International Encyclopedia of Education

Penelope L Peterson*, Eva Baker, Barry McGaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

86 Scopus citations


A preface usually provides a brief introduction to a work, intended to set the stage, provide some background insight, and whet the appetite of the reader. In our case, however, this preface has to address a fundamental question, one that was in our minds at the time we were recruited as Editors-in-Chief for the International Encyclopedia of Education. The question was "Why do we need an Encyclopedia? Its subtext was inspired by the ever-growing, ever-popular Internet. We believe that this Encyclopedia is desperately needed and will become a valued resource in education and associated social sciences and arts. The reasons are intellectual and procedural. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge knows that finding and trusting information gleaned from the Internet are two separate actions. The reliance on browsers to help discover references and comments result in resources based on popularity not quality. Pithy titles catch the eye and references rise in the ranks of browser searchers. Related to this is the "editing" in the Internet realm of populist efforts at encyclopedia, references, and other compilations. Once again, after removing offensive material, the accuracy, completeness, lack of bias, and other provenance for entries simply do not exist. Experienced researchers in education can sort through and make intelligent choices. Novices and many journeyman, or practitioners, parents, and policy makers cannot. Contrast how this Encyclopedia was built. Key domains of educational research were identified, and a tentative list of sub-domains or useful applied areas was posited. Then the Editors-in-Chief (apologies for the awkwardness of the term) identified the leading researcher in a particular domain, and with surprisingly little effort, recruited them to participate. They in turn identified the two best researchers in a sub-domain, such as formative assessment or the training of pre-school teachers. The authors of the sections of the Encyclopedia do not represent a collective group of friends and acquaintances, although friendships have been made. Rather they embody a deep and broad scholarly community. The difference from compiled Internet resources is the built-expertise and intellectual engagement of the authors. The summary of the developments and futures in their personal areas of scholarship have been filtered through their years of experience, both as scholars and communicators. Quality, then, is endemic to each piece, developed through this top-down identification of expertise, and made indelible by the bottom-up application of high standards from people leading the sub-domains - the authors, and the domains themselves, the section editors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
ISBN (Print)9780080448947
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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