Measuring Affective Teaching

Understanding research methods that will work on affective pedagogy, affective literacy measurement, or some other level of subjective measurement, requires that we start to think differently about research. It is more than a qualitative issue to the investigator. It may eventually require a completely different inquiry method to accomplish all that we will want to measure or evaluate. We must look at some of the issues that are pushing us to this new level so we can determine if we have appropriate inquiry methods or not.


In Chapter 3 the topic of using research that can address both objective and subjective data was covered. The issue before us is more of a practical concern related to measurement of subjective data found in affective teaching. The current resurgence of quantum mechanics is quite clear in its premise of stating that the observer is never able to separate from that which he or she observes, and this may mean that everything one studies is less objective than one once thought.

Coherent Superpositioning

The idea that what we study may be less objective than what we once thought it was is especially true when we look at the idea of coherent superpositioning. Consider this:

An unobserved quantum entity is said to exist in a coherent superposition of all the possible states permitted by its wave function. But as soon as an observer makes a measurement capable of distinguishing between these states the wave function collapses, and the entity is forced into a single state. (Horgan, 1992, p. 4)

This means that by observing something, we have an impact upon it. I realize that we have already discussed this idea, but let's consider superpositioning from a research perspective. Watch this video again just to bring your thoughts back to this idea once again: M&

Greene (1994) states two assumptions regarding the nature of reality that are particularly relevant to this line of thought: “Truth is ultimately a matter of social and historically conditioned agreement” (p. 536) and “reality resides neither with an objective external world nor with the subjective mind of the person knowing, but within dynamic transactions between the two” (p. 536). Quantum theory suggests that reality only exists in relationship. Consider the discussion presented in this video: v=LJThU1jDT2o& I have previously suggested in Chapter 3 using interpretive inquiry (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000) as a method that can integrate the subjective and objective data that might be collected. This method allows the investigator to use the following constructs:

■ Collects multiple data points (triangulation, crossover designs, constructionism)

■ Collects any subjective and objective data that are available (blended designs)

■ Appropriately assess the data using the right strategy based on the type of data it is (i.e., numbers need statistics, subjective data need themes or clusters)

■ Integrates the researcher's perceptions and stakeholder's perceptions

■ Brings the data together using crystallization methods (multiple-level integration of the interpretations of the parts) (Richardson, 1994).

We have already discussed the growing swell of contemporary higher education researchers and theorists who believe we are in need of major research changes. However, none of the current models consciously integrate quantum thinking. We are not sure what such research would look like. When it is understood, however, quantum data could also be integrated into educational research.

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