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The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) “ Society in general is unimpressed with the contributions of social/behavioral inquiry;

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Presentation on theme: "The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) “ Society in general is unimpressed with the contributions of social/behavioral inquiry;"— Presentation transcript:

1 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) “ Society in general is unimpressed with the contributions of social/behavioral inquiry; a pox will soon be called down on all our houses, if there is continuing conflict rather than cooperation among the paradigm adherents. It is to everyone ’ s benefit to cooperate. ” (Guba, 1990b, 374)

2 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) “ Let us engage in the paradigm wars. Let us defend ourselves against those who would impose their modern notions of science on us by exposing the flaws in what they call scientifically based research (SBR). Let us mount a strong offense by generating qualitative studies that are so powerful they cannot be dismissed. ” (Hatch 2006, 407)

3 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Outline of the paper From the 1980s to the present, taking up multiple forms of paradigm discourse in the third methodological moment. re-engaging Hatch and his critique of the SBR backlash against interpretive inquiry. Returning to Guba ’ s (1990b) call for dialog and collaboration across paradigms and interpretive communities.

4 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Some Post-Positivist Institutions CC (Cochrane Collaboration) C2 (Campbell Collaboration) AIR (American Institutes for Research) WWC (What Works Clearinghouse) SBR (scientifically based research) IES (Institute of Education Science) NRC (National Research Council)

5 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology neo-liberalism post-positivism the audit-accountability culture experimentalism mixed methodologies ‘ governmental incursion into the spaces of research methods ’

6 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology Neoliberalism is an approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that minimise the role of the state and maximise the private business sector. neoclassical theories of economics The term "neoliberalism" has also come into wide use in cultural studies to describe an internationally prevailing ideological paradigm that leads to social, cultural, and political practices and policies that use the language of markets, efficiency, consumer choice, transactional thinking and individual autonomy to shift risk from governments and corporations onto individuals and to extend this kind of market logic into the realm of social and affective relationships. (from Wikipedia)

7 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology The term epistemology comes from the Greek word epistêmê, their term for knowledge. In simple terms, epistemology is the philosophy of knowledge or of how we come to know. Methodology is also concerned with how we come to know, but is much more practical in nature. Methodology is focused on the specific ways -- the methods -- that we can use to try to understand our world better. Epistemology and methodology are intimately related: the former involves the philosophy of how we come to know the world and the latter involves the practice.

8 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology In its broadest sense, positivism is a rejection of metaphysics. It is a position that holds that the goal of knowledge is simply to describe the phenomena that we experience. The purpose of science is simply to stick to what we can observe and measure. Knowledge of anything beyond that, a positivist would hold, is impossible. (E.g., behaviorism in mid- 20th Century psychology)

9 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology In a positivist view of the world, science was seen as the way to get at truth, to understand the world well enough so that we might predict and control it. The positivist believed in empiricism -- the idea that observation and measurement was the core of the scientific endeavor. The key approach of the scientific method is the experiment, the attempt to discern natural laws through direct manipulation and observation. The positivist believed in empiricism -- the idea that observation and measurement was the core of the scientific endeavor. The key approach of the scientific method is the experiment, the attempt to discern natural laws through direct manipulation and observation.

10 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology Postpositivists believe that human knowledge is based not on unchallengeable, rock-solid foundations, but rather upon humanconjectures. conjectures (from Wikipedia)

11 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology Post-positivism is a wholesale rejection of the central tenets of positivism. A post- positivist might begin by recognizing that the way scientists think and work and the way we think in our everyday life are not distinctly different. Scientific reasoning and common sense reasoning are essentially the same process. There is no difference in kind between the two, only a difference in degree. Post-positivism is a wholesale rejection of the central tenets of positivism. A post- positivist might begin by recognizing that the way scientists think and work and the way we think in our everyday life are not distinctly different. Scientific reasoning and common sense reasoning are essentially the same process. There is no difference in kind between the two, only a difference in degree.

12 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology One of the most common forms of post- positivism is a philosophy called critical realism. A critical realist believes that there is a reality independent of our thinking about it that science can study. One of the most common forms of post- positivism is a philosophy called critical realism. A critical realist believes that there is a reality independent of our thinking about it that science can study. Positivists were also realists. The difference is that the post-positivist critical realist recognizes that all observation is fallible and has error and that all theory is revisable. In other words, the critical realist is critical of our ability to know reality with certainty. Positivists were also realists. The difference is that the post-positivist critical realist recognizes that all observation is fallible and has error and that all theory is revisable. In other words, the critical realist is critical of our ability to know reality with certainty.

