Family Learning Research in Museums: An Emerging Disciplinary Matrix?

March 30th, 2004 | RESEARCH

Thomas Kuhn's notion of a disciplinary matrix provides a useful framework for investigating the growth of research on family learning in and from museums over the last decade. To track the emergence of this disciplinary matrix we consider three issues. First are shifting theoretical perspectives that result in new shared language, beliefs, values, understandings, and assumptions about what counts as family learning. Second are realigning methodologies, driven by underlying disciplinary assumptions about how research in this arena is best conducted, what questions should be addressed, and criteria for valid and reliable evidence. Third is resituating the focus of our research to make the family central to what we study, reflecting a more holistic understanding of the family as an educational institution within larger learning infrastructure. We discuss research that exemplifies these three issues and demonstrates the ways in which shifting theoretical perspectives, realigning methodologies, and resituating research foci signal the existence of a nascent disciplinary matrix.


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Team Members

Kirsten Ellenbogen, Author, Institute for Learning Innovation
Jessica Luke, Author, Institute for Learning Innovation
Lynn Dierking, Author, Institute for Learning Innovation


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1002/sce.20015

Publication: Science Education
Volume: 88
Number: Supplement 1
Page(s): S48

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Audience: Evaluators | Families | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs