Enhancing the quality and vitality of Australian
Catholic Education Research

Graham Rossiter

Other materials related to the research discussion on 16 February by the Australian network of GRACE (Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education)

Not all at the participants in the discussion would regard themselves as Religious Education scholars -- but rather as wider Catholic Education scholars or some other preferred description. No matter what their designated academic/research base, all academics interested in Catholic education need a view of where Religious Education fits into the equation of academic disciplines and fields of research. This is not about 'dominance' or 'status', but just recognition of the importance of Religious Education for Catholic Education.

Click the photograph or here for the mp4 video file of the presentation

Also download the Powerpoint file which can be opened and referred to for the 8 slides to be looked at during the presentation.

1. Religious Education as an academic discipline and a field of research in Australian Catholic tertiary institutions

Many Religious Education scholars consider that the enterprise of Religious Education research rests on the basis of Religious Education (RE) being a recognised, legitimate academic discipline, that can take its place in both Catholic and non-religious universities along side disciplines like Theology, Philosophy and Religion Studies.

Religious Educators cannot presume that this view will always be accepted, even within a Catholic tertiary institution. Hence it is up to RE scholars themselves to articulate their view of Religious Education as both an academic discipline and a field of research, even if their current position is secure academically. I think that RE scholars, both individually and as research groups, need to develop such a 'philosophy of Religious Education' that can give perspective to their work, promoting its coherence, vitality and quality. It needs to appear in either their own or their group's web presence; it should inform their research and studies, as well as their research supervision. This can also serve as a platform for understanding relationships with other disciplines, and for facilitating communication and collaboration with scholars in various disciplines both in Australia and overseas.

Click here or the icon for the paper Religious Education as an Academic Discipline, and consequently as a recognised, functional Field of Research.



2. Enhancing the quality of research and research supervision.

This material is from earlier seminars on enhancing the quality of research supervision. It focuses especially on helping higher degree research students with the planning and construction of their thesis.

Seminars for research students and supervisors on the planning and structuring of doctoral research and the writing of a doctoral thesis

Click here or the icon for recordings and papers on doctoral research thesis development


3. A critical period for the future trajectory of Catholic school religious education

This material draws attention to what is considered to be a major problem and handicap for the future trajectory of Catholic school Religious Education. It addresses the issues through the following:-

  • A detailed study of problems with the excessive use of ecclesiastical language for articulating the nature and purposes of Catholic school RE (together with a shorter version published in International Studies in Catholic Education, 2020)
  • A powerpoint / mp4 presentation summarising the argument presented in the above study
  • Access to a survey for collecting empirical data on the views of Catholic educators about the questions raised in the above study.
  • Research Report on a preliminary test of the questionnaire with 74 participants (47 from Australia and 27 from overseas)

The full copy of the conference paper and the powerpoint presentation. Addressing the problem of 'ecclesiastical drift' in Catholic school Religious Education. 2020

Click here or the icon for the paper Re-contextualising Catholic school Religious Education: Educating young people spiritually, morally and religiously for the 21 st century Paper presented at the International Conference on Religious Education in Catholic Schools, Melbourne, 10-14 February 2020. The link page also has an mp4 video of the powerpoint presentation. A shortened version of the study has been published in International Studies in Catholic Education, 2020, Vol. 12 (2) 191-205.

Research survey on language in the discourse (or narrative) of Catholic school Religious Education and on the need for more scope for critical evaluative study across the religion curriculum, but especially in senior classes. 2020

This research study investigates empirically some of the issues raised in the discussion paper above that identified the problem of 'ecclesiastical drift' in Catholic school Religious Education. It seeks the views of religious educators and others involved or interested in Catholic schooling. Click here or the icon to access the web page with links to the Online Survey and Report on initial test run of the questionnaire.