13 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology Where the positivist believed that the goal of science was to uncover the truth, the post-positivist critical realist believes that the goal of science is to hold steadfastly to the goal of getting it right about reality, even though we can never achieve that goal! Where the positivist believed that the goal of science was to uncover the truth, the post-positivist critical realist believes that the goal of science is to hold steadfastly to the goal of getting it right about reality, even though we can never achieve that goal! Because all measurement is fallible, the post-positivist emphasizes the importance of multiple measures and observations, each of which may possess different types of error, and the need to use triangulation across these multiple errorful sources. Because all measurement is fallible, the post-positivist emphasizes the importance of multiple measures and observations, each of which may possess different types of error, and the need to use triangulation across these multiple errorful sources. The post-positivist believes that all observations are theory-laden and that scientists are inherently biased by their cultural experiences, world views, and so on. The post-positivist believes that all observations are theory-laden and that scientists are inherently biased by their cultural experiences, world views, and so on.

14 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology That is, post-positivism rejects the relativist idea of the incommensurability of different perspectives, the idea that we can never understand each other because we come from different experiences and cultures. That is, post-positivism rejects the relativist idea of the incommensurability of different perspectives, the idea that we can never understand each other because we come from different experiences and cultures. Most post-positivists are constructivists who believe that we each construct our view of the world based on our perceptions of it. Because perception and observation is fallible, our constructions must be imperfect. Most post-positivists are constructivists who believe that we each construct our view of the world based on our perceptions of it. Because perception and observation is fallible, our constructions must be imperfect.

15 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology So what is meant by objectivity in a post- positivist world? Positivists believed that objectivity was a characteristic that resided in the individual scientist. Scientists are responsible for putting aside their biases and beliefs and seeing the world as it 'really' is. Post-positivists reject the idea that any individual can see the world perfectly as it really is. We are all biased and all of our observations are affected (theory- laden). Our best hope for achieving objectivity is to triangulate across multiple fallible perspectives. So what is meant by objectivity in a post- positivist world? Positivists believed that objectivity was a characteristic that resided in the individual scientist. Scientists are responsible for putting aside their biases and beliefs and seeing the world as it 'really' is. Post-positivists reject the idea that any individual can see the world perfectly as it really is. We are all biased and all of our observations are affected (theory- laden). Our best hope for achieving objectivity is to triangulate across multiple fallible perspectives.

16 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Terminology Postmodernism is a tendency in contemporary culture characterized by the rejection of objective truth and global cultural narrative. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, and motivations; in particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial. Postmodernism is a tendency in contemporary culture characterized by the rejection of objective truth and global cultural narrative. It emphasizes the role of language, power relations, and motivations; in particular it attacks the use of sharp classifications such as male versus female, straight versus gay, white versus black, and imperial versus colonial. objective truth global cultural narrative objective truth global cultural narrative Postmodernism has influenced many cultural fields, including literary criticism, sociology, linguistics, architecture, visual arts, and music. Postmodernism has influenced many cultural fields, including literary criticism, sociology, linguistics, architecture, visual arts, and music. literary criticism sociology linguistics literary criticism sociology linguistics Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from modernist approaches that had previously been dominant. The term "Postmodernism" comes from its rejection of the "Modern" scientific mentality of objectivity and progress associated with the Enlightenment. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from modernist approaches that had previously been dominant. The term "Postmodernism" comes from its rejection of the "Modern" scientific mentality of objectivity and progress associated with the Enlightenment. (from Wikipedia)

17 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Hatch (2006): Qualitative studies in the era of scientifically-based research neo-conservatism and postmodernism; postmodern paralysis; fighting back; re-engaging the paradigm wars.

18 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Hatch (2006): neo-conservatism and postmodernism SBR is a well-orchestrated attempt to return to modern ways of thinking about ‘ knowledge, knowing and research methods ’ In the language of the paradigm wars, this is a return to positivism. Methodological conservatism blurs into and supports conservative political ideology; the conservative and SBR criticisms of the critical and constructivist (postmodern) paradigms may have created divisions within the qualitative research community. Rather than endorsing many different forms of inquiry, SBR has helped marginalize critical qualitative inquiry.

19 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Hatch (2006): postmodern paralysis Hatch places some of the blame on those who speak about the end of ethnography, the crisis of representation, and the postmodern, performance and autoethnographic turn in qualitative inquiry. He fears that many who fought on the front lines of 1980s paradigm wars now feel trapped between ‘ retrenched positivist forces on the one hand and stinging poststructuralist critiques on the other.

