ArticlePDF Available
Peschl, M.F., G. Bottaro, M Hartner-Tiefenthaler,
and K. Rötzer (2014):
Challenges in studying and teaching
innovation. Between theory and practice
Constructivist Foundations 9(3), 440–446.
URL: ()
local file name: pesc14b Peschl Challenges in studying and teaching innovation.pdf
internal note:
bibliographical data
AUTHOR = {M.F. Peschl and G. Bottaro and M Hartner-Tiefenthaler and K. Rötzer},
TITLE = {Challenges in studying and teaching innovation. Between theory and practice},
YEAR = {2014},
JOURNAL = {Constructivist Foundations},
VOLUME = {9},
NUMBER = {3},
PAGES = {440--446},
KEYWORDS = {Konstruktivismus | Design | Innovation | Pädagogik | Innovation | constructivism |
teaching | learning | generic skill | knowledge | curriculum development | prototyping | Presencing | }
15. Jul 2014
The following text is a draft version and might differ from the print version.
« 11 » is learning method has been
used successfully in terms of inferring needs
that underlie descriptions of envisioned
views on the future (Kaiser, Fordinal & Kra-
gulj 2014; Kragulj 2014) as well as in knowl-
edge-based vision development processes
(Kaiser, Feldhusen & Fordinal 2013; Kaiser
& Fordinal 2010b; Kaiser & Fordinal 2010a;
Kaiser & Feldhusen 2011).
« 12 » In the target articles context of
innovation, the tool described might help
to anticipate future demands and proper-
ties of innovative products or services that
have to be met in the future. An illustrative
example is given in a recent book on robot-
ics, in which many (technological) demands
are derived from a narrative description of a
future usage of innovative technology that,
under today’s technological limitations, can-
not be fullled (Trappl 2013).
« 13 » To sum up, our method enables
people to think outside the box” (i.e., to
transcend today’s boundaries mentally);
thus, to consider solutions unrealizable to-
day that, however, contain the very essence
to pursue today to develop applicable so-
lutions for the future. Within the process
framework of the target article (§§48–57),
“learning from the envisioned future” might
be an alternative tool for the procedure de-
scribed in §53, i.e., to come up with radically
new knowledge leading to innovation.
Constructivist perspective
« 14 » A key feature of this alternative
learning strategy is to have subjects embed
their wishes, dreams, fears, concerns and so
forth in their imagination and to put those
“into action. By doing this, people create
meaning. Peter Senge argues that…
our mental models determine not only how we
make sense of the world, but how we take action
[…] Its therefore crucial to examine ones mental
models before planning improvement actions.
(Senge 1994: 82)
« 15 »
It is clear that those future scenar-
ios are not about an experiencer-indepen-
dent reality to come, but rely on the agent
creating and experiencing them. We em-
phasize that it is the active construction of
the individual that likely helps to guide the
selection of actions in the present in order
to shape and come closer to the desired state
of aairs.
« 16 » Consequently, it is obvious that
this future episode remains hypothetical
and cannot be judged by the criterion of
“truth in advance. However, in the frame-
work of radical constructivism, the crite-
rion of truth as it is traditionally used by
philosophers is rejected (Glasersfeld 1998:
23). Rather, the knowledge derived from
imagination should be evaluated in terms
of its viability and coherence, which ts our
Simply put, the notion of viability means that
an action, operation, conceptual structure, or
even a theory, is considered ‘viableas long as it
is useful in accomplishing a task or in achieving
a goal that one has set for oneself.
1998: 24)
« 17 »
In this sense, the interaction with
the individual’s imagination can, analogous-
ly to Piaget’s proposal, “be considered [as]
a tool in the organisms adaptation to the
world as it is experienced” (in Glasersfeld
2001: 39). e crucial aspect of our learning
approach is that the individual adapts ac-
cording to the experience rooted in an (at-
tractive) imagination rather than according
to past experience.
Florian Kragulj is a PhD student in the field of
knowledge management and a research/teaching
assistant as well as a member of the Knowledge-
Based Management & Vision Development Research
Group ( at the Institute of
Information Business, Vienna University of Economics
and Business. He graduated in business, economics
and social sciences as well as in cognitive science.
