The purpose of this issue is to give the floor to a group of researchers to present how they conduct their research to produce knowledge in the field of education. Their research work is framed and subtended by norms, by "shared uses" or prescriptions immanent in the disciplines in which they build their research. All researchers, in this case those who register their work in the field of educational sciences, are in fact supervised or held by the standards in force in the disciplines in which they anchor their work. This is precisely what we propose to analyze in the context of this issue, inviting them to think about the methods they use, the operations they implement, to produce knowledge. In other words, it's about inviting them to "think about the path [they have] followed" to produce that knowledge. It is on this condition that the term "methodology", considered as a discourse or a reflection on the method, which relates, itself, to the reality of the path followed, makes all sense.

There is a need to reflect on this method and its determinants. Is it simple description or presentation of the operations implemented without the path being fixed in advance? Or is it an attestation of conformity to the path to follow, according to rules validating the process? According to Stryckman (1996), the term method thus receives two very different meanings: one is descriptive, the first; the other is normative, the second. And if the restitution of scientific work, in writing in most cases, often tries to show that the research carried out conforms to the norms in force in the discipline in which it is written, the reality of this work is probably less mechanical and less linear than its restitution suggests (as Howard S. Becker has shown in The Strings of the Craft - 1988).

This scientific work, if it is intended to produce knowledge, can not be motivated exclusively by this end. Other values ​​motivate and guide it. However, under cover of a certain axiological neutrality more often than questioned, the researcher often dispenses with showing how these values ​​have influenced his research, even in the smallest operations he has implemented to carry out the latter. Every researcher knows that the conduct of research is not done without a certain "relation to values", that it is not done either without referring to some ethical principle (Weber, 1919, Piron, 1996). Each researcher can also testify to the fact that during his research, he has often encountered difficulties of a different nature and has had to deal with many hazards. Even when it operates in a very framed context, as may be the case in the most experimental approaches, in which respect for protocol and technical know-how is very important, it can not avoid certain singular tasks and circumstances that require it to make choices: to pose a problem, to delineate the object of the research, to propose hypotheses, to implement data collection techniques, to propose interpretations... Moreover, when it pursues research hermeneutically, the researcher is essentially confronted with the difficulty of naming things well. Being more in the register of argumentation and looking for plausibility rather than the administration of proof requires him to take special care of the language he uses. In this case, a know-how of an exclusively technical nature would be useless for his work. However, the knowledge it produces is well according to a certain path and it is this path that we invite him to highlight.In short, this thematic issue of the journal Bildungsforschung offers researchers who help to highlight some of the norms that underlie their practice. It is not a question of presenting the norms which generally underlie the researches in their discipline, it is a question of giving to see the uses which they make of these standards, to highlight the constraints which they exert on their own activity as the freedoms they take towards them. It is also a certain way to reveal some of the dimensions of the hidden side of research - or research - this face that does not always give to see the written restitution of this research - this research - in a scientific journal. Contrary to what a methodological textbook could propose, it is a question of dealing not with the method in force in a disciplinary field, but with a method in its descriptive sense, highlighting what was the determinants of this method on the occasion of a search not ideally, but actually conducted. 

Some contribution proposals

The contributions could relate to the determinants - and the choices (eg ethical, epistemological...) that we make - that influence the methods we implement in our research. In this case, it would be appropriate to illustrate the way in which these determinants and choices have been made in the course of research that has been completed, that is, published.

The contributions could also start from an already published research, in order to try to highlight one of the methodological dimensions which was important for this research, but which could not be explained during the original publication... It would not be It is necessary to highlight in an exhaustive manner all the "operations implemented" to which the method refers, but only one or a few of these operations.



  1. Sending articles on December 31th, 2020.
  2. Return of the reading commitee on February 28, 2021
  3. Sending the second versions of the texts on April 30, 2020.
  4. Online publication end of June 2021.

Your texts should be sent to : Guy Lapostolle (, Nathanaël Wallenhorst (, and Christoph Wulf (



Becker, H. S., Les ficelles du métier, Paris, La Découverte, 2002 (ed. or. 1988).

Go, H.L. (Éd.) (2015). Normes pour apprendre. Nancy : PUN-Édulor.

Piron, F. (1996). Ecriture et responsabilité. Trois figures de l'anthropologue. Anthropologie et Sociétés, 20, 125-148.

Prairat, E. (2015) « Qu’est-ce qu’une norme professionnelle ? » in H. L. Go Normes pour apprendre. Nancy, Editions universitaires de Lorraine, 11-24.

Stryckman, P. « De la méthode », Communication et organisation [En ligne], 10 | 1996, mis en ligne le 26 mars 2012, consulté le 15 mars 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/communicationorganisation.1867.