Design-based research studies are conducted as iterative implementation-analysis-modification cycles, in which emerging theoretical models and pedagogically plausible activities are reciprocally tuned toward each other as a means of investigating conjectures pertaining to mechanisms underlying content teaching and learning. Yet this approach, even when resulting in empirically effective educational products, remains under-conceptualized as long as researchers cannot be explicit about their craft and specifically how data analyses inform design decisions. Consequentially, design decisions may appear arbitrary, design methodology is insufficiently documented for broad dissemination, and design practice is inadequately conversant with learning-sciences perspectives. One reason for this apparent under-theorizing, I propose, is that designers do not have appropriate constructs to formulate and reflect on their own intuitive responses to students’ observed interactions with the media under development. Recent socio-cultural explication of epistemic artifacts as semiotic means for mathematical learners to objectify presymbolic notions (e.g., Radford, Mathematical Thinking and Learning 5(1): 37–70, 2003) may offer design-based researchers intellectual perspectives and analytic tools for theorizing design improvements as responses to participants’ compromised attempts to build and communicate meaning with available media. By explaining these media as potential semiotic means for students to objectify their emerging understandings of mathematical ideas, designers, reciprocally, create semiotic means to objectify their own intuitive design decisions, as they build and improve these media. Examining three case studies of undergraduate students reasoning about a simple probability situation (binomial), I demonstrate how the semiotic approach illuminates the process and content of student reasoning and, so doing, explicates and possibly enhances design-based research methodology.
Baron P. (2019) A Proposal for Personalised and Relational Qualitative Religious Studies Methodology. Constructivist Foundations 15(1): 28–38. https://cepa.info/6156
Context: For many people, religion and/or spiritual experiences are an important part of their daily lives - shaping their thinking and actions. Studying these experiences relies on qualitative religious studies (RS) research that engages respondents on a deeply personal level. Problem: Researchers are unable to provide an apolitical, value-free approach to research. There lacks a rigorous methodological approach to qualitative RS research that addresses this epistemological obstacle. This is particularly relevant when studying a cohort with radically different beliefs from the researcher. Method: Researcher coupling is presented as a topic that defines the researcher and her participants as a systemic entity. By demonstrating how the researcher’s worldview is tied to her research, an argument for personalised and relational observer-dependent research is presented. Five reflexive questions are proposed as a starting point for personalised research to demonstrate the relational and intersubjective nature of this activity. Results: By linking the researcher to her research and changing the goal of research from independent and objective research to one that is relational and contextual, the scholar can report on her research in an ethical and socially just manner by linking her worldview to her research. Implications: The traditional research activity is redefined as one that should embrace the scholar’s worldview instead of attempting to hide it. The scientific ideals of independence and objectivity are replaced by interdependence and hence a proposal is made for personalised research that embraces the intersubjective nature of this activity. This proposal is meant to alleviate some of the epistemological weaknesses in RS. This paradigm shift promotes rigour as a qualifier for methodology including changes to how research is categorised. Constructivist content: Margaret Mead’s ideas of observer dependence in anthropological research and how the observer constructs her research findings are discussed. The circularity that exists in this relational context is analysed according to Bradford Keeney’s ideas on recursion and resultant future behavioural correction. Ranulph Glanville’s ideas of intersubjectivity and his concept of “in the between” are used as a foundation for the researcher-participant relationship. Ross Ashby’s notion of experimenter coupling is used as a basis for researcher coupling.
Purpose: There is a lack of epistemological considerations in religious studies methodologies, which have resulted in an on-going critique in this field. In addressing this critique, the researcher’s observer effect needs to be actively accounted for owing to the influence of the researcher’s epistemology in the author’s research. This paper aims to answer the question of why a researcher should address one’s epistemology in the research. Design/methodology/approach – Using second-order cybernetics as an approach, observer dependence is exemplified and justified in the context of religious studies research methodology. The research activity is shown as a relational temporal coupling that introduces inter-subjective aspects to the research. The research process is analysed showing the need to provide scope for the researcher’s epistemology in one’s research. Findings: A relational observer-dependent approach to research embraces the epistemology of the researcher and the participants providing equality in the relationship. The research results are thus framed according to the nature of the relationship and are thus not detached. This addresses social justice and reduces troubling truth claims. Research limitations/implications – This first paper focuses on the question of why epistemology should be included in scholarly research. A detailed framework for how scholars may achieve this goal is to be part of the future study and is not presented in this paper. Practical implications: In many positivist approaches there is a motivation to hide the researcher; however, recently there has been a move towards including authors in the first person, realising that science is tied to politics, which does not reach its ideals of objectivity. Cybernetics is presented as an approach to addressing the move from “objective” to “subjective” research. Social implications – Researchers cannot get into the minds of their participants and thus an authorial privileged presentation by the researcher of the participant’s experiences is fraught with epistemological weaknesses. Attempting to own one’s own epistemology could address social justice in research by personalising the research and accounting for the observer effect and the inter-subjective attributes of the research relationship. Originality/value – The principle of observer dependence in cybernetics is not new; however, a research approach that focuses on the nature of knowing and how this may influence one’s research in religious studies is uncommon. It is thus presented here as a viable option to address the critique of epistemologically weak research methodology in religious studies.
