I am currently enrolled in a course on qualitative research and learning so much from it. Or, to be more correct, ‘unlearning’ so much from it. The course is quite academic and planted in western philosophic concepts like ontology, phenomenology, epistemology, pragmatism, etc.
Simple recap: Ontology helps us categorize things and to identify relationships among these categories. Social ontology helps us study social constructs. Phenomenology is the study of how we become aware of things and how we experience them and Hermeneutics studies how we interpret and convey messages. Pragmatism has no place for armchair wonderment; it studies what is available with the understanding that this may change with time- a perfect philosophic concept for our COVID ridden times.
You can already see how these concepts are tied to training and performance related programs, and how applying these concepts for evaluation can facilitate a richer data set than if we just used quantitative analysis. As learning industry professionals who are increasingly nudged to move towards more data driven quantitative evaluations, we often forget the value of adding qualitative research to our quantitative methods. We also work under the mistaken premise that objective data is less biased and in turn, that it reduces bias.
What I am finding from the course is that the philosophical concepts are actually freeing me of bias and from a narrow perspective. They are helping me see things in new light and wonder about perspective and interpretation. Imagination, analysis, synthesis, and empathy are increasing- great qualities to enrich a primarily quantitative viewpoint.
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