Curriculum Development and Scientific Research

Curriculum Development and Scientific Research

Lazarus Ndiku Makewa (University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8162-0.ch011
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As a science, knowledge created during curriculum development should be both generated and placed within a scientific research corpus, peer reviewed, and published. In the context of science, the knowledge generated during the process of developing curriculum should be generated and placed within the public domain in a scientific manner. This chapter will describe a framework for curriculum development, study and evaluation of research based curricula. It will also provide a description of the framework, which will include three categories of activities and 10 phases that are embedded within those categories. It will propose that curriculum research should provide an ideal context for building a scientific knowledge base for education curriculum development.
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Curriculum can be defined differently depending on who is defining it (Beauchamp, 1986; Eisner, 2002; Gaylen, 1981; Jackson, 1992; Marsh & Willis, 2003; Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, &Taubman, 1995; Pratt, 1980; Slattery, &Taubman, 1995; Walker, 2003; Wiles & Bondi, 2002). The difference among the definition is quite narrow (Jackson, 1992). This chapter focuses on what is called available curriculum or implemented curriculum which compares with the ideal, adopted, implemented, achieved, or tested curriculum (Burkhardt, Fraser, & Ridgway,1990). Because usage in this material corresponds with historical (Beauchamp, 1981; Dewey, 1902/1976) and common uses as an available “course of study,” reflected in dictionary definitions (Goodlad & Associates, 1979; Jackson, 1992), from this point on, the “available” will not be used. It is therefore important to note that curriculum is an instructional content for giving readers acceptable values in concepts and procedures (Battista & Clements, 2000; Beauchamp, 1981). In this case, designing and evaluation of any specific curriculum is emphasized where an involvement of a section of curriculum is discussed. Specifically, any curriculum sub-theory is established from a well-grounded curriculum theory (Beauchamp, 1981). Connecting this reading gives an explanation of what curriculum theory is. The distinction is clear here; one deals with curriculum development and the other with scientific research (Clements & Battista, 2000; Clements, Battista, Sarama, & Swaminathan, 1997a; Lagemann, 1997; Gravemeijer, 1994b). Scientific research deals with creation of knowledge. Curriculum development has to do with material construction.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Curriculum Theory: is an academic discipline devoted to examining and shaping educational curricula.

Summative Research: Summative research is done at the end of a project and is used to determine its success.

Formative Research: exploratory and is done at the beginning of the design project to guide the entire process

Curriculum: A curriculum is a defined and prescribed course of studies.

Scientific Research: fundamental theoretical or experimental investigative research to advance knowledge.

Curriculum Development: It is the organized preparation of whatever is going to be taught in schools at a given time in a given year.

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