Research in mathematics education is a discursive process: It entails the analysis and production of texts, whether in the analysis of what learners say, the use of transcripts, or the publication of research reports. Much research in mathematics education is concerned with various aspects of mathematical thinking, including mathematical knowing, understanding and learning. In this paper, using ideas from discursive psychology, I examine the discursive construction of mathematical thinking in the research process. I focus, in particular, on the role of researchers’ descriptions. Specifically, I examine discursive features of two well-known research papers on mathematical thinking. These features include the use of contrast structures, categorisation and the construction of facts. Based on this analysis, I argue that researchers’ descriptions of learners’ or researchers’ behaviour and interaction make possible subsequent accounts of mathematical thinking.
Notions of embodiment, situatedness, and dynamics are increasingly being debated in cognitive sci ence. However, these debates are often carried out in the absence of concrete examples. In order to build intuition, this paper explores a model agent to illustrate how the perspective and tools of dynam ical systems theory can be applied to the analysis of situated, embodied agents capable of minimally cognitive behavior. Specifically, we study a model agent whose “nervous system” was evolved using a genetic algorithm to catch circular objects and to avoid diamond-shaped ones. After characterizing the performance, behavioral strategy and psychophysics of the best-evolved agent, its dynamics are analyzed in some detail at three different levels: (1) the entire coupled brain/body/environment sys tem; (2) the interaction between agent and environment that generates the observed coupled dynam ics; (3) the underlying neuronal properties responsible for the agent dynamics. This analysis offers both explanatory insight and testable predictions. The paper concludes with discussions of the overall picture that emerges from this analysis, the challenges this picture poses to traditional notions of rep resentation, and the utility of a research methodology involving the analysis of simpler idealized mod els of complete brain/body/environment systems.
Our study underlines the specific study object, the specific normativity and the specific research methodology for constructivist pedagogy. he specific study object of constructivist pedagogy constitutes the difference between the inner system of the one who learns and the external environment objective, natural, community, cultural, civic, political, religious etc., at which the pupil refers to subjectively. The specific normativity of constructivist pedagogy engages four central principles: a) the principle of self-preserving the trainee’s resources; b) the principle of the subjective reporting of the educated to the objective reality; c) the principle of the viable, efficient pedagogic activity / action; d) the principle of subjective valorizing of the objective reality.
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.
Larochelle M. & Désautels J. (2007) Concerning Ernst von Glasersfeld’s Contribution to Intellectual Freedom: One Interpretation, One Example. Constructivist Foundations 2(2-3): 90–97. https://cepa.info/35
Purpose: According to the constructivist perspective tirelessly promoted by Ernst von Glasersfeld for more than 40 years now, the world we see is of a piece with our way of understanding and locating ourselves within it; ultimately, whenever we claim to describe the world-in-itself, we in fact are describing the product of the mapping process that has enabled us to make our way in this world and to actualize our projects within it. Obviously, this kind of perspective has consequences for the way both educational action and research on this theme are conceived of and accomplished. That, at least, is what we shall attempt to show in this article. Implications: In keeping with the claim that knowledges are constituted not in reference to reality “itself” but to practices and activities, constructivism advocates examining cognition in action – that is, in terms of how the latter is enacted in the field. Accordingly, constructivism also seeks to prompt teachers to: (1) scrutinize the processes and distinctions by which students chart out the world; (2) and to personally devise, on the basis of this experience, a model – or models, rather – of their students’ future relationship to the universes of knowledge intended for learning. Likewise, constructivism also aims to prompt researchers to perform some very careful detective work into the ways in which this charting process is played out and thus to opt for a comprehensive rather than an experimentalist approach. Conclusion: To adopt the constructivist perspective also means to “de-siloize” knowledge production and to recognize that this production occurs in all spheres of society. From this point of view, constructivism can thus be viewed as a way of challenging the claims of a certain scientific establishment to alone possess the requisite standing for interpreting the world.
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)
Reid D. A. (1996) Enactivism as a methodology. In: Puig L. & Gutiérrez A. (eds.) Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (PME-20), Volume 4. PME, Valencia: 203–210. https://cepa.info/2519
As research is learning, theories for learning and research methodologies in mathematics education overlap. For the Enactivist Research Group, enactivism is both the theoretical framework and the methodology for our research. Key ideas such as autopoesis, structure determinism, structural coupling, and coemergence are used to make sense of the learning of all participants in research, researchers included. This paper describes these key ideas and enactivist research methodology in mathematics education.