Cultural-historical methodology for educational research: a Vygotskian manifesto

John Cripps Clark, Maria Nicholas, Nikolai Veresov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


In this paper we explore how a contemporary understanding of Vygotsky’s ideas in Cultural Historical Theory can inform research methodology, in particular with respect to Science, Mathematics, Health & Environmental Education. Vygotsky developed a methodology for the experimental study of development, from its beginnings as ‘buds’ to its culmination in ‘fruits’, based on the principles: that development is not linear or homogenous but proceeds through dramatic collisions, underpinned by dialectic interaction of present (natural) and ideal (cultural) forms, and mediated by tools. The most complex contradictions of psychological methodology are transferred to the grounds of practice and only there can they be solved. There the debate stops being fruitless, it comes to an end. “Method” means “way”, we view it as a means of knowledge acquisition. But in all its points the way is determined by the goal to which it leads. That is why practice reforms the whole methodology of science. (Vygotsky, 1997a, p. 306) We investigate how Vygotsky’s genetic research methodology can inform how we design and conduct our own research projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethodological approaches to STEM education research
EditorsPeta J. White, Russell Tytler, Joseph Paul Ferguson, John Cripps Clark
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781527572225
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameContemporary Approaches to Research in STEM Education
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing


  • Vygotsky
  • Cultural-Historical Theory
  • STEM
  • research methodology

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