BAICE Student Conference Call for Abstracts

Methodological challenges in comparative and international educational research: Doctoral perspectives

July 17, 2015, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK

Keynote Speakers

Professor Qing Gu, University of Nottingham,
Professor Pauline Rose, University of Cambridge,
Dr. Abdulai Abukari, Middlesex University, London

Concept note

There is a consensus that knowledge creation critically depends upon the creative potential and rigor of research methods and their appropriateness to the research context. The complexity and heterogeneity of the social world and the social, cultural and historic specificity of research sites and subjects raise a wide range of methodological challenges well known to educational researchers. The assumption that methodological apparatus developed in one context, often Global North, can be equally productive in the other, usually Global South, is not only strong one but also widely held given the geography of knowledge. Additionally, harnessing the potential of interdisciplinarity, the new-normal, in extending our understanding beyond disciplinary confines also requires addressing methodological dilemmas and tensions underlying different epistemological traditions. Such methodological pitfalls are further problematized by the emerging tradition of Southern Theory which casts serious doubts over transposeability of the mainstream theoretical frameworks in Global South. The evolving discourse under this broad tradition uncovers the hierarchies and power relations embedded in, and advanced through, the mainstream discursive practices, thus increasingly making the case for decolonising methodologies and developing emancipatory frameworks. While the available critical perspectives inform us about the risks associated with uncritically deploying the mainstream conceptual toolbox in the South, they do not sufficiently guide us on methodological choices for forming alternative frameworks. International and comparative educational researchers, by virtue of their research tradition, are exposed to these challenges perhaps more than some others. There is nonetheless an unmet need for a sustained debate for a better understanding and appreciation of these methodological challenges and anxieties.

The conference will bring together a variety of perspectives on these challenges faced by doctoral researchers and offer them an opportunity to interact with and learn from each other’s experience. It will offer them an opportunity to interact with other more experienced researchers. The conference is expected to cover a range of issues pertinent to theoretical frameworks, research designs, methods and techniques in international and comparative educational research. This will include but not limited to: a) critical perspectives arising from southern theory; b) research ethics – tensions between universal and local; c) ‘messiness’ of the fieldwork; d) sustaining methodological rigor in mixed methods research designs; e) communicating research across diverse audiences and in variety of formats; and other issues related to research process. While this conference under the given theme is a standalone activity, we hope it will contribute to a sustained debate by fostering a community focused on these issues (as already seen on the BAICE Thematic Forum on methodological issues in disability research and the more recently established thematic forum).

Conference aims

The BAICE Student Conference 2015 will:

  • Facilitate creative and critical dialogue amongst research students and with more experienced and established researchers in the field of international and comparative education, particularly with regard to issues around research methodology;
  • Offer a combination of specialist input from a keynote speakers and panel members, and the opportunity for BAICE student members to share their own research experiences;
  • Provide BAICE student members and other participants with a comfortable and supportive environment to present their research and receive constructive feedback;
  • Develop enhanced personal and professional connections between BAICE student members across the UK.

Target participants

Postgraduate research students and potentially postdoctoral researchers engaged in international and comparative education research across the UK.


Registration is free but preference will be given to BAICE student members. For membership, please visit


Please submit the abstracts by June 18th, 2015 at


We aim at publishing a special issue of the Cambridge Open-Review Educational Research e-Journal (CORERJ) inviting full length papers from the conference participants.

Organising committee

BAICE Student Representatives
Arif Naveed, University of Cambridge, email:
Yuwei Xu, University of Glasgow, email:

Supported by BAICE Executive Committee and advised by:
Nidhi Singal, University of Cambridge
Lizzi Milligan, University of Bath


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