Class 8: 10/24/11
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class 8: 10/24/11 history & philosophy. research It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein When curiosity turns to serious matters, it's called research. Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach.

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class 8: 10/24/11

history & philosophy


  • It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein

  • When curiosity turns to serious matters, it's called research. Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

all researchers must attend to

  • theory

    • from description to explanation

  • endogeneity

    • values explanatory (independent) variables take on may be consequence, rather than cause of dependent variable

  • unit of analysis

    • level and target of observation

  • dominant metaphors of field

improving data quality

  • record & report how data generated

  • collect data on as many observable implications as possible

  • maximize validity of descriptions (describe what you intend to describe)

  • reliable data generation methods (same procedure, same way, same results)

  • data and analyses should be replicable

    maximizing leverage: explain as much as possible with as little as possible

historical & philosophical research

Kaestle: recent developments . . .

  • history both science and art

  • generalization remains an act of creative interpretation involving the historian’s values, interests, and training

  • no single, definable method of inquiry

assumptions underlying traditional framework (in U.S.?)

  • history of education concerned almost exclusively with the history of public school systems

  • state regulated, free, tax supported, universal schooling a good thing

traditional framework (corollaries)

1. education = schooling

  • enlightenment of earlier societies equated with how much formal schooling

  • importance of family, workplace, churches etc. underestimated

    2. those in favor of public schooling enlightened leaders; people opposed to school reform ignorant etc (value bias)

3. growth = progress

4. focus on leadership and organization rather than educational behavior and attitudes of ordinary people

  • great majority of books and dissertations written before 1950 based on this paradigm—progressive and beneficial evolution of public schools

two strands of revision

1. broadened focus of education history looking at agencies of instruction other than schools (e.g., Bailyn, Cremin)

  • societies educate in many ways, but the state educates through schools

    2. emphasis on the exploitative nature of capitalism and how schools relate to it and on the culturally abusive nature of mainstream values asserted by schools

quantitative methods

  • reaction to naïve use of numerical data and a focus on the leaders rather than the clients

  • made possible by computer programs and availability of microfilmed sources

  • virtue: puts reader in touch with realities of schools in the past

quantitative methods: challenges

  • statistics and computers alien to many historians

  • historians slow to pick up appropriate techniques

  • data crude and incomplete

  • small samples, often leading to questionable aggregation

  • data biased, defined differently in different periods

theory and history

  • explanations come not only from evidence, but from theory

  • most historians use theory incidentally and selectively

  • historians should be aware of major theories in related disciplines and their possible relevance for historical methodology

methodological concerns

1. confusion of correlations and causes

2. defining key terms

- vagueness, e.g., industrialization, reform

- presentism: assuming terms had present-day meanings in the past, e.g., public

3. distinguishing between how people should act and how in fact they did act

4. distinguishing intent and consequences

  • historians have always been scavengers, raiding other disciplines for new techniques and insights.

  • no single methodology—complex and all-encompassing

  • educational historians have moved out—history of family, childhood, reform institutions etc.

  • the reader of educational history need be critically alert and independent

from the I-Book

  • play frisbee on the quad

  • visit Krannert Art Museum

  • shoot pool in the Union

  • see a play at Krannert

  • visit Spurlock Museum

  • eat lunch at the Union Ballroom

  • visit Japan House

  • see an acappella concert

  • order Papa Del’s

  • take a nap on the couches in the Union

  • visit Allerton

Michael Scriven: Philosophical Inquiry Methods in Education

  • educators concerned with imparting knowledge; philosophers with the concept of knowledge itself

  • the philosopher analyzes many of the complex concepts that educational researchers study

  • educational researchers need to have in their repertoire well developed skills in conceptual analysis

  • “the same factors that lead to the preparation of conceptually incompetent researchers explain the rash tendency of researchers to rush into building a lifetime of research on a foundation of conceptual sand” (p. 136).

  • two false doctrines:

    • correct way to define terms is so called “operational definitions”

    • definitional irresponsibility

  • see discussion of IQ tests on page 141

    • “For the only issue is whether fewer children are penalized when the IQ test is used than when it is not used.” (p. 141)

  • “most conceptual analysis in educational research has to be done by analyzing and not by replacing the complex concepts” (p. 144)

    • method of examples and contrasts

    • analogies and evocative language

    • making most plausible generalizations—seeing loopholes and counter-examples in those generalizations

terms from Vogt

  • systematic sample

  • theory

  • time series

  • trait

  • transformation

  • triangulation

  • unit of analysis

  • validity

  • weighted average

  • X and Y axes

Becker ch 4: editing by ear

  • importance of heuristic rules, i.e., general “rules of thumb” about writing

  • the unwritten rules of an area, i.e., knowledgeable people in an area know what “works” or “swings” etc

    • find good writers and listen to what they say (Koko Taylor/Willie Dixon story)

  • read outside you field, to avoid developing a stilted “academic” ear; read good writers—a few suggestions

    • Atlantic

    • Sports Illustrated

    • New Yorker

    • John McPhee

    • Tony Hillerman

    • John Kass (Chicago Tribune)

    • Loren Tate, Marcus Jackson )News-Gazette)

read carefully pp. 72-79 to get sense of the process of careful, detailed editing.

. . . having rewritten a sentence, I then rewrite it again, and even a third or fourth time. Why don’t I get it right the first time? I say [to students], and try to show them, that each change opens the way to other changes, that when you clear away nonworking words and phrases, you can see more easily what the sentence is about and can phrase it more succinctly and accurately. ( p. 78).

some hints from Becker

  • use active voice (and action verbs); avoid the passive voice—”Active verbs almost always force you to name the person who did whatever was done . . .” (p. 79).

  • use fewer words. “An unnecessary word does no work” (p. 81). “I seldom take unnecessary words out of early drafts . . .” (p. 81).

