Shifting Paradigms in Music Education Research

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Journal of Research in Music Education

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The purpose of this study was to examine evidence of a hypothesized shift in the operative research paradigms in music education during the first quarter century of the publication of the Journal of Research in Music Education, during the period 1953 to 1978. This shift was from humanities-oriented historical and philosophical studies to scientifically oriented psychological studies, from studies couched at higher levels of generality to more specific levels of analysis of the data, and from studies geared toward broader contextual and institutional issues to those concerning the specific behaviors of students in music education. Data for our analysis are drawn from the first 26 years of the Journal of Research in Music Education during its formative period from 1953 to 1978. In order to test quantitatively these broad philosophical claims for shifting paradigms in music education research during this period, our specific research questions focused on indicators that, taken together, might document these changes. Based on heuristic models, 499 articles were classified according to types of research method, facets of music education, and integrative levels of analysis. Descriptive statistics and statistically significant correlations provided strong evidence of this shift. Implications for further research were sketched.