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[Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis



Isn’t a unit of analysis (a germ cell) a preliminary concept, one might say an everyday concept, that permits one to grasp the phenomenon that is to be studied in such a way that it can be elaborated, in the course of investigation, into an articulated and explicit scientific concept?

just wondering

Martin


> On Sep 6, 2017, at 5:15 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Not sure if others might feel this is an oversimplification of unit of
> analysis, but I just came across this in Wortham and Kim's Introduction to
> the volume Discourse and Education and found it useful. The short of it is
> that the unit of analysis is the unit that "preserves the
> essential features of the whole".
> 
> Here is their longer explanation:
> 
> "Marx (1867/1986) and Vygotsky (1934/1987) apply the concept "unit of
> analysis" to social scientific problems. In their account, an adequate
> approach to any phenomenon must find the right unit of analysis - one that
> preserves the essential features of the whole. In order to study water, a
> scientist must not break the substance down below the level of an
> individual H20 molecule. Water is made up of nothing but hydrogen and
> oxygen, but studying hydrogen and oxygen separately will not illuminate the
> essential properties of water. Similarly, meaningful language use requires
> a unit of analysis that includes aspects beyond phonology,
> grammar, semantics, and mental representations. All of these linguistic and
> psychological factors play a role in linguistic communication, but natural
> language use also involves social action in a context that includes other
> actors and socially significant regularities."
> 
> (entire chapter can be found on Research Gate at:
> https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319322253_Introduction_to_Discourse_and_Education
> )
> 
> ​I thought that the water/H20 metaphor was a useful one for thinking about
> unit of analysis.​
> 
> ​-greg​
> 
> -- 
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> WEBSITE: greg.a.thompson.byu.edu
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson