27 Jul 1994 10:55:23 -0500

First, I would like to thanking the established members for making us
newcomers feel at home in the group. To be able to meet those of you who
inhabit my references - and to find you such warm and welcoming people - was
a rare experience, which few doctoral candidates can enjoy.

In response to Hemant's remarks and some of the replies... This dialogue
addresses much I've been trying to sort out (and express to a dissertation
committee!!) Jim and Rue, you're helping me articulate this more than it
shows. My own view is that individual/contextual may some day prove to be
less than useful, like cognitive/affective, and that we need to move toward
a more holisic perspective here as well. While we work through this
however, many will be considering the contextual with new eyes. My research
residency project (which I'm trying to revise to submit for publication)
dealt with many of these issues in terms of the ontological,
epistemological, and methodological constructs entailed in our inquiry
approaches. Without going into to detail, I'll just say it's no coincidence
that the narrative and the social were jointly prominent themes at the
meeting. We've found in education that the "Most of the time in most
places, most people..." stories have contributed little to practice, and
that the "Once upon a time in a land called Mrs. Smith's classroom, there
was a little girl..." story may be required. The new story, by Golly,
embraces all those things we've been trying to control for statistically as
important contextual elements. Unfortunately for the Old Story, stratified
random samples don't sit in our school desks. Generalizability is for many
a core construct. and we see many manifestations of threat in the academic
community. My favorite question is, "Well, what are we supposed to do, put
a social scientist in every classroom?" Don't we have a swell answer for
that one, friends?

Rue, there are a few of us trying to move beyond "to be" - I ask for
stories, use them as elements in grids and do narrative analysis. Pat
Diamond talked about astronomy some, I'll share how I use this metaphor. My
MDS plots are astronomy, locating construct and element points in
experiential space. The stories are involved in the astronomy - naming the
constellations and understanding the personal myths involved in them. This
is confusing to many researchers - if you have numbers, aren't you doing
hypodeductive work? For me, no - I'm using a statistical procedure as a
hermeneutical tool, as Diana Taylor recommends.

Enough about my stuff - if you're interested, E-mail me. Thinking through
this convinces me we don't need to fragment, though I felt otherwise in
Indy. Education - for once - is ahead of psychology in dealing with these
methodological issues (See, for instance Egon Guba's book, The Paradigm
Dialogue.) Often clinical and counseling applications of PCP give me
insight. Let's keep it all out here for everyone - and use the subject line
well. DSM-IV doesn't affect my work these days, but I'm interested in how
you clinical types deal with perpetration and elaboration of it.

Finally, re- narrative and social. I needed Mair on my trip from Indy to my
next stop. Thank goodness, I had Psychology as Storytelling with me, and it
restored my soul. If you haven't read it recently (or at all) please do and
let's think about it in terms of our discussions. If he's not on the
mailbase, perhaps someone could contact him and engage him in this dialogue.

Suzanne Huffman