Received: 12 June 2014
Accepted: 23 June 2014
Authors’ Response:
Challenges in Studying and
Teaching Innovation: Between
Theory and Practice
« 1 » Studying subjective knowledge
construction and intersubjectivity in in-
novation processes raises several (meth-
odological) issues and questions. How can
we deal with the challenges and tensions
between radical constructivist theory, re-
search, application, and practice? Is it pos-
sible to study the subjective agent in his or
her interaction with others systematically,
and if so, can these insights be transferred
to a more general level of (theoretical) ex-
planations? We will address these questions
by discussing the issue of teaching and re-
search, as well as subjectivity and intersub-
jectivity, within the context of our research
design and methods. We argue whether and
how empirical results obtained by grounded
theory can be generalized.
« 2 » Furthermore, many aspects of the
research setting, as well as the didactical set-
ting, and the course content touch upon the
issue of generalizability. We will discuss the
issues of studying innovation in the context
of our course design in comparison to other
university courses and their (theoretical) ap-
proaches. We will further elaborate on the
transference of insights, theories, or skills
into other areas apart from (teaching) in-
novation, as well as transferring radical con-
structivist approaches to teaching into other
institutions and contexts.
Authors’ Response Markus Peschl et al.
Radical Constructivism
Theoretical and methodological
tensions in studying processes of
subjective knowledge construction
« 3 » Radical constructivism (RC)
claims that knowledge is a subjective con-
struction (e.g., Glasersfeld 1995). By at-
tempting both to teach and investigate this
subjective knowledge construction, we are
challenged by the interplay between the
concepts of subjectivity and intersubjectiv-
ity. From a theoretical as well as method-
ological perspective, the study of the socio-
epistemological processes cannot be framed
by a classical realistic approach, as we can-
not directly observe these processes in the
students minds. Larry Hatfield (§10) also
addresses this tension, when he discusses
the direct, “real-timeinvestigation of such
processes. It is necessary to re-think not
only the didactics of teaching, but also how
to study it.
« 4 » Results discussed in our target
article are part of an extensive long-term
study, designed in a way that allows us as
researchers to be as open as possible, and
follow up new questions and insights in a
exible manner. From a constructivist per-
spective, innovation as an epistemologi-
cal process can only be investigated with a
multilevel and multiperspective approach,
as Adalira Sáenz-Ludlow also explicates in
her commentary. Our presented results can
be understood as starting points for much
deeper questions as raised by, e.g., Sáenz-
Ludlow (§5), addressing a deeper level of
understanding of what is going on in the
groups, or Hugh Gash (§1), addressing eects
of the processes on the instructors.
« 5 » In our research, we use Kathy
Charmaz’s (2006) grounded theory method-
ology (GTM), which she bases on construc-
tivism. As in all grounded theory approach-
es, the purpose is not to test hypotheses, but
to generate theories about an unknown and
yet undiscovered phenomenon, grounded
in in-depth observations. is requires an
immersion in the research eld and close-
ness to the agents, their actions, assump-
tions, relations, and the like. In our double
role as instructors and researchers, we are
part of the process we are observing. As
mentioned by Hatfield (§8), this of course
cannot lead to objective data in the sense of
quantiable results. But, although being a
qualitative method, the aim of the GTM is to
create generalizable theoretical statements.
erefore it is necessary to analyze actions
and events not only on a specic level (in-
dividual learning journals), but to relate
these insights with contexts and discourses
on other levels (Charmaz 2006), such as the
group level and course level in our case.
« 6 » Charmaz’s approach not only per-
fectly suits the constructivist framework of
the course and research setting, but also pro-
vides methods for analyzing varieties of data
on dierent levels. Furthermore, it oers an
elaborated coding strategy for elicited texts
such as learning journals. As Hatfield (§§9f)
rightly points out, even analyzing elicited
texts is always a second-order construction
and can never result in an objective account
of the epistemic processes of individual
learning and knowledge creation (expressed
in “realist” terms). Coding in the framework
of Charmaz’s constructivist GTM does not
aim at objectifying data. e dierent steps
and levels of coding help the researcher to
deeply immerse in the data and its inner
structure, guide analytical processes of re-
search, and make assumptions transparent.
rough studying data, comparing them,
and writing memos, we dene ideas that
best t and interpret the data as tentative
analytical categories (Charmaz 2006: 3).
is is in line with Ernst von Glasersfelds
(1995) notion of viability and his claim to
seek transparency as an alternative to the re-
alists concept of objectivity.
