Conceptualising knowledge for access in the sciences: academic development from a social realist perspective

Ellery, Karen
November 2017
Higher Education (00181560);Nov2017, Vol. 74 Issue 5, p915
Academic Journal
Whilst arguing from a social realist perspective that knowledge matters in academic development (AD) curricula, this paper addresses the question of what knowledge types and practices are necessary for enabling epistemological access. It presents a single, in-depth, qualitative case study in which the curriculum of a science AD course is characterised using Legitimation Code Theory (LCT). Analysis of the course curriculum reveals legitimation of four main categories of knowledge types along a continuum of stronger to weaker epistemic relations: disciplinary knowledge, scientific literacies knowledge, general academic practices knowledge and everyday knowledge. These categories are 'mapped' onto an LCT(Semantics) (how meaning relates to both context and empirical referents) topological plane to reveal a curriculum that operates in three distinct but interrelated spaces by facing towards both the field of science and the practice of academia. It is argued that this empirically derived differentiated curriculum framework offers a conceptual means for considering the notion of access to 'powerful' knowledge in a range of AD and mainstream contexts.


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