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Towards epistemic and interpretative holism: A critique of methodological approches in research on learning
Stockholms universitet.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-8772-0195
2017 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

Abstract

The central concern of this thesis is to discuss interpretations of learning in educational research. A point of departure is taken in core epistemological and ontological assumptions informing three major approaches to learning: behaviourism, cognitive constructivism and socioculturalism. It is argued that all three perspectives provide important insights into research on learning, but each alone runs the risk of reducing learning and interpretations of learning to single aspects. Specific attention is therefore given to Intentional Analysis, as it has been developed to account for sociocultural aspects that influence learning and individual cognition. It is argued that interpretations of learning processes face challenges, different kinds of holism, underdetermination and the complexity of intentionality, that need to be accounted for in order to make valid interpretations. Interpretation is therefore also discussed in light of philosopher Donald Davidson’s theories of knowledge and interpretation. It is suggested that his theories may provide aspects of an ontological and epistemological stance that can form the basis for interpretations of learning in educational research. A first brief sketch, referred to as ‘epistemic holism’, is thus drawn. The thesis also exemplifies how such a stance can inform empirical research. It provides a first formulation of research strategies – a so-called ‘interpretative holism’. The thesis discusses what such a stance may imply with regard to the nature and location of knowledge and the status of the learning situation. Ascribing meaning to observed behaviour, as it is described in this thesis, implies that an action is always an action under a specific description. Different descriptions may not be contradictory, but if we do not know the learner’s language use, we cannot know whether there is a difference in language or in beliefs. It is argued that the principle of charity and reference to saliency, that is, what appears as the figure for the learner, may help us decide. However, saliency does not only appear as a phenomenon in relation to physical objects and events, but also in the symbolic world, thus requires that the analysis extend beyond the mere transcription of an interview or the description of an observation. Hence, a conclusion to be drawn from this thesis is that the very question of what counts as data in the interpretation of complex learning processes is up for discussion.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2017. , s. 94
Serie
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik ; 1
Emneord [en]
interpretation of learning, Intentional Analysis, conceptual change, epistemic holism, interpretative holism, principle of charity, salient features
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33921ISBN: 978-91-7649-755-5 (digital)ISBN: 978-91-7649-754-8 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-33921DiVA, id: diva2:1166952
Disputas
2017-05-29, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, Stockholm, 10:00 (svensk)
Opponent
Veileder
Forskningsfinansiär
Swedish Research CouncilTilgjengelig fra: 2017-12-18 Laget: 2017-12-17 Sist oppdatert: 2017-12-18bibliografisk kontrollert
Delarbeid
1. The contextuality of knowledge: an intentional approach to meaning making and conceptual change
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>The contextuality of knowledge: an intentional approach to meaning making and conceptual change
2008 (engelsk)Inngår i: International handbook of research on conceptual change / [ed] Stella Vosniadou, New York: Routledge, 2008, s. 509-532Kapittel i bok, del av antologi (Annet vitenskapelig)
sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
New York: Routledge, 2008
Emneord
Begreppsbildning, Inlärning
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-12539 (URN)978-0-8058-6044-3 (ISBN)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2011-10-25 Laget: 2011-10-25 Sist oppdatert: 2017-12-18bibliografisk kontrollert
2. Cognitive conflict: Actions taken in the process of conceptual change
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Cognitive conflict: Actions taken in the process of conceptual change
2010 (engelsk)Rapport (Fagfellevurdert)
Abstract [en]

Conceptual change is described as a multifaceted process involving restructuring and reorganization of already embraced beliefs. Twenty-nine preschool children were interviewed about their conceptions of the earth every year from the year they were four to the year they were six years of age. For the children the incentive for changing ideas about the earth was their processing of incoherencies.  The children processed a lot of conflicting information. However, there does not appear to be any major conflict that causes the process of conceptual change to occur. This process is affected by incoherencies revealed in a relation between three entities, that is, two or more different facts or conceptions that conflict when related to one specific context. Conceptual change involves a simultaneous processing of information and complex conceptions, on the one hand, and revisions and changes at a model level on the other.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2010. s. 25
Serie
NERW Nordic Educational Research Working paper series ; 28/10/2010
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-12629 (URN)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2011-10-27 Laget: 2011-10-27 Sist oppdatert: 2017-12-18bibliografisk kontrollert
3. Conceptions and Contexts: On the Interpretation of Interview and Observational Data
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Conceptions and Contexts: On the Interpretation of Interview and Observational Data
2007 (engelsk)Inngår i: Educational psychologist, ISSN 0046-1520, E-ISSN 1532-6985, Vol. 42, s. 25-40Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

Research within a constructivist approach often relies on interview data, which are used to reveal beliefs held by the interviewee or to expose conceptions or conceptual structures that are supposed to reside within the interviewee. From a sociocultural perspective, severe criticism has been leveled against the neglect of the problems of inferring conceptions held by a participant from what is uttered in an interview. Utterances should be looked upon as cultural tools used to realize discursive practices, rather than as propositions mirroring mental entities. It is argued that the clinical interview, often used by constructivists, disregards the impact of a situation and discursive norms with regard to what is uttered in a conversation. Here, it is argued that by taking into account an interviewee’s conceptions of the situation, as well as of the subject matter being talked about, some sort of a bridge between the methodological standpoints of constructivism and sociocultural theory can be formed. It is proposed that utterances should be regarded as actions, and thus the problem of ascribing meanings to behavior is in focus, that is, how a series of behaviors can be regarded as an intentional action. It is argued that by means of such an approach, it is possible to make inferences about conceptions and conceptual structures much in the same way as is done in research on conceptual change. However, this means that utterances cannot just be “read off.” The interviewee’s aims, conceptions of the subject matter talked about, as well as the interviewee’s conceptions of the situation to hand must be taken into account. A reinterpretation of data reported by Andrea diSessa and Bruce Sherin is used as an illustration.

HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-12536 (URN)10.1080/00461520709336916 (DOI)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2011-10-25 Laget: 2011-10-25 Sist oppdatert: 2017-12-18bibliografisk kontrollert
4. Making meaning of historical evidence: The variety of salient features in a shared activity
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Making meaning of historical evidence: The variety of salient features in a shared activity
(engelsk)Manuskript (preprint) (Annet vitenskapelig)
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Annat forskningsområde
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-33920 (URN)
Merknad

As manuscript in dissertation.

Tilgjengelig fra: 2017-12-17 Laget: 2017-12-17 Sist oppdatert: 2017-12-18bibliografisk kontrollert

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