Definitions

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Dr. Hughes
TEDU 732
Spring 2013
TEDU 732: (Loose) Glossary of Terms
Constructionism (Social): knowledge is constructed by, for, and in between members of
a community; history and culture are part of the social context as well (associated more
with Vygotsky)
Constructivism (Social): new knowledge is constructed internally with little or no
influence from social context (associated more with Piaget)
Discourse: unit of language organized around a particular subject matter and meaning;
signifies a particular awareness of social influences on language;i
…from a poststructural perspective, discourse communicates the social relatedness of the
human world, and more specifically, our social relatedness as inscribed in and expressed
through language.ii
Epistemology: The study of the nature of knowledge; what kinds of knowledge are
possible
Ideology: set of beliefs characteristic of a social group; system of ideas and ideals, which
forms the basis of economic or political theory and policyiii
Ontology: The study of the nature of existence or being; the structures of reality
Objectivism: truth and meaning are independent of any consciousness; things have
intrinsic meanings to be discovered or revealed by inquiry…researchers report little about
themselves or their relationships to those in the setting. Participants are foregrounded,
and self as researcher is backgrounded.iv
Paradigm: a collection of rules, domain assumptions, theories, discourses, and values
that govern and shape a discipline at a particular historical moment…a general mind-set
or perspective which dictates, for example, in which directions research might go, what
constitutes legitimate knowledge, and who is a legitimate speaker for the fieldv
Positivism: basis of “positive science” (ie, that which is posited) lie in “direct experience”
of “what is observed” via “scientific method”; investigator and investigated object are
assumed to be independent entities; knowledge is factual; objectivist epistemology (truth
and meaning reside in objects); scientific knowledge is accurate and certain (as opposed
to opinions and feelings); replicable findings are “true”; reality is value-neutral,
ahistorical, and cross cultural; “real” properties can be measured, counted, and quantified;
importance of objectivity, validity, and generalizability attributed to findingsvi
Post-Positivism: research outcomes are neither totally objective nor unquestionably
certain; claims to validity are tentative and qualified; observer affects what is being
observed—she is not detached; scientific findings are forever tentative; questioning of
objectivity and value-free neutrality; reality is assumed to exist but to be imperfectly
Dr. Hughes
TEDU 732
Spring 2013
grasped because of basically flawed humans (bias, etc.); science is produced in cultural
and political contextsvii
Text: the concept of text implies a specific piece of writing, and much more broadly,
social reality itself.viii
Theoretical Perspective: the philosophical stance informing the methodology, thus
providing context for the process and grounding of its logic and criteria.ix
Subjectivism: knower imposes meaning on the known; the known plays little role here;
knower uses past experience, dreams, or other sources to attribute meaning to the known.
Data gathered during research cannot be separated from the researchers’ selves and is
inextricably linked to the perspectives of the researchers, who are the only instruments of
data collection. Rather than seeking single meaning, researchers explore multiple,
contradictory, and multilayered meanings inherent in a setting or event.x
i
http://csmt.uchicago.edu/glossary2004/discourse.htm
From Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 2008
iii
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ideology
iv
Preissle and Grant, 2004, in deMarris and Lapan (Eds.). 2004
v
From Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 2008
vi
Crotty, 1998
vii
Crotty, 1998
viii
From Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery, & Taubman, 2008
ix
Crotty, 1998, p. 3
x
Preissle and Grant, 2004, in deMarris and Lapan (2004)
ii
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