch the future of education and research, the study conducted a preliminary exploratory thematic investigation.  First, it chose six credible institutions in the field.  A brief review of associated web content chose prominent ‘sound bites’. In Phase II, the author identified relevant journal articles, initially using the search term <Future education research>.  Rather than structured or systematic, the review was focused.  Finally, in Phase III, the inquiry creatively and interactively grouped the collected secondary martial into themes, underpinned by reflection on decades of embedded teaching experience in a dozen schools or colleges and seven universities.  The convenience sampling and judgemental analysis generated ten themes from recent seminal discourse on the future of education and research: TENSION PARADOX,ECOSYSTEM ENRICHMENT, PHRONESIS vs. COMMODIFICATION, ACCESS vs. ELITECREDENTIALISATION, STRATEGIC COLLABORATION, NURTURING EMOTIONAL & SOCIALWELLBEING, FUNDING/RECONFIGURING CAPITALISM, JUDICIOUS TECHNOLOGY, INVESTMENTIN PEOPLE, DEMOCRATISING DIALOGUE.  The most salient dimensions were PHRONESIS vs. COMMODIFICATION and STRATEGICCOLLABORATION.  In effect, much recent managerialist educational reform (notwithstanding its transformative gloss)seems, actually, fundamentally misguided. Second, impactful research in, for example, deep tech, resilience or health calls for strategic interdisciplinary collaboration.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2022


  • educational improvement
  • research foresight
  • manipulation
  • credentialisation
  • managerialism
  • commodification
  • phronesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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