20 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Hatch (2006): postmodern paralysis This debate creates paralysis. People are writing and theorizing about research but not doing it. Students are not being taught how to do actual qualitative research. Few ‘ data-based studies ’ (406) are being conducted. Hatch fears that ‘ the next generation of … may well have been prepared to theorize, deconstruct, and critique but have no clue how to design a study, collect data and generating findings from a thoughtful analysis ’ (406). Denzin ’ s disagreement: Paralysis is not the case.

21 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Hatch (2006): Fighting back Hatch wants research done within all the qualitative paradigms to be considered legitimate. He does not want ‘ knowledge and how it is created to be in the hands of those who happen to hold political power ’ (406). He does not want to take a giant step back to the pre-1980s paradigm wars. He wants a strong line of defense in order to re-establish qualitative inquiry as a valuable and ‘ respected form of inquiry ’ (406).

22 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Hatch (2006): Seven Ways to Fight back (1) publishing well-designed qualitative research in high- quality journals; (2) increased support for new scholars doing qualitative research; (3) lobbying journals and editors to publish more qualitative work; (4) defending our territory by ‘ exposing the flaws, faulty logic, shaking assumptions, and sheer banality that characterizes many of the arguments in the SBR movement ’ (406); (5) rejecting SBR criteria for evaluating our work; (6) critiquing SBR studies which are held up as models for the field; and (7) refusing to accept SBR ’ s concepts of science and knowledge and proper inquiry.

23 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Hatch (2006): Who science? Whose research? We cannot allow the new positivist, SBR camp to claim control over the word science, just as we must reclaim control over what we mean by research. Eisenhart (2006) proposes a model of qualitative science that is interpretive, after Geertz (1973), and practical, after Flyvberg (2001). A development of these alternatives to experimental science could help improve the status of qualitative inquiry in the current political environment. Likewise, queer, feminist, indigenous and postcolonial models of science open up additional spaces for resisting the narrow, hegemonic SBR framework.

24 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Forming Alliances We need to find new strategic and tactical ways to work with one another in the new paradigm dialog between the poststructural, mixedmethods and SBR advocates, as well as spokespersons for the NRC, CC and C2. These three main interpretive communities need to develop ways of communicating with and learning from one another.

25 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Forming Alliances We must learn from the Paradigm conflicts of the 1980s to not over-reach, to not engage in polemics, to not become too self- satisfied. We need to develop and work with our own concepts of science, knowledge and quality inquiry.

26 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Forming Alliances Over the course of the last two decades, oststructuralists have fought hard to claim an interpretive space for inquiry which questioned norms of objectivity, emphasized complexity, subjective interpretive processes, performance, textuality, difference, uncertainty, politics, power and inquiry as a moral as well as a scientific process (see Lather 2006a, 48 – 52). These understandings, like obdurate structures, ought not be compromised. They are knots in our interpretive handkerchief.

27 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Carrying on the Dialog: Ten Position Statements Thesis 1: There needs to be a greater openness to alternative paradigm critiques; Thesis 2: There needs to be decline in confrontationalism by alternative paradigm proponents; Thesis 3: Paths for fruitful dialog between and across paradigms need to be explored; Thesis 4: Simplistic representations of the newer (and older) paradigms need to be avoided. This will help address confusion.

28 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Carrying on the Dialog: Ten Position Statements Thesis 5: Complexity and interconnectedness, not simplicity are ineluctable (Guba 1990b, 373); Thesis 6: The commensurability theses, as they apply to paradigms and methods, need to be revisited.What is gained and what is lost with these two theses? Thesis 7: A change in paradigmatic postures involves a personal odyssey; that is, we each have a personal history with our preferred paradigm and this needs to be honored. Thesis 8: The three main interpretive communities (poststructural, mix-methods, SBR) must learn to how to cooperate and work with one another. This is so because paradigm dominance involves control over faculty appointments, tenure, training, funding, publication, status and legitimation (Guba 1990b, 374).

29 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Carrying on the Dialog: Ten Position Statements Thesis 9: There is a need for conferences which will allow scholars from competing paradigms to see one another face to face and to interact. The Annual International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry is one attempt to address this need. Thesis 10: The complexity of the field of qualitative research needs to be honored. Polarization and elitism need to be avoided. In conferences and congresses multiple language communities need to be represented. Dialog between persons and interpretive communities is critical.

30 The new paradigm dialogs and qualitative inquiry (Denzin, 2008) Carrying on the Dialog: Three Agenda Items The intellectual agenda: The global community of qualitative inquiry needs annual events where it can deal with the problems and issues that they confront at this historical moment. The advocacy agenda: The community needs to develop ‘ systematic contacts with political figures, the media … the professional press and with practitioners such as teachers, health workers, social workers, [and] government functionaries ’. The operational agenda: Qualitative researchers are encouraged to engage in self-learning, and self-criticism, to resocialize themselves.


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