« 7 » In our research, we look for a cod-
ing strategy that enables us to extract out of
the data the socio-epistemological processes
of innovation we aim to understand, and
to learn more about the studentsviews by
comparing data with data. rough cod-
ing, you dene what is happening in the data
and begin to grapple with what it means
(Charmaz 2006: 46). e coding and initial
analysis is a rst step to spark ideas and to
start a process of crystallizing theoretical
concepts and further questions. In the tar-
get article, we presented the results of two
out of 25 categories that emerged out of the
initial coding phase, as they described the
relation between learning and teaching in-
novation as a socio-epistemological process
in the specic context of our course design.
Of course, these two categories cannot be
seen as separate from the others. As Sáenz-
Ludlow (§§3, 5) also points out, our course
and research design is organized on several
levels. Additionally to the individual level
(learning journals), we also had access to
the project platforms and the group reports
(group level) and took observation notes
during the classes (course level). All the data
gathered in this way incorporated the pre-
sented results. Furthermore, we are not only
instructors, but are researchers at the same
time. We are embedded in our own eld of
research. erefore, every presented result
can never be seen as isolated, but must be
understood in relation to its situational con-
text of the whole course and its other levels
of observation.
Institutionalizing teaching
innovation and constructivist
didactics in a contemporary
classical university setting
« 8 » Hugh Gashs (§3) question concern-
ing the sustainability of the course design
presented in our paper is crucial in the con-
text of contemporary university education.
As Gash (§3) mentions rightly, today’s uni-
versities are mostly for practical and nan-
cial reasons – primarily oriented towards
the classical presentation-repetition model.
Of course, this is rather contradictory to the
goals and didactics of both the course de-
sign we have proposed and a constructivist
approach (Glasersfeld 1989a).
« 9 » What is at stake here is the more
general question of generic or transferable
skills (cf. the European Union,
and e
Lisbon Council and Accenture
) and epis-
temic competency. ese skills are domain-
1 | By “whole course” we refer to the con-
textual framework for the research, and include
us (the instructors/researchers), the students and
the three levels of observation/research. In our
research design, data cannot be seen as an iso-
lated, separate entity or a decontextualized piece
of meaning. It is always contextualized (as we as
researchers are too) and interpreted.
2 | “Transferability of Skills across Economic
Sectors,” retrieved on 6 June 2014 from http://
3 | Skills for the future,retrieved on 3 July
2014 from
independent and focus on general cognitive
and epistemic abilities as well as skills, such
as meta-cognition, research, or problem-
solving skills, and epistemic attitudes. Our
course design partly aimed at training in
these kinds of skills. Transferable/generic
skills are not only crucial in an academic en-
vironment, but also for economic contexts.
is becomes apparent when we understand
our society and economy as being strongly
knowledge- and innovation-driven (Fried-
man 2006; Levy 1997; Tsoukas 2005, as well
as the Department of Trade and Industry
.the European Commission,
« 10 » As Gash (§3) notes, the challenge
is how to “teachsuch skills in a sustainable
and systematic manner, as it is very hard
to teach them in a model that is based on
classical presentation-repetition only. e
following points oer a selection of possible
answers and strategies that turned out to be
successful in the context of our research and
practical work:
Strong focus on research based learn-
ing/teaching: Zimmermann, Peschl &
Römmer-Nossek (2010) give an example
of how such a strong teaching-research
nexus (Grits 2004) can be realized in
an interdisciplinary and international
cognitive science masters program
Small cohorts and/or a good student/
teacher ratio: this kind of teaching/
learning can only be successful if the
groups of students are rather small
(max. 25–30 persons), as it is necessary
to have a very personal contact between
teachers and students for teaching/
learning such skills (Cueso 2007).
4 | Creativity, design and business perfor-
mance,” retrieved on 3 July 2014 from http://www.
5 | Innovation management and the knowl-
edge-driven economy,retrieved on 19 June 2012
from p://
6 | UNESCO World Report 2005 Towards
knowledge societies. Paris: United Nations Edu-
cational, Scientic and Cultural Organization,
retrieved on 3 July 2014 from http://unesdoc.
Raising awareness that generic and epis-
temic skills, such as reection, precise
observation, dealing with uncertainty,
etc., are meta-cognitive foundations for
knowledge creation, innovation, and re-
search processes.
Consistent curricular integration of ge-
neric skills: teaching, learning, and prac-
ticing generic skills have to be part of
every curriculum dealing with research,
knowledge creation, and innovation.
Finally, the question of funding and the
teaching strategy of a university in gener-
al (e.g., by oering a (compulsory) studi-
um generale” focusing on these skills).
Application and implementation, or
how to measure innovation
« 11 » e question of sustainability also
concerns the degree of innovation/novelty
of the outcomes (prototypes) the students
produce during the course.
Although the
whole course setting is open-ended and
allows students to go through an endless
variety of possibilities regarding their pro-
totypes, in the end the outcomes still need
to be assessed and evaluated. e aim of the
course is to create an innovative outcome in
the sense of “[…] sustainable change that is
both fundamentally new and organically ts
into existing structures” (target article §6).
« 12 » John Richards addresses this issue
in his commentary. He rightly notes that in-
novation requires the application and imple-
mentation of the new knowledge (§3) and
states: An innovation includes taking the
prototype to the market(§6). In our course,
the students are not limited to an economic
understanding of innovation. Coming from
a wide range of disciplines, the thematic
elds (target article §49) that emerge in the
early stage of the process can lead to various
directions and result in prototypes not only
addressing an economic market, but also ed-
ucational, social, or personal contexts. e
applicability of the innovation outcomes in
a certain environment or market therefore
does not always have to be related to eco-
nomic measurements and functions such
as customer value or success in the market-
place (Richards §4).
7 | Fortunately, we are quite free in our
choice of teaching methods as long as the learning
outcomes are covered and they are transparent.
« 13 »
Still, it is crucial to apply an inno-
vation to the context and environment it is
produced for, not only for reasons of evalua-
tion. is causes the necessary perturbations
that provide “[…] insight into what can be
viable […]” (Richards §6) in the specic con-
text. Regarding our research sample, we have
documented evidence that at least one of the
high-performance innovation teams contin-
ued their project aer the course and could
implement their prototype successfully.
« 14 » In our course design, the imple-
mentation of the prototypes is intended to
occur in the last phase of the process (target
article §56). Students present their nal pro-
totypes in class aer weeks of intense study
of, observation of, and interaction with their
thematic elds. From a methodological point
of view, the whole course setting is seen as the
context for the innovation projects. e pre-
sentation to the class is therefore similar to an
application to a market environment (it is a
kind of “pitching situation”). All participants,
the students as well as instructors, serve as a
systemic context for testing the viability of
the prototypes and provide nal feedback via
live discussions in the class and a nal evalua-
tion in the learning journals at the end of the
course. In our research, the data gathered in
this way is an indicator of the degree of in-
novation and helps us to identify the high-
performance teams.
« 15 » Criteria for evaluating the proto-
types are somewhat vague and hard to pre-
dene during the process both for students
and instructors.
Nevertheless this reects
actual market situations and the challenges
of every innovation project in quite a lifelike
manner. is openness on the one hand, and
the uncertainty it causes on the other hand,
are crucial elements the students and the
instructors – have to deal with.
Enabling – or dealing with –
uncertainty and open(-ended)ness
« 16 » Both Gash (§4) and Hatfield
(§12) address the issue of uncertainty and
openness that our students are exposed to
8 | It should be emphasized that evaluating
prototypes is not related to coding. e evalua-
tion of the prototypes is part of the process, on
the didactical level as well in results in grades. e
coding is our research method for investigating
this process.
Authors’ Response Markus Peschl et al.
Radical Constructivism
in such an open-ended learning design.
Uncertainty is present in many shades in
our design and it has been intentionally fos-
1 | the constructivist approach encourages
students and teachers to leave behind
the categories of true and false, in which
they are well-trained;
2 | the open-ended design of the course
made students (as well as teachers) won-
der about the outcome(s): What are the
correct” results?;
3 | the confrontation with novelty itself
triggers uncertainty, as one does not
know what it will bring about.
« 17 » Partly, this uncertainty is due
to the “lack of prescribed learning tasks,
as Gash (§5) notes. Looking more closely
reveals that this is not entirely the case, al-
though it is so on the content level.How-
ever, students are both trained and encour-
aged to practice knowledge techniques that
help them create new knowledge on the
knowledge/content level. In a similar con-
text, Hatfield (§11) shows that another source
of uncertainty (both for students and teach-
ers) lies in the constructivist approach itself
(and its didactical implications). ere is an
implicit assumption that direct intervention
should be avoided in order to foster the stu-
dents construction processes. Hatfield him-
self advocates a more balanced approach
integrating explorative, open, and investi-
gating, creative processes with settings fo-
cusing on memorizing or rehearsing.
