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Plausible Answers to Grounded Theory and Owning One's Knowing

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Grounded Theory and Owning One's Knowing

Answer the following questions in 25 words or less. Readings for the issues can be found on the specified pages.

  1. On p.27 Ann Stanton says of Women's Ways of Knowing that: "Principally, it takes women seriously as thinkers and knowers. rather than impose theories about cognition, the authors begin with their women respondents, listening carefully to how they define powerful learning experiences and go about gathering knowledge and making meaning." This approach is recognized in sociology as grounded theory. In what way is grounded theory more likely to discover some of the basic ways of knowing than the traditional theoretical approach?

    Grounded theory avoids some of the problems off assuming a mathematical model, such as equating gender to male and female. Obviously there are many gender characteristics that are left out by such a rough and approximate categorization. Grounded theory begins with field study, seeking to allow the field to offer the categories that might make most sense, rather than imposing the ones to which we are accustomed.

    We have some pretty strong expectations in terms of epistemology. Our society is very much biased in the direction of objectivity and scientific methodology. Thus, when we hope to discover new patterns of knowing it behooves us to approach the field to see if field exploration will dictate a different set of categories. That is precisely what was done in Women's Ways of Knowing.

  2. Define grounded theory in 25 words or less.

    Grounded theory is theory which begins with field investigation and permits the field data to define the conceptual categories as the subjects see them. Grounded theory attempts to give a better model of the world as we share it.

  3. Alfie Kohn says that grades hurt students by encouraging them to work for external rewards and by thus failing to allow them the luxury of developing intrinsic motivation (otherwise known as the sheer joy of learning). How does Kohn's statement fit with Stanton's description of students' struggle for coherence and meaning in their college work? See Dear Habermas link under Justice, Jurisprudence and Judgments, to Alfie Kohn on Gold Stars and A's Punish by Stilling Our Voices. Compare Kohn's distrust of grades to Stanton's comments on p.36 of Knowledge, Difference, and Power: "Who am I and how is college changing me? and what do I want to do with my life?" Perhaps we should also ask, as Harding reminds us on p. 445, what is college teaching me to want "not to know," to be ignorant of, for the questions we do not ask are like the other side of the coin to those we do ask. On this check the site on Epstein's Impure Science. Impure Science: The Story of AIDS Research

    Stanton and Kohn are both saying that students must struggle for coherence and meaning in their college work. A's and goldstars do not bestow such meaning.

    Jeanne adds that the discipline of seeking that meaning helps us develop and expand our ways of knowing. When people speak of the pain of learning, it is the pain of this struggle towards meaning and integration, not the pain of taking tests. And the joy of learning is the joy of finding such meaning. Trust me on this. I'm right. jeanne


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