ERIC Number: ED328228
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Marrow Bone Thinking: A Plea for Strengthened Qualitative Research in Distance Education.
Burge, Elizabeth J.
This report discusses the nature of research in the context of distance education and suggests that qualitative research be included as a research methodology for distance education research. Noting that qualitative research represents a shift toward more perceptual, context-embedded interpretive inquiry, the paper argues that it is well suited to the study of complex contextual factors in learning. Three overarching qualitative issues are discussed: (1) the application of traditional criteria such as validity, reliability, and objectivity; (2) coping with sexist biases in everyday and research settings; and (3) coping with apparently chaotic, incomprehensible findings. Five arguments in support of temporary understanding through qualitative research are reviewed, including individual differences, chaos theory, the evolutional character of development and learning, the roles of consciousness and free will in human activity, and quantum mechanics theory. It is concluded that qualitative research is necessary to gather and interpret people's multiple constructions of reality. (86 references) (DB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at a Conference on Research in Distance Education (Caracas, Venezuela, November 2-4, 1990).