FACULTY OF EDUCATION & SOCIAL WORK Foundations of social research Introduction to theories of knowledge and foundations of social research 8 August 2013.

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  • Slide 1
  • FACULTY OF EDUCATION & SOCIAL WORK Foundations of social research Introduction to theories of knowledge and foundations of social research 8 August 2013 Opening seminar of the lecture series Foundations of social research CoCo research centre Lina Markauskaite
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  • Outline 1.The nature of inquiry Ontology, epistemology, axiology, etc. 2.Disciplined inquiry understanding methodological choices 3.From methodology to method understanding instruments 4.Putting science back into the society disciplines, societies & policies From ideal paradigms to skilful improvisation From science, technology, & evolution to intuition, craft, & creativity Note: improvisation based on Ingold, 2000
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  • Key messages 1.The notion of knowledge that underpins modern research is more creative than the traditional positivist vs. interpretativist debate suggests: -Modern interpretative thought is more than a plain subjectivism -Modern scientific method is more than a simple quantification & computation 2.Not to turn away from the fundamental tensions between sciences, practices & policies, but to search for meaningful explanations: -To look deeper into the ideas that emerged at the intersection of modern philosophy, psychology, science & technology -To seek skilful meshing of different research methodologies, methods, techniques and tools 3
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  • Nature of inquiry Approaches in social inquiry This section is based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman, 2006; Denzin & Lincoln, 2005
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  • How do we know? 1.Experience common sense knowing -Hunches 2.Reasoning logic -Deductive formal logic -Inductive from observation to generalisation 3.Research empirical science -Systematic, controlled, inductive-deductive -Empirical -Theoretical -Public, critical, self-reflective and self-correcting Rene Descartes 1596-1650 Francis Bacon 1561-1626 Based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman, 2006
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  • How do we know social reality? Objectivist view Social phenomenon is similar to natural phenomenon Logic of science discovering existing laws of human behaviour Origins Auguste Comte (1798-1857) Emile Durheim (1858-1917) Experiments, quasi- experiments, survey research, etc Based on Cohen et al, 2002, Neuman, 2006
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  • Objectivist: Logic of scientific method Main steps: 1.Experience: hunches & hypothesis 2.Conceptualisation & quantification 3.Design of experiment 4.Systematic & controlled manipulation 5.Discovery of cause-effect relationships 6.(Dis)proof of hypothesis Main research principle - logic & experiment Based on Cohen et al, 2002
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  • Against scientific method Classroom episode Teacher: Wilson, we will have to put you away, if you dont change your ways, and do your homework. Is that all youve done? Student: Strawberries, strawberries (Laughter) Coding [7: Teacher criticises] [4: Teacher asks question] [9: Pupil irritation] [10: Silence or confusion] Context. The teacher used to say: Pupils work is like strawberries good as far as it goes, but it doesnt last nearly long enough. Why did students react in such odd way? Dealmont 1976, cited in Cohen et al, 2002, 21
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  • How do we know social reality? Subjectivist view Social phenomenon is different from inanimate natural phenomenon Research logic accounts for subjectivity & individuality Origins Max Weber (1864-1920) Willem Dilthey (1833-1911) Phenomenology, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism Based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman 2006
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  • Subjectivist principles of inquiry Key emphasises: Knowledge & knowing is situated Individuals as constructors Process of negotiation is constructed Multiple components interact Main research principle structuring, analysing, & interpreting situations & events Based on Cohen et al, 2002
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  • Approaches & underlying assumptions 1.Ontology 2.Epistemology 3.Axiology 4.Human nature 5.Methodology Logic & rigor Research Logic & rigor Objectivist Subjectivist Based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman, 2006
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  • What is social reality? Objectivist External to individuals Subjectivist Product of individual consciousness RealismONTOLOGYNominalism Based on Cohen et al, 2002
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  • What is knowledge? Objectivist Objective Discovered Subject-object relationship Subjectivist Subjective Personally experienced Subject-subject relationship PositivismEPISTEMOLOGYAnti-positivism Based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman, 2006
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  • How do we act? Objectivist Respond to environment Action a mechanic product of environment Subjectivist Create our environment Action a free will Determinism HUMAN NATURE Voluntarism Based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman, 2006
