Theory Quotes « phd monkey

phd monkey An expedition through the forest of academia.


Grounded Theory Origins – (Bryant, 2002)

Glaser and Strauss first published studies using the grounded theory method with their co-workers in the early 1960s (Bryant, 2000). The method remains closely aligned with its original design introduced in the 1960’s by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss who developed grounded theory as the result of what they believed to be a disparity between theory origination and authentication.

They wanted to create a basis for qualitative research in the social sciences, in opposition to research that at the time relied almost entirely on statistical or quantitative methods. According to Bryant (2000), Glaser and Strauss stated, “although obtaining accurate facts is important, we address ourselves to the equally important enterprise of how the discovery of theory from data - systematically obtained and analyzed in social research - can be furthered” (p. 3).

As I begin to better appreciate grounded research, it is my belief it could prove an enjoyable experience for the researcher and at the same time a tedious one. It also seems that grounded theory hasn’t changed much from when Glaser and Strauss introduced it. This idea could be used to argue in favor of grounded theory’s strength or a weakness as it has difficulty developing beyond its beginnings.

Bryant, A. (2002). Re-grounding Grounded Theory. JITTA: Journal of Information Technology Theory and Application, 4(1), 25+.


Refining Practice & Serving Students – (Evans & Forney, 1998)

According to Evans and Forney (1998), each of us has a set of organizing principles, an “informal theory” that we use to make sense of our experiences. We grow by refining proficiencies in the practice of student development theory, and being conscious of personal theoretical predispositions. This understanding of theory enables a more effective and efficiently classification of information resulting in better understanding and service of students.

Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., & Guido-DiBrito, F. (1998). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Reflective Practice and Decision Making

Refection and Decision Making
Making choices as a faculty member is served well by engaging in reflective practice. Reflective practice requires a measured recess from one’s work. During this recess faculty can utilize higher-level thinking and gain deeper insights to aide decision-making. According to Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007), practitioners use reflective practices effectively by examining beliefs and goals, to gain new or deeper understanding that leads to actions that improve learning for students. Reflective practice can be a sensible and powerful tool for faculty faced with frequent decision-making. Reflective practice allows professionals to go beyond the routine application of rules, facts, and procedures, and provides the freedom to practice one’s craft more as professional artistry and create new ways of thinking and acting about problems (Merriam et al., 2007).

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Adult Learners and Experience

Everyday Experiences
Faculty should be aware that adult learners have valuable experiences to share. Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007), site Lindeman, “the resource of highest value in adult education is the learner’s experience” and “learning is a continuous process grounded in experience. (p. 161) According to Merriam et al. (2007):

Experience provides the catalyst for learning in reflective practice, but most often it is seen as separate from the learning process itself. The physical and social experiences and situations in which learners find themselves and the tools they use in that experience are integral to the entire learning process. (p. 178)

Adult learners are defined by their experiences as parents, spouses, workers, etc. These everyday experiences supply adult learners with a vast database of knowledge. Faculty who understand how these experiences add value to everyday learning are more effective educators.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Individuals are different. (Merriam, Caffarella,& Baumgartner, 2007)

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007), advise:
It is important to know the backgrounds and experiences of our learners not only as individual learners but also as members of social and culturally constructed groups such as women and men; poor, middle-class, and rich; black, white, and brown. (p. 430)

Our interconnected global economy demands attention to dissimilarities. These dissimilarities create barriers and opportunities. Experience with different groups of people and cultures have been greatly expanded through travel, participation in the global marketplace (Merriam et al., 2007). As communication continue to make the world a smaller place to do business, recognizing individual difference becomes more important.


Experts – (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007)

Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007), suggest that perhaps the most fundamental difference between experts and novices is that experts bring more knowledge to solving problems . . . and do so more effectively than novices.”

As we compile theories and acquire more instruments to fill our educational tool chest, we are able to help improve understanding and communications with students. With each class we improve our expertise in education.

According to Merriam et al. (2007), experts learn to perceive problems in ways that enable more effective problem solving. Experts are able to effectively draw from resources and experiences to make wise decisions. Experts learn strategies to organize problem solving that are “optimally suited to problems in a particular domain” (Merriam et al., 2007). (p. 404)

Beware of experts. It is important to be very careful when considering anyone or oneself and expert. Being an expert in one area does not necessarily translate into being an expert in another, no matter what the learner’s motivation or background (Merriam et al., 2007).

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Religion and The Broken Compass

In response to:
“This week we also defined student development theory as an environment that fosters healthy student growth and learning (Evans, Forney, and Guido-DiBrito, 1998).”

Understanding theory does create and environment that nurtures student grown and learning.

Lowering the Bar
A concern I have is that we have lost our moral compass, as education no longer fosters religion. Throughout history, religion in education encouraged ethical behavior. The religious elements of American colleges were those of piety and moral discipline, not religious theology (Chickering, Dalton, and Stamm, 2006).

MISSING: Christian Values
Although America’s colleges and universities did not directly promote a particular denominational theology, all campuses until the early twentieth century defined themselves as Christian institutions, with the propagation of Christian faith and values as an essential component of their missions (Chickering et al., 2006). It really makes one ask, why morality based education through religion has been disregarded. According to Chickering et al. (2006), moral teaching was eliminated from the curriculum as student associations became a major focus on most campuses for the expression of Christian sentiments through religious work. Chickering et al. (2006), reference Longfield:

“As America became more pluralistic and secular, and as an increased stress on research, specialization, and vocationalism and an expanded curriculum worked to further the secularization of higher education,” most institutions “would abandon their earlier efforts to serve God and simply pursue a mission of service to the nation” (p. 75)

Chickering, A. W., Dalton, J. C., & Stamm, L. (2006). Encouraging authenticity & spirituality in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., & Guido-DiBrito, F. (1998). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Stress and Theory

In response to:
You wrote, “Although none of these students would fit into the nicely constructed stages or levels of Paiget (1932), Kohlberg (1984), or Chickering (1969), perhaps creating these theoretical possibilities of student evolution might be worth the effort and increase the value of these theories in these highly stressed times.”

According to Hudd, Dumlao, and Erdmann-Sager (2000), role conflict is a common part of the college experience, and stress is an individualized phenomenon, unique to each person and setting. Pearlin (1989) has suggested that there are two major types of stressors: life events and chronic strains. Life events research considers the extent to which the accumulation of a series of experiences can create a stressful impact (Hudd et al., 2000). Being able to manage one’s job, family and additional responsibilities is paramount. Stress from chronic strain results in role overload: conflicting roles in an individual's life that produce competing, and potentially conflicting, demands over time (Hudd et al., 2000).

As doctoral students must learn to balance the competing demands of academics, developing new social contacts and being responsible for our own daily needs(Hudd et al., 2000).

Chickering, A. W. (1969). Education and Identity. San Francisco, CA: Josset-Bass.

Kohlberg, L. (1984). The nature and validity of moral stages. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Piaget, J. (1932). The moral judgment of a child. Orlando, FL: Brace Jovanovich.

Hudd, S.S., Dumlao, J.C., & Erdmann-Sager, D. (2000). Stress at College: Effects on Health Habits, Health status and self-esteem. College Student Journal, 34(7), 217.

Pearlin, L.L. (1989). The sociological study of stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 30, 241-256.


We All Learn Differently – (Chickering and Reisser, 1993)

Chickering and Reisser (1993):
Typology theories describe distinct but relatively stable differences in perceiving the world or responding to it. They say that while we may travel in the same general direction, we own very different vehicles and we do not all drive the same way. (p.474)

Good faculty have the capability to recognize, appreciate, and develop these differences.

Chickering, A. W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.