« 18 » is balanced approach is simi-
lar to our concept of enabling and Enabling
Spaces (Peschl & Fundneider 2012, 2014).
Such processes cannot be determined in a
mechanistic or rule-based manner: the goal
and challenge is to establish a framework
of active and passive constraints that act
as enablers for these knowledge processes.
ese constraints oer security” in some
sense; they do not, however, determine the
outcome in a mechanistic manner. ey are
realized on various levels, as we proposed in
our course design: on the level of knowledge
processes and techniques, on a social level
(e.g., community building and trust), on the
level of instructors (e.g., giving theoretical
input where necessary, oering coaching,
etc.), as well as in the physical domain (e.g.,
providing specic spatial settings support-
ing the knowledge processes).
Learning from the future
as an innovation strategy
« 19 » In his commentary, Florian Kragulj
focuses on an approach to innovation that
we suggest for our course design learn-
ing from the future(Scharmer 2001, 2007).
It can be characterized as sensing the fu-
ture possibilities that want to emerge from
a present perspective(§4). It is opposed to
many classical approaches to innovation and
learning that are driven mostly by past ex-
periences being extrapolated into the future
(e.g., Kolb 1984).
« 20 » In his approach of “interacting
with the envisioned future,Kragulj (§5) pro-
poses a method forexplicating tacit dreams,
wishes, and desires” (§10) that is dierent
from classical scenario techniques. Rather, it
is a kind of “mental time traveling” and pre-
experiencing a desired and imagined future.
In this context, the following question is of
interest: how does one detach from ones past
experiences in order to be able to be open
to the potentially radical new? Although
Kraguljs approach follows a similar general
strategy to ours, the details are slightly dier-
ent and lead to dierent questions.
« 21 » In our target article we suggest let-
ting go, trying to detach from the past com-
pletely. e aim here is to enter into an empty
space in order to listen to potentials from the
future and to what wants to emerge (§50).
Kragulj starts in the present and envisions a
future from an as-ifperspective. Both ap-
proaches have their strengths and open ques-
tions. Of course, it is not possible to leave be-
hind ones past completely and enter into a
completely empty empty space
is rather a semi-structured sparse space in the
sense of an Enabling Space. In other words, it
represents a minimally structured space that
is traveled through by a process triggering
and modulating the cognitive/knowledge
dynamics in an enabling manner. Kraguljs
question is how to avoid being determined
by the past in his envisioning processes. By
quoting Peter Senge in §14, Kragulj makes
this problem clear: it is not sucient to ex-
amine ones mental models, but – and this is
crucial for fundamental/radical innovation
one has to be able to change and transcend
them in order to open up to the future and its
potentials. It is not entirely clear how Kragulj
supports this process in detail. Synthesizing
these approaches, a more complete proce-
dure emerges, both on the level of methods
and conceptually. On the one hand, it is nec-
essary to start the process in the present and
to have a deep understanding of the present
potentials. But on the other hand, it is neces-
sary to be pulled” by the future in the sense
of an Aristotelian causa nalis in order to
give the present potentials some direction.
Taking this complementarity into account,
such an integrated approach can be used for
achieving even more successful results.
« 22 » Richards (§3) notes that innova-
tion requires an implementation of the new
knowledge and states (e.g., a prototype) to
the market. In a way, the necessity to ap-
ply and implement an innovation into an
environment is a challenge of envisioning
a future market. We (in our target article)
understand by an innovation a sustain-
able change that is both fundamentally new
and organically ts into existing structures
(target article §6). Kragulj on the other hand
discussed an approach of envisioning the
future. Understanding sustainable change
in terms of innovation as originally t-
ting into existing as well as potential future
structures could turn out to be an interest-
ing and promising strategy.
