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[Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis?

I wonder if it is possible to refer to the vigotskyan "units of análisis"
without say a word of the marxist framework in which he developed that
concept. For me, in going so, we lost great part of the richness of his
psychology: his method.

Thanks a lot for the interchange.
Juan Duarte

2014-10-12 15:31 GMT-03:00 Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>:

> As someone who uses the concept of "unit of analysis" in a very
> down-to-earth, quick and dirty, applied way to shape collective responses
> to a crisis in a labor and employment relationships (like, when a rule
> changes creates difficulties for workers), I would agree with Andy:
> > The other thing is that discovering a unit of analysis is an *insight*.
> It
> > is not something that can be achieved by following a template, it is the
> > breakthrough in your research into some problem, the leap. It usually
> comes
> > *after* you've collected all the data for your research using some other
> > unit of analysis.
> First comes the story, the details, the experiences. The question lying
> behind the telling of the stories is, "What are we going to do?" The unit
> of analysis gets defined by the purpose we are trying to accomplish. Are we
> trying to get the employer to back off temporarily? Are we trying get the
> rule changed? Example:  In a big hospital system in Chicago, clerical
> workers were no longer allowed to leave an "I'm going to be late to work
> today" or "I have to stay home with my sick kid today and will miss work"
> message on the answering machines of their supervisors. We're talking about
> a workforce with hundreds of employees, most of them middle aged minority
> women -- with grandchildren and extended families to be responsible for.
> Not being allowed to leave a message on a machine, but being required to
> actually speak to a supervisor in person who would then keep a record of
> the call, was a problem because supervisors were often away from their
> desks and the whole phone system was unreliable. Also, a lot of workers
> didn't have cell phones at the time this was happening (2004) and pay
> phones are few and far between, so if someone it out buying more asthma
> inhalers for a grandkid, making a phone call is not easy.
>  So, exactly what is the purpose that we're trying to accomplish, here?
> To repeal the rule? To fix the phone system?  To educate members of the
> union and other others about how to respond collectively to something that
> only affects some of them? To make a profound change in society so that
> middle-aged women are not the primary caretakers of an extended family?
> Pick one. Once you've picked one (hopefully, one that you can carry out)
> you can define the unit of analysis and then reviewing the whole Engestrom
> triangle and evaluating your strategy becomes, as Andy says,  a matter of
> solving puzzles.
> >From the employer point of view, asking workers to actually speak to a
> live supervisor makes a certain sense. That's why we talk about activity
> system(s), not just one activity system. But they are often in conflict
> with each other, which adds to the drama.
> Is the data in your study being gathered with some purpose in mind? Is the
> purpose the purpose of the children, the purpose of the class, or the
> purpose of the PhdD program?  To me, what would be most interesting would
> be a comparison between the unit of analysis (purposes of children) and
> unit of analysis (purpose of classroom). I'll bet they're not identical.
> Helena
> Helena Worthen
> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> On Oct 12, 2014, at 10:20 AM, Katerina Plakitsi wrote:
> > This problem of the ' unit of analysis' is my concern too. I supervise
> > three PHD students on Science Education in a CHAT context. Two of them on
> > early childhood science education and one on primary science. They have
> > collected log files, children discourses consisted of
> > scientific justifications, accepted rules, and forms of division of
> labor.
> > They have collected children narratives, and drawings. When they decided
> to
> > analyze their data they follow different paths into CHAT context mainly
> > modeling them using Engestrom's triangle. They still doubt about the "
> unit
> > of analysis".
> >
> > Στις Κυριακή, 12 Οκτωβρίου 2014, ο χρήστης Andy Blunden <
> ablunden@mira.net>
> > έγραψε:
> >
> >> Katie, picking up on your concern about units of analysis, it was one of
> >> the points I mentioned in my "report" from ISCAR, that this concept was
> >> almost lost to us. A phrase I heard a lot, and which was new for me, was
> >> "unit to be analysed." If anyone knows the origin of this expression,
> I'd
> >> be interested in hearing. It seemed to me that what it referred to was a
> >> "closed system" for analysis, that is, abandoning CHAT methodology
> whilst
> >> keeping the word. If I am mistaken about this, please let me know.
> >>
> >> The other thing is that discovering a unit of analysis is an *insight*.
> It
> >> is not something that can be achieved by following a template, it is the
> >> breakthrough in your research into some problem, the leap. It usually
> comes
> >> *after* you've collected all the data for your research using some other
> >> unit of analysis. In Kuhn's terms, discovery of the unit is the new
> >> paradigm, after which it is just a matter of solving puzzles. So for
> >> graduate students to use the concept of unit in their research, often
> >> depends on the wisdom of teh direction they get from their supervisor. I
> >> don't know how many PhD students I've met who have got to this point in
> >> their thesis and discover that the data they have is not the data they
> now
> >> know they need.
> >>
> >> Andy
> >>
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> *Andy Blunden*
> >> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >>
> >>
> >> Katherine Wester Neal wrote:
> >>
> >>> I like Holli's plan to commit some time to reading the two articles.
> But,
> >>> as usual, I don't know that I'll have much to contribute in posts. I
> >>> usually get deep in thinking about the posts and don't follow that
> through
> >>> to write something. The writing is much harder, and I am usually just
> >>> trying to keep up with reading!
> >>>
> >>> For me, the thread has been fascinating, probably because I'm
> interested
> >>> in different units of analysis, what they might be used for, and how
> they
> >>> fit together with theory and conducting research. What are people doing
> >>> with units of analysis and why? Or why aren't units of analysis being
> used?
> >>> If anyone wants to write more in that direction, I'd be very
> interested to
> >>> read, and I'll try to respond, although the questions might be as
> basic as
> >>> these.
> >>>
> >>> Lastly, Andy has basically been articulating my thoughts (in a much
> more
> >>> eloquent way than I would) about action as a unit of analysis. In
> Mike's
> >>> example about driving and thinking and writing, I'd add that the
> action is
> >>> mediated. Together with sociocultural and historical factors that
> >>> influenced those actions (and which, as has been said here before, are
> >>> often difficult to get a look at), the actions create a picture of much
> >>> more than just Mike's behavior.
> >>> Katie
> >>>
> >>> Katie Wester-Neal
> >>> University of Georgia
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
> >>
> >
> > --
> > ............................................................
> > Katerina Plakitsi
> > Associate Professor of Science Education
> > School of Education
> > University of Ioannina
> > University Campus Dourouti 45110
> > Ioannina
> > Greece
> > tel. +302651005771
> > fax. +302651005842
> > mobile.phone +306972898463
> >
> > http://users.uoi.gr/kplakits
> > http://erasmus-ip.uoi.gr
> > http://www.lib.uoi.gr/serp