Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What is the fundamental Basis of Scientific Thought/Discovery? Implications for the EdD

My work on research methodology talks a lot about the fundamental nature of science and scientific discovery. This is because much of what I read in education about the role of theory and how to interpret the practical implications of research results seems to me to be idealized, narrow, and artificial. Education conceptions of the role of theory and the applications of research outcomes to practice appears to me to have become inbred in our wonderful profession with a rhetoric and philosophy that appears to have evolved in a fashion that is increasingly disjointed from the actual fundamental nature of science. This disjointedness is true for education in general and carries over to how theory, research, and science is presented in EdD programs.

Therefore, in order to understand the real role of theory and quantitative analysis I read a great deal about the fundamental nature of science and scientific discovery as conceived and practiced in the physical and medical sciences—as opposed to relying on prior education research texts and existing discussions about the role of theory in education. As a result, my text on Authentic Quantitative Analysis... has a great deal of original perspective on the role of theory and how to apply quantitative results to leadership practice that differs from existing conventional wisdom in education and in EdD programs.

Right now I am reading one of the most fascinating and unique books on the latest research findings in physics. The book, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli, is unique in that it is short, poetic, and non-technical—and still manages to explain in easy to understand fashion the most important events and ideas in physics about the nature of the universe we exist in. If you want to understand quantum mechanics, Einstein' thought experiments, etc. in a quick and interesting read this is the book for you.

The insight from this book that sparked this post is what the author claims is the fundamental essence that drives scientific discovery. Is it theory? Is it evidence? NO! The author indicates that:

...before experiments, measurements, mathematics, and rigorous deductions, science is above all about visions. Science begins with a vision. Scientific thought is fed by a capacity to "see" things differently differently than they have previously been seen.

This is why Chapter 4 of my text emphasizes the creative and metaphorical nature of scientific discovery and Part II talks about Design-Based Dissertations as an important option in EdD programs. The latter focuses of envisioning and trying new and unique approaches to solving problems regardless of whether they are grounded in existing academic theory or research.  

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