« 23 » Teaching and studying innova-
tion processes in a radical constructivist
framework challenges researchers working
in such an area of tension. As von Glasers-
feld (2010) points out, RC is an uncomfort-
able position, as it forces us as teachers to
admit that students take responsibility for
their own construction of knowledge; and it
forces us as researchers to take responsibility
for our knowledge constructions (research
processes and results). Being both teacher
and researcher, following a theory-based
didactical design while doing empirical re-
search, as well as dealing with issues aris-
ing in ongoing research processes and the
practical application of results for further
studies, is quite challenging. So how can we
bridge this gap between theory and practice
and generate generalizable results? By dis-
cussing our research design and methods
and the course design, on both a content-
related and a theoretical level, we illustrated
how insights regarding subjective knowl-
edge creation in innovation can possibly be
transferred to a variety of other contexts and
elds of application. We contrasted our the-
oretical, empirical, and teaching approach
with those of others and showed how in-
sights regarding our study and course design
can be transferred to other (educational) in-
stitutions, or business and market contexts.
e inspiring inputs and comments of our
colleagues perturbated (sensu Glasersfeld
1980) and facilitated a re-thinking of our
research methods and results, and will pos-
sibly lead to new and promising research
questions and insights.
« 24 » Inspired by the commentaries, we
intend to focus in the next research phase
on the nurturing and hindering dynamics
in the groups, trying to grasp what makes
the high-performance teams successful, but
also what could be improved in the low-per-
formance teams. Furthermore, we will focus
more strongly on the role of the instructors
and their inuence, as well as on how they
are inuenced by the process themselves.
Finally, we also see our research as part of
a broader discourse on RC in educational
research and our presented results and theo-
retical considerations as a contribution to it,
especially regarding the tensions between
theory and practice of RC in education.
Received: 3 July 2014
Accepted: 9 July 2014
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We have entered an age of disruption. Financial collapse, climate change, resource depletion, and a growing gap between rich and poor are but a few of the signs. Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer ask, why do we collectively create results nobody wants? Meeting the challenges of this century requires updating our economic logic and operating system from an obsolete “ego-system” focused entirely on the well-being of oneself to an eco-system awareness that emphasizes the well-being of the whole. Filled with real-world examples, this thought-provoking guide presents proven practices for building a new economy that is more resilient, intentional, inclusive, and aware.
In most scenarios of the future a personalized virtual butler appears. This butler not only performs communication and coordination tasks but also gives recommendations on how to handle everyday problems. The aim of this book is to explore the prerequisites of such a personalized virtual butler by asking: what is known about the capacities and the needs of aging people; which information and communication technologies have been used in assisting/conversing with persons, especially older ones, and what were the results; what are the advantages/disadvantages of virtual butlers as mainly software programs compared robots as butlers; and which methods, especially in artificial intelligence, have to be developed further and in which direction in order to create a virtual butler in the foreseeable future?
〉 Problem • Radical constructivism, although having a very successful base in research on mathematics and science education, has not become a generally accepted theory of knowledge. 〉 Purpose • This paper discusses possible sources of aversion. 〉 Results • The first section makes explicit the unavoidability of accepting the responsibility for one's thinking and acting, a responsibility that under stressful circumstances one would rather avoid. Another section suggests the origin of the human quest for certain knowledge. The third section introduces the notion of "stickiness of beliefs." 〉 Implications • Constructivism has powerful implications for everyday attitudes and social relations with others. This paper, it is hoped, may induce some readers to investigate these implications.
context: Ernst von Glasersfeld's radical constructivism has been very influential in education, particularly in mathematics and science education. > Problem: There is limited guidance available for educational researchers who wish to design research that is consistent with constructivist thinking. Von Glasersfeld's radical constructivism, together with the theoretical perspectives outlined by constructivist educational researchers such as Guba and Lincoln, can be considered as a source of guidance. > method: The paper outlines a constructivist knowledge framework that could be adopted for educational research. The discussion considers how judgement of what counts as knowledge could be made, and how the set of procedures chosen could enable the researcher to represent the findings of the inquiry as knowledge. > Results: An argument is made for researchers to explicate the criteria for judging an inquiry. Each criterion can then be linked to the standards to be reached and the techniques for generating data. The joint satisfaction of criteria and techniques for a constructivist inquiry creates conditions that indicate the "trustworthiness" or "authenticity" of an educational research study. > implications: The illustration of how a constructivist inquiry could be judged recognises how the contribution of von Glasersfeld's radical constructivism can be used to inform the practice of educational research. > constructivist content: The argument presented in the paper links to radical constructivism and suggests ways in which it can be applied in the context of educational research.