Thursday, November 1, 2012

Can Education Research Be “Scientific”? What's “Scientific”? (was “in Defense of. . . .”)

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “Can Education Research Be ‘Scientific’? What's ‘Scientific’? (was ‘in Defense of. . . .’)” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In response to my post “In Defense of the NRC’s Scientific Research in Education ” [Hake (2012a)] at [response by Greeno at], PhysLrnR’s Noah Podolefsky (2012) at **** (here and below **. . .** signifies that access may require filling out a form to obtain a Listserv password).

(a) Pointed to articles (1) “Is the National Research Council Committee's Report on Scientific Research in Education Scientific? On Trusting the Manifesto” [Popkewitz (2004)] at ; (2) “Causal Explanation, Qualitative Research, and Scientific Inquiry in Education” [Maxwell (2004)] at; and (3) “A Discourse that Disciplines, Governs, and Regulates: The National Research Council's Report on Scientific Research in Education” [Bloch (2004)] at; stating that “these papers argue that the NRC book is incomplete at best, and at worst a cartoonish caricature of science.”

(b) Implied that the NRC’s report Scientific Research in Education [Shavelson & Towne (2002)] at did not adequately reflect the way science works, a topic discussed in a 14-post thread PhysLrnR thread “Should the History of Science Be Rated X?” of 9-13 July 2012 at ****.

In this post I:

A. Argue that Podolefsky's claim that the articles by Popkewitz, Maxwell, and Bloch show that the NRC's report is (1) “incomplete” has been addressed by the authors of the report, and (2) “at worst a cartoonish caricature of science” is an overstatement.

B. Argue that Podolefsky's apparent implication (please correct me if I'm wrong) that the way science actually works is contrary to the way it's claimed to work in the NRC report is incorrect.

C. Provide a bibliography related to the questions “Can Education Research Be ‘Scientific’?” and “What's ‘Scientific’?”

To access the complete 75 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs:

“It is not enough to observe, experiment, theorize, calculate and communicate; we must also argue, criticize, debate, expound, summarize, and otherwise transform the information that we have obtained individually into reliable, well established, public knowledge.”
- John Ziman (1969): “Information, Communication, Knowledge,” Nature 224 (5217): 324; online at

REFERENCES [URL shortened by and accessed on 01 Nov 2012.]

Hake, R.R. 2012. “Can Education Research Be ‘Scientific’? What’s ‘Scientific’? (was ‘in Defense of. . . .’) ”; online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 31 Oct 2012 19:34:16 -0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

No comments: