This paper presents a pilot study that explores instances of objectless awareness during sleep: conscious experiences had during sleep that prima facie lack an object of awareness. This state of objectless awareness during sleep has been widely described by Indian contemplative traditions and has been characterised as a state of consciousness-as-such; while in it, there is nothing to be aware of, one is merely conscious (cf. Evans-Wentz, 1960; Fremantle, 2001; Ponlop, 2006). While this phenomenon has received different names in the literature, such as ‘witnessing-sleep’ and ‘clear light sleep’ among others, the specific phenomenological profile of this state has not yet been rigorously studied. This paper aims at presenting a preliminary investigation of objectless consciousness during sleep using a novel tool in qualitative research that can guide future research. Five participants experiencing objectless consciousness during sleep were interviewed following the Micro-phenomenological Interview technique (MPI; Petitmengin, 2005, 2006). All participants reported an experience they had during sleep in which there was no scenery and no dream. This period labelled as ‘No Scenery/Void’ was either preceded by the dissolution of a lucid dream or by other forms of conscious mentation. The analysis of the results advances four experiential dimensions during this state of void, namely (1) Perception of absence, (2) Self-perception, (3) Perception of emotions, and (4) Perception of awareness. While the results are primarily explorative, they refer to themes found in the literature to describe objectless sleep and point at potential avenues of research. The results from this study are taken as indications to guide future operationalisations of this phenomenon.
This publication constructs a methodology of active learning for observing the observer: the tool used is the construction of games. The basic question is: What actions can be taken to allow the subject to observe himself, and how can learning activities be used as a way of reconstructing the subject’s experience during the observation? The basic reference framework for the qualitative research is constructivism. The conceptual and philosophical analysis of research is second-order cybernetics, which gives relevance to the theory of the observer and the relationship between the observer and what is observed. For the construction of the games the group is organized according to specific structures, which make up a work network within the proposed experimental scenario. Every reflexive discourse (conceptual, informational and descriptive) on the describer’s properties system will be formed, at least, of the perspectives, dispositions and distinctions in the language of the observer. In this sense, to observe the observer is not a representation of analyzable, controllable and predictable process, rather to observe the observer will be interpreting the metaphors that constitute him or her at any stage of experimentation that is proposed. The usefulness of the game as a methodology for observing the observer means that it is possible to propose a comparison between the dynamics of the social system built by the participants in the application of the methodology and the networks that can be built in terms of the language used. Relevance: The publication addresses a methodological approach for learning to observe the observer. In von Foerster’s words, observing the observer consists of describing the properties of the describer. First, we start from a position in second-order cybernetics which turns out to be a radical constructivist position. Then, we make a connection between observer, constructivism, metaphors and learning. The game is the designing pillar and the tool used to incorporate the proposed methodology. The games follow rules: constitutive, regulative and strategic. The structure of the game uses ideas of syntegration by Beer, and reinterprets them in a scenario of experimentation called the Cybernetics of Cybernetics course. In the game, each participant experiences the world which constitutes the game and the role of the observer in observing. Some final remarks discuss the use, advantages and limitations of the methodology proposed.
Cobern W. W. (1993) Contextual constructivism: The impact of culture on the learning and teaching of science. In: Tobin K. (ed.) The practice of constructivism in science education. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale NJ: 51–69. https://cepa.info/3053
Excerpt: The construction of new knowledge takes place at a construction site consisting of existing structures standing on a foundation. In other words, construction takes place in a context – a cultural context created by, for example, social and economic class, religion, geographical location, ethnicity, and language. This chapter begins by setting the concept of contextual constructivism within the historical development of constructivist theory and then examining the types of questions suggested by contextual constructivism. Those questions are then placed in the context of an anthropological world view theory. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the necessity of qualitative research techniques for contextual constructivist research.
Frick M.-L. (2019) Reflecting and Explicating Biases in Social Research Is not a Self-Serving Enterprise but Should Lead to Reliable Knowledge. Constructivist Foundations 15(1): 43–44. https://cepa.info/6159
Open peer commentary on the article “A Proposal for Personalised and Relational Qualitative Religious Studies Methodology” by Philip Baron. Abstract: Philip Baron’s proposals for personalized qualitative research, although not entirely novel, are worth considering. He fails, however, in clarifying their relation to the overall aims of scientific research.
Hjorth A. & Wilensky U. (2019) Studying Conceptual Change in Classrooms: Using Association Rule Mining to Detect Changes in Students’ Explanations of the Effects of Urban Planning and Social Policy. Constructivist Foundations 14(3): 272–283. https://cepa.info/6034
Context: Conceptual developments in our understanding of knowledge are merging with machine-learning methods for making sense of data. This creates new, and interesting ways in which we can document and analyse knowledge, and conceptual change. Problem: Currently, the study of conceptual change is often limited to small sample sizes because of the laborious nature of existing, purely qualitative approaches. Method: We present Association Rule Mining to better measure and understand changes in students’ thinking at the classroom level, based on data collected while implementing a constructionist learning activity in a US college classroom. Association Rule Mining is used on a set of qualitatively coded student responses. We then look at changes in the association rules between students’ responses before and after a learning activity to better understand students’ conceptual change at the classroom level. Results: We find that students converge on a more complete and accurate set of causal claims in their post-responses. Finding these changes would have been difficult or impossible without Association Rule Mining, or a similar approach. This suggests that Association Rule Mining is a potentially fruitful approach to analysing conceptual change at the classroom level. Implications: Adding Association Rule Mining to the arsenal of computational qualitative methods will let us study student data of larger sizes than previously. Constructivist content: Association Rule Mining is agnostic with regard to the ontology of its data. This makes Association Rule Mining a particularly suitable analysis method when taking a constructivist view of learning
Hyde B. (2020) Constructivist and constructionist epistemologies in a globalised world: Clarifying the constructs [Constructivism]. In: Zajda J. (ed.) Globalisation, ideology and education reforms. Globalisation, Comparative Education and Policy Research, vol 20. Springer, Dordrecht: 125–138. https://cepa.info/7274
This chapter sets out to provide conceptual clarity around these two epistemological stances by comparing constructivism with constructionism in relation to three particular categories – (1) their origins and epistemological premises, (2) their ontologies, and (3) their purposes. It then proceeds to articulate some implications concerning the use of each epistemology to contribute to research in the field of education and to the notion of globalisation more generally. It notes in particular the positive contribution of constructionism in bringing about educational reforms and in taking a critical view towards the taken-for-granted notion of globalisation discourses. It shows how constructionism can make a positive contribution to research agendas that seek to bring about educational reform to improve the quality of teaching and learning and contribute to the betterment of societies precisely because it questions the very notions of globalisation, competitive market forces and the universalising of markets and production. Constructionist pedagogies may then be discerned and implemented as the result of the correct alignment of the theoretical perspective, research methodology and data collecting strategies with the constructionist epistemology. In making the important distinction between constructivism and constructionism, this chapter makes a significant contribution to the refinement of theories of knowledge, and to their usage in qualitative research in education to bring about improved learning and teaching to contribute positively to the betterment of societies in a globalised world.