  • don’t repeat words when you can get the same result without doing it.

  • syntax, way we arrange sentence’s elements, indicates relations between them.

  • use the concrete—as opposed to the abstract—whenever possible

  • use metaphors only if they are still alive; avoid old tired metaphors. “Reading [a living metaphor] shows you a new aspect of what you are reading about . . .” (p. 86).

Writers need to pay close attention to what they have written as they revise, looking at every word as if they meant it to be taken seriously. You can write first drafts quickly and carelessly exactly because you know you will be critical later. When you pay close attention the problems start taking care of themselves. (p. 89)

colon (80-81)

  • between a grammatically complete intro clause and a final clause that illustrates, extends, or amplifies the first. If second clause a complete sentence, capitalize.

    • Kelly presented two findings: Teachers preferred . . .

  • do not use a colon after intro that is not a complete sentence

    • The students were Ben, Akiko, Mustafa. . . .

semicolon (*)

  • separate 2 independent clauses not joined by a conjunction

    • Group A did well; group B did not.

  • separate elements in a series that already contain commas

    • The groups were Kevin, Yonghee, and Marcella; Fred, Taro, and Chryso; . . .

  • in American English, research not countable—thus much research, or many research studies not many researches.

Lit Review

  • working draft in final form

    • follow format exactly

    • use the manual (APA or Chicago)

    • compare against examples p. 41 ff

  • sections, subsections, or parts thereof can be “under construction”

  • notes to self in square brackets

  • construct framework and fill in the parts—get words on paper


  • introduction (2 pp) (no headings)

    • why interested

    • questions

    • search parameters

    • organization of review section

  • review section (15-20 pp) (level-1 heading)

    • 3-5 sections, with subsections if useful (levels-2 & -3 headings)

    • end each section with a discussion (level-2 heading)

  • discussion (2 pp) (level-1 heading)

    • synthesize the review (discussion of discussions)

  • conclusion ( <1 p) (level-1 heading)

    • return to original question(s)

  • personal reflections (1 p) (level-1 heading)

    • what you learned in the process of doing the lit review about becoming a researcher, etc.

  • references (new page) (level-1 heading)

    • make sure all citations in references

    • make sure all references cited

  • additional references (level-1 heading)

    • references not cited that you may use in later drafts

lit review reqs by grade choice

  • A: 20-30+ pages, 20-30 references

  • A-: 15-25+ pages, 15-25 references

  • B+: 7-10+ pages, 10-15 references

  • B: 7-10+ pages, 8-12 references

Sieber ch 7: deception research

7.1 why is deception used in research

  • to achieve stimulus control or random assignment

  • to study responses to low-frequency events

  • to obtain valid observations without serious risk to subjects

  • to obtain information otherwise not obtainable because of defensiveness, embarrassment, shame or fear of reprisal

  • deception research should not involve people in ways that members of the subject population would find unacceptable

    7.2 alternatives to deception

  • simulation

  • ethnographic or participant observation

  • obtain consent for concealment

7.3 consent to conceal vs deception

acceptable (all with full debriefing)

  • informed consent to participate in one of various conditions

  • consent to deception

  • consent to waive the right to be informed


  • consent and false informing

  • no informing and no consent

7.4 minimizing wrong and harm

  • some important forms of behavior vanish under scrutiny, thus concealment or deception sometimes necessary

  • the more objectionable forms of deception are unnecessary

    7.5 dehoaxing

  • revealing the deception

  • double deception particularly harmful

7.6 desensitizing

  • restore people to frame of mind as positive and constructive as it was when they entered study

    7.7 when not to dehoax

Sieber ch 8: Recognizing Risk

  • possibility that harm, frustration, loss, or damage may occur

    • mere inconvenience

    • physical risk

    • psychological risk

    • social risk

    • economic risk

    • legal risk

  • figure 8.1: know how to read and to be able to discuss risk in any of the cells, e.g., bB2.

    8.3 stages of research

  • theory, question, or research idea

  • research process

  • institutional setting

  • use of research findings

8.4 risk related factors

  • privacy and confidentiality

  • personal safety and well being

  • lack of validity

  • deception and debriefing

  • informed consent, respectful communication

  • justice and equitable treatment

  • ownership of data and knowledge

  • gatekeepers and opinion leaders

8.5 persons or institutions that may be vulnerable

  • visible, famous, deep pockets, lacking public sympathy

  • lacking resources or autonomy

  • stigmatized individuals

  • weakened position, perhaps institutionalized

  • unable to speak for themselves

  • engaged in illegal activities

  • associated with those studied

8.6 researchers’ perception of risk

  • IRBs look for evidence researcher

    • aware of possible risks and has reduced them

    • consults with those who can help them understand and reduce risk

    • aware of their own prejudices and alternative points of view

    • aware of assumptions and limitations of findings

    • aware of how findings might be translated in media and elsewhere

this week free and cheap

  • Tu: flu shots, 1:30-4:30pm, undergrad library

  • Tu: Jennifer Miller, "How to Wear a Beard: Reflections on a Life in the Sideshow, the Circus, and the Academy,“ 7:30pm, Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium. (founder of Circus Amok, New York’s only one ring, no-animal queerly situated political circus spectacular).

  • Th: annual library book sale, 9-4pm, Main Library

  • F: soccer vs Michigan, 6pm, free

  • F: volleyball vs Wisconsin, 7pm, Huff, free (ID)

  • Sa: volleyball vs Minnesota, 7pm, Huff, free (ID)

  • Sa: UI Steel Band and I-Pan, 7:30, Krannert, $4

  • Su: Illinois Brass Quintet Halloween Spooktacular, 3pm, (costume contest, 2pm), Krannert Lobby, free

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