What does it mean to teach ‘interpretively’?

in Learning and Teaching
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  • 1 Rockefeller College, University at Albany jdodge@albany.edu
  • 2 Bryant University rholtzma@bryant.edu
  • 3 Tilburg University m.j.vanhulst@uvt.nl
  • 4 Wageningen University Dvora.Yanow@wur.nl
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The ‘interpretive turn’ has gained traction as a research approach in recent decades in the empirical social sciences. While the contributions of interpretive research and interpretive research methods are clear, we wonder: Does an interpretive perspective lend itself to – or even demand – a particular style of teaching? This question was at the heart of a roundtable discussion we organised at the 2014 Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) International Conference. This essay reports on the contours of the discussion, with a focus on our reflections upon what it might mean to teach ‘interpretively’. Prior to outlining these, we introduce the defining characteristics of an interpretive perspective and describe our respective experiences and interests in this conversation. In the hope that this essay might constitute the beginning of a wider conversation, we close it with an invitation for others to respond.

Contributor Notes

Jennifer Dodge is Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Policy at Rockefeller College, University at Albany, and a Book Reviews Editor of Critical Policy Studies. Her research interests include civil society organisations and public deliberation; public and social change leadership; and environmental politics. She practices and writes about qualitative research methods. Email: jdodge@albany.edu

Richard Holtzman is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Bryant University, USA. He teaches courses in American politics and has published articles on presidential rhetoric, narratives and discourse in American politics and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Email: rholtzma@bryant.edu

Merlijn van Hulst is an Associate Professor at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. He teaches courses in qualitative methods and organisation studies. His research focuses on public professionals in local governance, the police, narrative and framing. Email: m.j.vanhulst@uvt.nl

Dvora Yanow, a political and organisational ethnographer and interpretive methodologist and Guest Professor at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, is interested in the generation and communication of knowing and meaning in organisational and policy settings. Present research engages state-created categories for race-ethnic identity, immigrant integration policies and citizen-making practices; research ethics and their regulatory committees; practice studies; science-technology museums and the idea of science; and built spaces. She is spending 2016–2017 as a Senior Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg Centre for Global Cooperation Research at Duisburg-Essen University. Email: Dvora.Yanow@wur.nl

Learning and Teaching

The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

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