Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 115–130 | Cite as

The Undergraduate Education Studies Dissertation: Philosophical Reflections upon Tacit Empiricism in Textbook Guidance and the Latent Capacity of Argumentation

  • Howard GibsonEmail author
  • Darren Garside


The final-year undergraduate dissertation is commonplace in Education Studies programmes across the world and yet its philosophical assumptions are complex and not always questioned. In England there is evidence to suggest a tacit preference for empiricism in textbooks designed to support early researchers. This brings, we suggest, problems associated with dualism, instrumentalism and of accounting for value, redolent of the dilemmas that emerge from Hume’s empiricist epistemology. The paper suggests that if argumentation were explicitly taught to undergraduates it may help oversee the more judicious use of empirical approaches that are currently privileged in dissertation guidance.


Empiricism Dualism Values Argumentation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education, Newton ParkBath Spa UniversityBathUK

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