Educational Science

To Quote or not to Quote – to measure or not measurable?

Helene Souza  /
Helene Souza /

Today while reading my morning-newspapers (as I love to call Facebook and Twitter; focus on using them as a learning tools) I was inspired to write a part of the introduction of my M.A. trying to explain – in more polite and careful words than here – that I will not, respectively can not –  accept some traditional formalities concerning scientific quotations in my thesis. Why?:

The last days I often stumbled on the question if content I was about to read and to reflect was really “scientific” and therefore can be quoted in my M.A. … I thought of a conversation with a student explaining I stand for allowing my students for example to quote Wikipedia or even  books or textes not at all “scientific” … as long as the are aware of them not being scientific … and think carefully about which quotations can be uses to strengthen their arguments (only the ‘scientific’ ones) or used to show a tendency in public thinking, or media thinking (from which you ‘usually’ distinguish yourself by argumenting more scientific).

My thoughts writing these sentences as part of my introduction (or thinking of if I can do so 🙂 ) went further. Sure – it is all about critically reflecting sources as by taking into account:

  • Who wrote it?
  • What’s the context in institution, nation, goals?
  • Does it aim to foster or to manipulate?
  • Does it aim to sustain or disrupt?
  • To which scientific “family” does it belong (if it does at all) and what do those theories imply?

All of these questions are of high importance – but:

  • Can you find answers by separating them in “scientific or not”?
  • Can’t scientific “proven” arguments not be manipulative?
  • Can’t they aim just to sustain what is (national, cultural, and political) accepted?
  • Can’t an argument, written by a journalist or private person in their weblogs be fostering, critical, and improving scientific discourses as well?

In my M.A. I do research on academic online-learning, on shifts in learning processes and paradigms and in learning-worlds fostering global learning and a new learning culture. How could I do so without implementing the various sources of network and information I write about? I am sure not only “I can’t” but also “I do not want to” and “I will not do so”.

Tim Reckmann  /
Tim Reckmann /


All these reflection also fit my chapters

7.1. “Traditional Methods and Tools to analyze end evaluate MOOCs” and

7.2 Can traditional Methods fit new approaches as well as

7.3 Research-Methods 3.0: How to analyze Global Online Courses

What do you think about it – did or do you do research on it? Maybe already using research-methods really differing from traditional ones? “Mixed Methods” (not ‘new’ but anyway at least different from the quantitative vs qualitative fractions) is one thing I want to take as basis for 7.3 , do you have experiences?



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