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[Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis?



Hi Martin-- I believe that it helps a lot to understand the genesis of that
"expanded triangle." All of *Learning  by Expanding* is on the xmca server
(remember the google function on the lchc home page!). The immediately
relevant section is here, under the heading of "the evolution of activity."


http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Paper/Engestrom/expanding/ch2.htm

mike


On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co
> wrote:

> And what's neat about this way of thinking is that it implies that, once
> one understands the relationships among the components, one can bring about
> changes in one component in the totality by acting on *another* component
> of the totality.
>
> The activity system triangle does not suggest to me this type of
> relationship among components. Instead, it seems to represent elements that
> are only accidentally brought together.
>
> Martin
>
> On Oct 12, 2014, at 2:43 PM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> wrote:
>
> > Seems to me the problem in many research projects is that the question
> is not formulated in an appropriate way. LSV was exploring a method of
> analysis that seeks to understand the relationship among components in a
> complex totality. Not the causal influence of one factor on another, which
> is often how students frame their research interest. And this means that
> the unit of analysis has to represent, exemplify, this relationship.
> >
> > Martin
> >
> > On Oct 12, 2014, at 1:31 PM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> 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
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
>
>
>


-- 
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.