Lovitts, Piantanida & Garman

The story of the rampaging doc student was a bit too tabloid style for my taste. Anyone can make a point with a big sledge hammer, but it is possible to be more subtle than referring to an abnormal case of a doc student with mental health issues. The bulk of the article seems like a review of Ed psych literature on intelligence, as applied to doctoral studies. I found it helpful as a review of Sternberg’s theory, and lamented once again education’s neglect of practical and creative intelligence.
The section on creativity seemed limited to me. The design class we took with Dr. Lisa had a lot on creativity and the spark of inspiration. With creativity often comes talk of innovation as well. I read an article by Lubienski that looked at innovation in charter schools. He found none, because innovation (and creativity) requires safety (in the form of tenure, maybe) and the freedom to fail. That kind of gets to the diagram they have at the end: the system within which doc students work can determine all of the individual factors mentioned. It’s funny to me that the type of advisor was the main aspect of environment discussed. I have managed to not have advisors for most of my academic and professional career, but in LEEDS I have sought the advice from ALL of the professors. I need all the advice I can get! :)
Piantanida and Garman
I really like the way they begin. I always told my Spanish students that there was no such thing as practicing Spanish, just speaking it. But speaking requires study when you don’t know any words, context, or culture. So I like the idea of “stance of study.”
Last semester I took a course called hydrological monitoring and one of the topics was the difference between modeling for scientific understanding and modeling for decision-making. The difference is just like what P and G point out on p. 4: there are times when solutions to problems must be found and implemented (stance of doing). The goals and processes of doing and scientific modeling for decision making related to hydrology run counter to the goals and processes of the stance of study and modeling for scientific understanding.
Time, and as P and G point out, will to study, can be the hurdles that prevent people from gaining either a full characterization of a water system issue or a highly developed qualitative study. I think the term characterization can fit nicely for both scientific modeling and qualitative research: while qualitative researchers might acknowledge that full characterization is not possible, they might accept “characterization” because of its potential literary meaning. The drawbacks of the two processes are quite different. With scientific modeling, it is often the case that full characterization leads to atomization of the elements–scientists can end up missing the forest for the trees. The drawback of a full characterization in a qualitative research project is the amount of time it would require could be so long that the object/s of study no longer exist in the same form. I don’t mean to imply the study will not bear important lessons, only that a sequel will already need to be written upon the study’s completion. P & G’s talk of deliberation also points to the possibility that the qualitative researcher will simply abandon the project.
As far as puddles go, I’ve worked my way through some puddles, but still don’t feel 100% to the golden means they describe. I have both practices (interventions?) and substantive issues of justice at play in my dissertation topic.

2 thoughts on “Lovitts, Piantanida & Garman

  1. Good point – and it reminds me of how it’s impossible to ever have the “full truth” or “full picture” of any environment we are studying – by the time we documented everything, everything would have changed.

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