1 Teadusmetodoloogia

Jack Holbrook
Visiting professor,
University of Tartu
What is teadusmetoloogia in
Philosophy of science
Science of methodology
Or simply - Research methods?
Important for PhD students
Can we agree that what is important for PhD students in
Education is to:
Publish articles on an area of educational research.
Develop research proposals in the field of Education.
Write a thesis on educational research.
And hence we need teadusmetodologia.
Our Problem
And for this we need:
A) to understand what others are saying
B) make ourselves understood
We need to be part of the research community
And for that we need a background in the research
(educational area)
What is research and what is expected?
Is it empirical?
Is it theoretical?
Whatever it is, it is ORIGINAL
This means there is a need to show it differs from the work
of others. And for that there is a need to show what others
have done/said/theorised.
How does teadusmetoloogia
The idea is that we can reflect on what we are
Irrespective of whether it is quantitative, or
Irrespective of whether it is natural science or
social science.
And assuming there is a method, is there a link
with science?
Philosophy of science
CENTRAL CONCEPTS of science: (natural or social)
• Observation
• Experiment
• Problem solving
• Hypothesis
• Laws
• Theory
• Model
• Explanation
But so we need more about our belief in science?
Positivist Belief
Science is nature and nature is science. From this all theories
and postulates evolve and are applied.
The focus is science as a product, a set of statements.
Science involves the unity of science. There is, underlying the
scientific disciplines, basically one science about one real world.
An insistence on at least some of these statements being
testable, amenable to being verified, confirmed, or falsified by the
empirical observation of reality.
Science is markedly cumulative and predominantly transcultural.
Science rests on specific results that are dissociated from the
personality and social position of the investigator.
Science has theories or research traditions that are largely
Where does positivism lead us?
Science is the truth
Observation leads to explanation and prediction.
We can deduce the truth!
We are able to eliminate false assumptions
A story
It is a hot afternoon. Location - the living room in an old Victorian mansion.
The 7-foot (2m) window is open and curtains are blowing in the breeze
generated by a thunderstorm that just passed.
On the floor lie the bodies of Bill and Monica. They are surrounded by
puddles of water and broken glass. Please try to picture the scene. Now
change the picture. Neither Bill nor Monica has any clothing on.
How did they die?
Answer: They suffocated. The storm winds blew open the window, which
knocked their fish bowl off the table, and it crashed onto the floor.
False assumption: That Bill and Monica are human. They are actually
Another story
A man is walking down the street, sees a bar and enters.
He asks the bartender for a glass of water. The bartender
pulls out a gun and points it at him. The man says “Thank
you” and leaves the bar.
What happened?
Answer: The man who asked for the glass of water had
the hiccups. The bartender pulled the gun to scare the
hiccups away.
False Assumption: That the bartender pulled the gun in
order to kill the man
And another
A woman leaves home and makes three left turns.
She returns home again. On the way, she passed two women
with masks.
Who were the two women?
Answer: The umpire and the catcher.
False Assumption: That the woman was walking on city
streets. She really is on a baseball field
Story 5
Two train tracks run parallel to each other, except for a short
distance where they meet and become one track over a
narrow bridge. One morning, a train speeds onto the bridge.
Another train coming from the opposite direction, also
speeds onto the bridge. Neither train can stop on the short
bridge, yet there is no collision. How is this possible?
Answer: The trains were crossing the bridge at different
times of the morning.
False Assumption: Sounds like the two trains had arrived
there at the same time; it was just the same morning.
Exploring the nature of
• What is the scientific way?
• What is the relationship between the
scientific way and research ?
Process of Science
Science as a process involves
• Identifying the Question
• Creating Hypotheses
• Undertaking Observations/collecting Data
• Drawing Inferences
• Interpreting the Inferences/developing
• Drawing Conclusions
Process of Research
Research involves
• Identifying the Question
• Creating Hypotheses
• Undertaking Observations/Collecting Data
• Drawing Inferences
• Interpreting the Inferences/Developing
• Drawing Conclusions
Nature of Education Research
Education Research (whether quantititative or
qualitative) involves
• Identifying the question
• Creating Hypotheses/Making Predictions
• Undertaking Observations/Collecting Data
• Drawing Inferences
• Interpreting the Inferences/Developing
• Drawing Conclusions
Ideas on science from
John Dewey
• Education is a Science
• The important thing is to discover those traits (by virtue
of which) various fields are labelled scientific.
• What are the ways, by means of which, the function of
education in all its branches and phases, selection of
material for the curriculum, methods of instruction and
discipline, organization and administration of schools,
can be conducted, with systematic increase of intelligent
control and understanding?
• How can educational activities become, to a less degree,
products of routine, tradition, accident and transitory
accidental influences?
• From what sources shall we draw so that there shall be
steady and cumulative growth of intelligent, communicable
insight and power of direction?
• Even in the things conventionally recognized as science, the
insights of unusual persons remain important and there is no
levelling down to a uniform procedure.
• But the existence of science gives common efficacy to the
experiences of the genius; it makes it possible for the results
of special power to become part of the working equipment of
other inquirers, instead of perishing as they arose.
• The existence of scientific method protects us also from a
danger that attends the operations of men of unusual power;
dangers of slavish imitation partisanship, and such jealous
devotion to them as to get in the way of further progress.
• Anybody can notice today that the effect of an original and
powerful teacher is not all to the good.
• Those influenced by him often show a one-sided interest;
they tend to form schools, and to become impervious to
other problems and truths; they incline to swear by the
words of their master.
• Observation also shows that these results happen oftenest
in those subjects in which scientific method is least
• Beyond science
• An investigator found that girls between the ages of eleven
and fourteen mature more rapidly than boys of the same
age. From this fact, or presumed fact, he drew the inference
that during these years, boys and girls should be separated
for purposes of instruction. He converted an intellectual
finding into an immediate rule of school practice.
• That the conversion was rash, few would deny. The
reason is obvious. School administration and instruction is a
much more complex operation than was the one factor
contained in the scientific result. The significance of one
factor for educational practice can be determined only as it
is balanced with many other factors.
Role of Thought
Galileo first performed an experiment in thought, leading him to
the hypothesis that the time of falling bodies is proportional to the
square of the space traversed.
His conception of what was measured, namely a generalization
about relations of space, time and motion as the true objects of
physical measurement, gave his measurements scientific status.
Without these ideas he would not have known what to measure.
Nor would he have known the meaning of his measurements
after they were made; they would have remained mere
intellectual curiosities.
It was also his preliminary hypotheses framed by thought which
gave revolutionary import to his measurements of rolling balls.
Educational science (research) cannot be constructed simply by
borrowing the techniques of experiment and measurement found
in physical science.
This could happen only if some way had been found by which
mental or psychological phenomena are capable of statement
in terms of units of space, time, motion, and mass.
Nor have we as yet any other general hypotheses in the light of
which to know what we are measuring and by which we can
interpret results, place them in a system and lead on to fruitful
indirect measurements.
There is a tendency to assume that we are getting the material of
a science of education merely because the techniques of older,
better established sciences are borrowed and used.
The net conclusion of our discussion is that the final reality of
educational science (research) is not found in books, nor in
experimental laboratories, nor in the class-rooms where it is
taught, but in the minds of those engaged in directing
educational activities.
Results may be scientific, short of their operative presence in the
attitudes and habits of observation, judgment and planning of
those engaged in the educative act.
But they are not educational science short of this point. They are
psychology, sociology, statistics, or whatever.
Educational practices furnish the material that sets the problems
of such a science, while sciences already developed to a fair
state of maturity are the sources from which material is derived
to deal intellectually with these problems.
There is no more a special independent science of education
than there is of bridge making.
But material drawn from other sciences furnishes the content of
educational science when it is focused on the problems that
arise in education.
There is another connection between educational practices which
set problems and the sciences that are sources of material for
dealing with them.
The objection to arm-chair science is not that thinking is done in
The objection is to the remoteness of the thinking which is done
from the original source of intellectual supplies. This remoteness
may exist in work done in laboratories as well as in the armchair
of the study.
It is found whenever there is lack of vital connection between the
fieldwork practice and the research work.
Write an essay on Educational Research – a
science or an art?
In your essay
• Reflect on the Nature of Science and what
is scientific about Educational Research?
• What are the dangers of seeing educational
research as a science?
and nature of educational
Nature of Education Research
Education Research is about developing
a research question(s) relevant to the
situation (questions controlled to fit the
situation/concern/phenomena) and then
seeking for valid and reliable evidence
to answer the research question(s).
Is evidence the truth?
• What we see is not necessarily real.
• Science shows that optical illusions do
• Observations are thus subject to personal
ways of observing. In some cases these
observations may differ.
Is this physically possible?
How many f’s ?
Can you supply an answer within 5 seconds?
Finished files are the result
of years of scientific study
combined with the experience
of years...
• Does the Nature of Science relate to
plausible inference?
• And thus does Educational Research
demand meaningful inferences?
Crime against Plants
Crime scene investigation to explain past
• Science deals with natural patterns and
• Scientific knowledge is uncertain, tentative and
subject to revision.
• But does it provide insights into educational
Who’s got the theory?
• A "theory"-evaluation activity.
