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Why “Gold Standard” Needs Another “s”: Results from the Gold Standard(s) in Science and Literacy Education Research Conference

  • Larry D. YoreEmail author
  • Pietro BoscoloEmail author
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Silver, gold, diamond, and platinum are symbols of quality. International advertising and marketing stress their rarity, beauty, symbolic, and emotional onsiderations. Infrequently do these promotional efforts mention that rarity can result from natural scarcity or from controlled access to the supply of the materials, and few ever mention the concepts of pragmatics and value as a proportional consideration of quality, cost, and utility. Concerns about quality have been heard in the language and literacy, learning and instruction, measurement and statistics, and science education research communities since the 1980s. Voices of reason have occasionally risen above the din of the simplistic either/or positions in the irrational quantitative—qualitative debates. The opposing sides of purists in this unproductive endeavor appear more interested in impressing one another rather than informing and persuading the opposition about quality research and benefits of comingling methods to better match the problem space and available instrumentation and technology. Furthermore, these rhetorical arguments (i.e., oratorical and discursive techniques designed to persuade) do not appear to recognize (a) the contemporary modern view of science (postpositivist); (b) education as a social science rather than a natural science; (c) the strengths and rigor required of the new learning sciences; and (d) the need for a long-term research agenda that targets a problem space and topic, addresses worthwhile and perplexing questions, and persists in the inquiry using appropriate investigations, which evolve and progress toward sound evidence-based arguments, generalized knowledge claims, and explanations involving causality and mechanism (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Phillips, 2006; Yore, 2003).

The debates continued as both purist quantitative and qualitative researchers conducted serial investigations with little visible growth and without apparent utilization of and connection to experiences and results from earlier inquiries. This can be seen in the research literature where, for example, you can find sequences of aptitude— treatment—interaction (ATI) inquiries in which one new attribute after another was arbitrarily substituted for the previous attribute in two-way analyses of variance approaches, and a series of grounded theory investigations of the same topic without using prior findings to frame hypotheses, venture tentative answers, make predictions, or craft an interpretative framework for the next inquiry. These concerns applied equally to both research camps, but neither side appeared to recognize the risks and ultimate outcomes from the government and funding agencies and the ever-decreasing trust in education research by policy makers, decision makers, and other stakeholders—thus, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, 2002) and the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA, 2002) in the United States.

Keywords

Education Research Problem Space Quality Research Knowledge Claim Epistemological Belief 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of PadovaItaly

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