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ERIC Number: EJ834007
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-1074-9039
Genetic Method and Empirical Techniques: Reply to Hatano and Sfard's Commentaries on Cognition in Flux
Saxe, Geoffrey B.; Esmonde, Indigo
Mind, Culture, and Activity, v12 n3-4 p251-257 Jan 2005
Some time ago, Geoffrey Saxe (1994) published an article in "Mind, Culture, and Activity" that invoked a distinction between a method of inquiry and empirical techniques. Techniques are approaches to data gathering like observations, interviews, and surveys, as well as research designs. They are a tool kit for empirical work. Deeply linked to conceptual frames and units of analysis, a method of inquiry is something bigger. A method, like the genetic method outlined in the authors' article, positions the investigator to pursue particular leads while leaving others to remain unexplored, if not unnoticed. It supports an investigator's efforts to parse nature at its joints, given theoretical assumptions about the character of knowledge and knowledge change. The authors' method of inquiry targets forms and functions used in collective practices, with a focus on continuities and discontinuities in processes of micro-, onto-, and sociogenetic change. In the case at hand, the authors set their sights on the lexical expression "fu", using it as a microcosm to unravel some complex issues in culture-cognition relations. Sfard (this issue) and Hatano's (this issue) commentaries spark a host of interesting issues or tensions between the authors' techniques and the authors' genetic method, and in this reply, the authors comment on three: (a) their genetic method and techniques to document naturally occurring conversation; (b) cross-cohort design techniques and what they afford in relation to their method; and (c) epistemological groundings of their method and techniques. In each case, the authors make efforts to clarify issues and in so doing point to productive tensions between methods and techniques in fieldwork. (Contains 2 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A