If this post’s title sounds like a blast from the past, well, it is.
I found myself missing eduwonkette’s blog and wondering what was posted on that blog five years ago today. I overstepped; there wasn’t anything five years ago, but four years ago there something was.
It was a post by skoolboy (Aaron Pallas). In it he collegially disputes eduwonkette’s “Iron Law of Qualitative Research in Education:” namely, that the number of participants in the study should exceed the number of authors on the paper. Very funny, he says, but not quite right. He proposes a Platinum Law of Educational Research: “Poorly designed and conceived research is poorly designed and conceived research, regardless of the sample size.”
Both eduwonkette and skoolboy were skeptically eyeing a study of the role of emotions in “socially just teaching.” The study concerned one teacher. Skoolboy explains what, in his view, is wrong with this study—and it isn’t the sample size. It’s the poor reasoning overall: the lack of a theory, the lack of justification for the methodology, and more.
I miss eduwonkette’s and skoollboy’s explications of education research. I also miss their intellectual playfulness. By intellectual playfulness I don’t mean lack of seriousness. I mean, among other things, the zest for turning ideas this way and that.
In education discussion, over the past few years, we’ve gotten a little grimmer, a little more intent on making statements and taking sides. But then again, there are many exceptions (such as Michael E. Lopez, whose posts I have been enjoying). I might be overgrimming things.
In any case, I enjoyed the return to eduwonkette’s blog.