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  • What is valued, right & moral? Objectivist Value free science Knowledge is instrumental Subjectivist Relativistic inquiry Knowledge is transcendental, practical ExternalAXIOLOGYInternal Based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman, 2006
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  • How do we research? Objectivist Discovering universal laws in behaviour Quantification Deductive reasoning Subjectivist Understanding of social forms created by people Interpretation Inductive reasoning NomotheticMETHODOLOGYIdeographic Based on Cohen et al, 2002; Neuman, 2006
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  • Some layers of social inquiry What kind of conclusions will we be able to draw? Where do we focus? What kind of evidence do we collect? What things do we choose to notice? How do we know & research? What kinds of questions do we ask? How do we see things? ONTOLOGY EPISTEMOLOGY METHODOLOGY INSTRUMENTATION DATA ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES Realism Positivism Nomothetic Segregation Numerical Statistical Nominalism Anti-positivist Ideographic Integration Qualitative Interpretative
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  • How do we choose methodology? Research Focus & QuestionMethodology Causal relationships What is the relationship between A and B? Experiment Meaning What is the meaning of this experience? Phenomenology Patterns, descriptions What is the culture of this group of people? Ethnography Single phenomenon What are characteristics of the phenomenon? Case study Partly based on Richards & Morse, 2007
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  • What kinds of data do we collect? MethodologyLikely data sources/types Experiment (causal relationship) Tests, behavioural measurement, etc. Phenomenology (meaning) In-depth conversations, phenomenological literature, etc. Ethnography (patterns, descriptions) Observations, field notes, interviews, focus groups, documents, artefacts, etc. Case study (phenomenon) Interviews, observations, focus groups, documents, evidences, etc. Partly based on Richards & Morse, 2007
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  • How do we choose analytic techniques? MethodologyAnalysis techniques Experiment (causal relationship) Statistical: comparison, correlation, etc. Phenomenology (meaning) Themeing, reflective writing, etc. Ethnography (patterns, descriptions) Sorting, identifying topics and patterns, thick description, etc. Case study (phenomenon) Structural, interpretational, reflective analysis, etc. Partly based on Richards & Morse, 2007
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  • Research question and methodology A question about causation: may be before and after or comparison A general question about a whole population Points to a quantitative study perhaps with a quasi-experimental research design A question about meanings, experiences and practices A question about a particular place and particular phenomenon Points to a qualitative study, perhaps an ethnographic case study Will the use of laptops affect students writing skills? How does this school use laptops in their daily practices? But this is not so black and white
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  • Two kinds of social sciences PositivistInterpretivist Purposediscover lawsunderstand social meanings in context Realityempirically evidentsocially constructed Humansrational, individualistic beings interacting beings & create meanings Human agencydeterministicVoluntaristic Scientific knowledgedifferent & superiordifferent, not superior Explanationsbased on causal laws, deductive based on description, inductive Resultscan be verified using replication can be verified with people being studied Evidenceuniversal, intersubjectivitecontingent, contextualised KnowledgeInstrumentalpractical & transcendental Researchvalue free & objectiverelativistic regarding values 22 Based on Neuman, 2007, 87, 94
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  • How do we know: The third paradigm: Reality has multiple layers, & observations on surface level do not reflect deeper structures and mechanisms that causes them. Social research must be reflective and it is necessary political. The goal is not to study, but demystify ordinary events. Origins Karl Marx (1818-1883) materialist tradition Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) Jurgen Habermas (1929) Critical social science Based on Cohen et al, 2002, Neuman 2006
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  • Critical social science: Principles of inquiry Emphasis Political & ideological context Understand & change Main steps 1.Description: What I am doing? 2.Information: What does it mean? 3.Confrontation: How did I come to be like this? 4.Reconstruction: How might I do differently? 5.Evaluation: How did I succeed? Key principle realism, revealing hidden levels of social life Based on Cohen et al, 2002, Neuman 2006
