The Ceaseless Offer of Possibility

JonAndrews b

Originally posted on JonAndrews:

David Berliner (2002) notes that educational research and social science is often considered ‘too soft, squishy, unreliable and imprecise to rely on as a basis for practice’ when contrasted with the ‘hard’ sciences such as physics, chemistry and geology.

Perhaps this is because in education, we do our ‘science’ under conditions that physical scientists could consider intolerable. We contend with local complexities of socio-economic and cultural circumstance that can limit generalisations and theory building. As such, our ability to understand, predict and control phenomena we study is tough, much to the frustration of those who employ considerable effort to design out methodological inconsistencies or compromising influences. Surely deciding what is important to test, prove or challenge needs to occur first, followed by selecting the instruments and means to enable this. The question of what is important is a social decision that comes before scientific theory…

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