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[Xmca-l] Re: units of analysis?



Andy,

I agree that it's an example and illustration that cannot capture everything.

But I think you've got the chemistry wrong! If I remember my college chemistry correctly, H2O isn't a combination of H+ and OH-, because that would imply an asymmetry that does not in fact exist. Oxygen is strongly electronegative, meaning it draws electrons from the hydrogen atoms, leading to a bond between an O+ ion and two H- ions.  This has the consequence that the water molecule a dipole, which leads to hydrogen bonding between water molecules, the result of which is that water is a liquid at room temperature while other hydrides formed from elements that are close to oxygen in the periodic table are gases. 

So, yes, there are tensions and contradictions in the *formation* of water. My point was that once formed, there are no contradictions driving further development. That's not entirely true; water does partially dissociate, into H3O+ and OH-. This means that a body of water is actually in constant change, creating and breaking hydrogen bonds, and dissociating and reassociating. A dynamic stasis, if you like. But it doesn't develop further.

Martin

On Oct 12, 2014, at 11:51 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Martin, I think it is nothing more than the limitations of a metaphor - it can only illustrate one aspect of the target. In this case it is simply saying that a quantity of water is just thousands H2O molecules, and nothing else. No addition is required to manifest all the properties of water.
> 
> You would have to be a chemist to know the forces that bind the H and OH together and how they can be separated, H containing a positive charge and OH containing a negative charge - a good old positive/negative contradiction. All chemicals with the H ion are acids and all chemicals with the OH ion are alkali, but water is both acid and base and therefore neither. *If you want* the water molecule is a tangle of contradictions and transformations, along with Carbon, the foundation of the chemistry of life. :)
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> 
> 
> Martin John Packer wrote:
>> Good question, Mike!  What you're pointing out is that LSV's own example doesn't quite do justice to his analysis in T&L.  Water is not a dynamic system: once hydrogen bonds with oxygen the process stops: water is a stable molecule. He should have picked an example in which an internal tension or clash of some kind provides a continual motor for change.
>> 
>> In somewhat the same way, I'm trying to figure out how a triangle is dynamic. It's one of the most stable geometric shapes.  :)
>> 
>> Martin 
>> On Oct 12, 2014, at 10:26 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>> 
>>  
>>> Martin. What is the contradiction between hydrogen and oxygen such that two
>>> atoms of hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen give rise to water with
>>> its distinctive qualities? Knowing that should help people to rise to the
>>> concrete for their own cases.
>>> mike
>>> 
>>> On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 6:43 PM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co
>>>    
>>>> wrote:
>>>>      Well, if it works for you, Helena..!  :)
>>>> 
>>>> Clearly Yrjo does claim that the triangle represents a dynamic system with
>>>> contradictions. I'm still reading the chapter that Mike linked to, and I
>>>> already some questions. But I'll wait until I read it all before posting.
>>>> 
>>>> Martin
>>>> 
>>>> On Oct 12, 2014, at 6:10 PM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>      
>>>>> On the contrary.
>>>>> 
>>>>> To me, that very affordance is one of the great things about activity
>>>>>        
>>>> theory and the activity system as a unit of analysis. A very simple example
>>>> is that if you change something in the norms/customs/laws/history corner of
>>>> the triangle (like win a court case that gives you a stronger footing in
>>>> bargaining), then your tools also change. Another: if by bringing new
>>>> members into the community (the base of the triangle) out of which division
>>>> of labor raises the subjects, you may find yourself with a leadership team
>>>> that is not all white, or not all primarily English-speaking, which in turn
>>>> will change what tools/resources you have and may, if you're lucky and
>>>> quick, change your history.
>>>>      
>>>>> Helena Worthen
>>>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>>>>> 
>>>>> On Oct 12, 2014, at 2:54 PM, Martin John Packer 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.
>>>    
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>  
>