Jayasinghe K. (2021) Constructing constructivism in management accounting education: Reflections from a teaching cycle with innovative learning elements. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management 18(2): 282–309.
Purpose: This study aims to address the possibility of integrating some elements of the “radical constructivist” approach to management accounting teaching. It answers the following two questions: to what extent should management accounting educators construct a “radical constructivist” foundation to guide active learning? Then, in which ways can management accounting educators use qualitative methods to facilitate “radical constructivist” education? Design/methodology/approach – The study uses a teaching cycle that implements innovative learning elements, e.g. learning from ordinary people, designed following the principles of “radical constructivism”, to engage students with “externalities” at the centre of their knowledge construction. It adopts an ethnographic approach comprising interviews and participant observation for the data collection, followed by the application of qualitative content and narrative analysis of the data. Findings: The study findings and reflections illustrate that the majority of students respond positively to radical constructivist learning if the educators can develop an innovative problem-solving and authentic environment that is close to their real lives. The radical constructivist teaching cycle discussed in this study has challenged the mindsets of the management accounting students as it altered the traditional objectivist academic learning approaches that students were familiar with. Its use of qualitative methods facilitated active learning. Student feedback was sought as part of the qualitative design, which provided a constructive mechanism for the students and educators to learn and unlearn from their mistakes. This process enriched the understanding of learners (students) and educators of successful engagement in radical constructivist management accounting education and provides a base upon which to design future teaching cycles. Originality/value – The paper provides proof of the ability of accounting educators, as change agents, to apply radical constructivist epistemology combined with multiple qualitative research methods by creating new constructive learning structures and cultures associated with innovative deep-learning tasks in management accounting education.
In nurse education typically, information is presented to students within the classroom and then applied within a clinical situation. Acquisition of the knowledge required to inform the student’s early practice is the focus of this research. This paper centres upon the construction of a cognitive model that is recursive in nature, and forms an integral part of a qualitative research study. The primary study investigated how first year student nurses use the information received in the classroom to underpin their early practice. Data were collected from 10 students and 4 of their lecturers, via blogs and interviews and used iteratively to create a model that is recursive in nature. Recursion is a process of repeatedly revisiting the same thing, in this case the data, which are considered in an iterative or progressive way. Recursion thus facilitated the development of a model, which was seen to change and develop in sophistication as more data were considered and evaluated. Visual devices were used throughout to bring clarity during the construction of the model. This visual process was pivotal to the analysis. This paper chronicles the development of an analytical device through the medium of the study presented. Viable knowledge is represented as the synthesis of concepts, as presented in the classroom, and practice, as experienced within the clinical area. It illustrates how conceptual material delivered within the classroom has become embedded within an individual student’s consciousness and is used during a clinical placement to make sense of a specific situation. The study identifies how students use information and makes recommendations as to how appropriate curricula integrate all the facets of the recursive model. The process of recursive modelling is thus offered as an analytical devise, which may be applied by researchers to other qualitative data.
Examining a number of recently developed methods for acquiring first-person data on consciousness, we detect a lack of sensitivity for distinguishing the experiential moments in which the experiencing person was reflectively attending to her ongoing experience. In order to address this gap, we introduce a novel research format for obtaining data on lived experience, combining random sampling of experience with a subsequent retrospective examination of acquired samples in the form of dialogical phenomenological inquiry. The proposed approach aims at the examination of reflectively observed experiential moments and is based on researchers’ iterative cultivation of the phenomenological attitude. Drawing upon results from a longitudinal study of the potential of meditation as a tool for examining consciousness, we address the epistemological and methodological challenges of the proposed approach, discuss its applicability and research potential, as well as examine the characteristics and validity of phenomenal data thus acquired.
Lewicki D. (1993) The effects of a constructivist method of instruction in general chemistry laboratory on college students’ achievement and conceptual change. In: Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics. Cornell University, Ithaca, 1–4 August 1993. Misconceptions Trust, Ithaca NY: **MISSING PAGES**. https://cepa.info/7245
Excerpt: It is argued that laboratory experiences may be a worthwhile or essential aspect of science education, but the literature relating to research in this area does not always support these assumptions. While the laboratory may have value for nurturing positive student attitudes and for providing opportunities for students of all abilities to demonstrate skills and techniques (Bates, 1978), it appears that students fare no better with a laboratory experience than without one in developing understanding of chemistry (Novak, 1984)