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  • Two kinds of social sciences PositivistCriticalInterpretive Purposediscover lawsreveal hidden, liberate, empower understand social meanings in context Realityempirically evidenthas multiple layerssocially constructed Humansrational, individualistic beings have unrealised potential & life is relational interacting beings & create meanings Human agencydeterministicbounded autonomyVoluntaristic Scientific knowledge different & superiorimperfect, liberatingdifferent, not superior Explanationsbased on causal laws, deductive Critique is based trying alternative explanations based on description, inductive Resultscan be verified using replication can be verified through praxis can be verified with people being studied Evidenceuniversal, intersubjectivite theory dependentcontingent, contextualised KnowledgeInstrumentalreflective-dialectical & transformative practical & transcendental Researchvalue free & objectivecontains a moral-political dimension relativistic regarding values 25 Based on Neuman, 2007, 87, 94, 102
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  • Descartes error 26 Positivist Interpretaivist Post-positivism Critical (Discourse analysis) Participatory (Action research) Post-modernism New materialism Ecological perspectives Performative (Arts-based inquiry) Complexity Positivist Interpretativist (Interaction analysis, Phenomenology) Critical realism (Design based research) Feminism (Discourse analysis)
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  • Assemblage science Gilles Deluge Realist Assemblages vs. totalities Social reality as emergent Emergent ontology Properties Capacities Tendencies Epistemology Population thinking Intensive thinking Topological thinking 27 New Materiality: Assemblage theory Simon McIntyre, in progress
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  • Performative science Ontology Materialist Phenomenological Psychology of perception Epistemology Performative: centrality of raw perception, skill, body and action [Anthropology] is not a study of at all, but a study with. Anthropologists work and study with people. Immersed with them in an environment of joint activity, they learn to see things (or hear them, or touch them) it educates our perception of the world, and opens our eyes and minds to other possibilities of being. (Ingold, 2010, 238) 28 Material ecology It is NOT an eclectic constellation of different ontologies, epistemologies and methodologies NEXT
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  • Example from my research 29 How do concepts become actionable? Model view Culture (Formal concepts) Module view Context (Functional concepts) Modality view Experience (Situated concepts) C C C C Markauskaite & Goodyear (in progress) Epistemic fluency and professional action. Springer Based on Greeno, 2012; Barsalou, 2009
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  • How do concepts become actionable? S2: You could have a jigsaw kind of thing happening. () Where you take, so if youve got groups, youve got everyone in their individual groups and then you switch it around so that you share it with the other people that were not in your group. (.) S2: It could get messy, I know, I know, but just as theoretical it sounds like it could work, but I dont know in practice. (.) S2: Yeah, but kids, I dont think theres gonna be that much discussion, I just think thats gonna be more show me your thing and then ((shows writing gesture)) copy, copy, copy ((all laugh)). You know how it is. (.) S3: But maybe [4 seconds] () cause I remember with when we did jigsaw like the kids d actually test, like we were tested like when we did it in a tutorial, we were tested on it, so it wasnt just procrastination. They must have actually done something. 30 How do pre-service teachers learn conceptual knowledge? [Formal] [Functional] [Situated] [Functional]
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  • Ontological and epistemological foundations 31 Ontology: realist, dynamic Axiology: internal-external Epistemology: manifold Human nature: grounded Methodology: interpretative Immanuel Kant 1724-1804 Thomas S. Kuhn 1922-1996 David Hume 1711-1776 Lawrence Barsalou Stephen Toulmin 1922-2009 Atkinson & Shriffin Grounded cognition & manifold view of human conceptual understanding It is NOT an eclectic constellation
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  • Theory & methodology a system of interconnected ideas that condenses and organizes knowledge and presents a systematic view about a phenomenon: concepts, definitions, propositions, relationships, etc E.g., feminist theory, complexity theory, conflict theory, consensus theory Kinds of theories Grand theories broad narratives, ontological and epistemological postulates that define a field of inquiry. Empirical theories empirically testable theories Critical theories knowledge via interpretation or self-reflection 32 Theory Based on Cohen et al, 2002, Neuman 2006
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  • How do we reason? Deductive theorisingInductive theorising A. Theory B. Hypothesis C. Methodology Sample Variables Methods/ techniques Units of analysis D. Fieldwork E. Results B. Fieldwork B. Results A. Methodology Participants Phenomena Methods/ techniques Units of analysis D. Conclusions E. Theory Based on Lewins, 1992
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  • Nature of inquiry Method, instruments & data
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  • Research methods Though this be madness, yet there is method in it From Shakespeares, Hamlet [Polonius comment on Hamlets behaviour] Methodolog...

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