• A set of 5 scenarios (proposed
explanations for how diverse life came into
existence on Earth) is put forward
• Each theory is discussed based on its
From Nature of Science to Educational Research
• Human values and personal feelings can
deeply influence science in determining
the questions to be asked and the criteria
used for choosing among different ideas.
• Science can only deal with natural
explanations (not the supernatural).
Let’s consider some theories
Your task – which are acceptable?
Guidelines for Evaluating the Theories
1. Try to identify the problem/question the theories are attempting
to explain.
6. Give the major strengths and weaknesses of each theory, as
discussed by the group.
3. Are there elements in the theories that are untestable? In other
words, are there elements for which you cannot think of a way
to design an (experiment/research methodology) that would
produce data to support or refute the element in question?
4. Are there any elements in the theories that seem to be in
disagreement with currently accepted “facts”?
5. Which theory could be correct? Give the major reasons for your
• Life has always existed.
• The life forms presently on the planet are the ones that have
always existed.
• There is an immutability to life (life does not change).
• All biological types remain the same through time.
• Man is at the apex of this static ladder of nature.
• There is a fixed hierarchical order to life.
• There is a “Great Chain of Being” that extends unchanged and
unbroken from the beginning of time to now.
• Some lower life forms may spontaneously arise, if proper
conditions exist.
• No life forms have ever become extinct.
• Fossils are merely chance aberrations in rocks.
• Nature is simply the monotonous and eternal recurrence of the
same things.
Life originated as an act of divine intervention.
Life forms continue to arise by spontaneous generation.
There is a “Vital Force” that drives the formation of life.
Within each living group, there is an inherent perfecting power.
In the animal group, this perfecting power slowly and
continuously directs the evolution of the group towards the
human type.
• Man evolved from an orangutan-like hominoid somewhere in
the vastness of Asia.
• Species are not fixed, but are changeable.
• Species change in slow, gradual steps, never in sudden leaps.
• There are two basic laws which govern these changes:
(see next slide)
THEORY B contd
11. In every animal which has not passed the limit of its
development, a more frequent and continuous use of any organ
gradually strengthens, develops, and enlarges that organ, and
gives it a power proportional to the time it has been so used;
while the permanent disuse of any organ imperceptibly
weakens and deteriorates it, and progressively diminishes its
functional capacity, until it finally disappears.
2. All the acquisitions or losses wrought by nature on individuals,
through the influence of the environment in which their race has
long been placed, and hence through the influence of the
predominant use or the permanent disuse or any organ, all
these are preserved by reproduction to the new individuals
which arise, provided that the acquired modifications are
common to both sexes, or at least to the individuals which
produce young.
• Evolution, therefore, is the gradual change of species as a
result of accumulated acquired modifications.
Water is the basic stuff of the cosmos.
Life first appeared in water.
A primordial slime formed in the waters of the Earth.
The primitive oceans of the Earth were filled with preformed,
free-floating organs.
These organs came together haphazardly, by chance, to form
Most of the resulting organisms were monstrosities and
perished in the struggle for existence.
Some of the organisms were successful in survival and
reproduction, giving rise to the organisms presently here.
Fossils are proof of the monstrosities which failed to survive.
Life forms first developed in water and then moved onto the
Plants formed first, then animals.
The line leading to man moved through a fish-like stage.
• The origin of life is unknown, but life is certainly very old.
• At its core, there is a basic sameness to all life.
• All organisms tend to increase their population numbers at a
geometric rate. Over many generations, however, the number
of individuals in a species tends to remain constant.
• There must, therefore, be a struggle for survival in which some
individuals die or in other ways are prevented from reaching
their full reproductive potential.
• Variations (some of which may be inherited) are found among
the individuals in each species.
• Some variations are favourable to an organism and help it to
survive and reproduce abundantly.
• Surviving organisms pass their hereditary variations to their
• In time, great differences arise, until a new species evolves
from an old species.
• Evolution is, therefore, the change of species as a result of the
natural selection of favourable variations in inherited
• Physical events can have non-physical causes.
• Life resulted from a single act of creation by a divine being.
• Each of the major kinds of plants and animals was created
functionally complete from the beginning, and did not evolve
from some other kind of organism.
• Changes in basic kinds since their creation are limited to
“horizontal” changes (variations) within the kinds, or
“downward” changes (e.g., harmful mutations, extinction).
• The processes used by the Creator are no longer operating
anywhere in the universe.
• Processes today operate primarily within fixed natural laws;
however, there is always the possibility of miraculous
intervention in these processes by their Creator.
• There is strong scientific evidence to indicate that most of the
earth’s fossil-bearing sediments were formed in a recent global
hydraulic cataclysm.
• The Bible is infallible and completely authoritative on all matters
with which it deals; it is free from error of any sort, scientific and
historical as well as moral and theological.

similar documents