Updated 2023-11-16

A Plea for More Tightly Focused Research

A discussion of ways to improve research on democratic schools and other informal educational environments.
David Gribble author
Gribble, D. (2014). A plea for more tightly focused research. Other education: The journal of educational alternatives, 3(1), 60-68. Originally located at https://www.othereducation.org/ index.php/OE/article/view/76; a copy now resides on ASDE's Google Drive.


When looking into research on home education, by the 2010’s, it became apparent that much of the work was qualitative, or at worst anecdotal, in nature. There is little numerical data to work on, and, homeschoolers are difficult to analyze demographically due to the diversity of individuals engaging in the practice. The four major four problems­­—the anecdotal quality of the evidence, the variety of the individuals (and organizations) involved, the lack of numerical data, and the prejudice of many researchers—are also faced by anyone seeking to evaluate democratic education. Gribble makes an argument for ways research into democratic education can go further, using quantitative and robust practices, to support the movement and garner more support from academic avenues.

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