Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Operational Definitions

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post “Operational Definitions” [Hake (2011)].

The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Alan Bender (2011), in a POD post “Open inquiry is bad? (in some intro tech courses),” wrote (paraphrasing) : “I wonder how the terms ‘learning centered’ and ‘instruction centered’ tend to be understood, particularly by those who hear them for the first times. . . . . What definitions for such phrases might promote more thought about paradigms/ideologies?”

In my opinion, “OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS” might promote more thought about paradigms/ideologies and attendant ambiguous phrases such as “learning centered,” “instruction centered,” “active learning,” “direct instruction,” “inquiry,” “open inquiry,” “student centered,” “learning centered,” “discovery,” etc., etc., etc. . . .

See e.g.: “Language Ambiguities in Education Research” [Hake (2008)] at , and “Education Research Employing Operational Definitions Can Enhance the Teaching Art” [Hake (2010)] at

To access the complete 7 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)>

“When we say force is the cause of motion we talk metaphysics, and this definition, if we were content with it, would be absolutely sterile. For a definition to be of any use, it must teach us to *measure* force; moreover, that suffices; it is not at all necessary that it teach us what force is *in itself*, nor whether it is the cause or the effect of motion.”
Henri Poincare (1905)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 22 June 2011.]

Hake, R.R. 2011. “Operational Definitions,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 22 Jun 2011 19:19:14-0700
to POD, AERA-L, and NetGold. The abstract and link to the complete 7 kB post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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