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Objectivity, subjectivity and competing models of research. David R Hall KMUTT/Macquarie 22 April 2011 .

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Objectivity, subjectivity and competing models of research

David R Hall

KMUTT/Macquarie

22 April 2011


It is a fact, an astonishing, almost shocking fact, that Ibsen does exist across cultures, in the sense that his plays are read and performed all over the world. The challenge is how to deal with this fact, both theoretically and analytically.


Reference for previous slide

Helland, Frode. 2009.

'Empire and culture in Ibsen. Some notes on the dangers and ambiguities of interculturalism‘

Ibsen Studies, 9: 2, 136 — 159


Reference for following slide

Middleton, Peter(2009)

'Strips: Scientific language in poetry',

Textual Practice, 23: 6, 947 — 958


I first became aware of Language Poetry in Duck Soup, Nick Kimberley’s poetry bookshop in London, a small obviously doomed attempt to create the atmosphere of a combined salon, library, and shop after he left the eclectic crowded world of Compendium bookshop in Camden. Nick liked you to sit in the armchair near his desk, drink tea, and bring some conversation and news of writers and London gossip to the overly quiet space. I was always hurrying like the White Rabbit to my next teaching job (I had at least four part-time gigs at the time) and rarely had the money to buy the books I desired and Nick needed to sell.


Reference for following slide

Swellengrebel, N.H. and de Buck, A. 1938.

Malaria in the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Scheltema and Holkema


Inductive approaches

In an inductive approach to research, the researcher will look for a general explanation based on observed data, but …


But…

…what is observed and how it is interpreted will be influenced by the researcher’s personal preferences and theoretical preconceptions


Deductive approaches

A deductive approach takes a theory or a hypothesis and tests it by looking for data that either support or disprove it, but …


But …

both the initial drafting of the theory and the “fitting” of the data to the theory is highly subjective.


Objective & subjective styles

The tendency in the social science literature is now to acknowledge the subjectivity of the researcher and his or her role as both participant and observer in the research process, but this is far from universal in research more generally, and the so-called “agentless” style of research reporting is still dominant.


Kinds of data

  • Real-world data

  • Experimental data

  • Intuition/theory


Idealisation and abstraction

How are the data idealised in your work?

  • Categorisation

  • Selection

  • Part-whole relations


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Medicine

Education

Early Childhood

Faculty of Human Sciences, Macquarie University

Cognitive Sciences

Psychology

Linguistics


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Education

Early Childhood

Should it be more like this?

Medicine

Linguistics

Cognitive Sciences

Psychology


Or this?

Linguistics

Cognitive Sciences

Education

Early childhood

Medicine

Psychology


Or totally scrambled?

L P E M C E a s i y r d o n c g l g h n y i u t I oi u c ve o s o l t di i C S c c c h ii ls g i d e e n c ee s y h a t o i o d n n


Abstraction

Do these exist?

  • Love

  • Friendship

  • Language

  • Education

  • Culture

  • Research


How about these?

  • Comprehension

  • Identity

  • Translation

  • Autonomy

  • Communication

  • Conversation


Keller (1985) on language

“The individual competence of each one of us is his hypothesis of communicating successfully with others ... this hypothesis must be modified continuously through success and failure ... The form in which our language exists is the ability of each individual to communicate with others. ...


The individual competence of a speaker is, in all likelihood, as unique as the individual himself. ... In addition, the individual competence is constantly in a state of flux. ... Our language exists in no other way than in millions of individual competences. ... That which is social about our language is based on the fact that the individual competence of every single one of us contains hypotheses as to the individual competence of the others”.


So –

down with nouniness?


Paradigm blinkers

  • Euclid and non-Euclidean geometry

  • The earth as the centre of the universe

  • Einstein and quantum theory

  • Saussure and linguistic data


See you in Sydney!

[email protected]


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