Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Abolishing the Quant/Qual (and Other) Distinctions

So today was the formal logic lecture in our newly designed social research course. In the spirit of the best pedagogical traditions we established in our quantitative methods course last year, my esteemed colleague L Magee set out to instil in our students the virtues of rigour and precision with a thorough discussion of the connections between logical operators, variable types, and research methods. For reasons that quite elude me, the normally intrepid LM seemed however to stumble when it came to explaining to our students the culminating point of one of his slides, which confidently informed:

Interval – constant intervals between values.

Consider temperature:

Arbitrary starting point

But degrees are constant and fixed units

Values are additive: 10 degrees + 10 degrees = 4 days

I’m not clear what the problem with this conclusion is meant to be? Why else were you recommending Lewis Carroll during this lecture, were it not to equip our students to parse conclusions such as this?

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2 responses to “Abolishing the Quant/Qual (and Other) Distinctions

  1. WildlyParenthetical August 20, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    This is still making me giggle, even now. Nice work, LM. :-)

  2. N Pepperell August 21, 2008 at 11:31 am

    This is still making me giggle, even now.

    Yeah, see, this is my problem as well. During the lecture on Monday, I sort of kept flashing back to it and bursting into giggles – which was of course making LM paranoid that there was some massive new problem with another slide. I tried valiantly to pretend that I just had a really bad case of the sniffles. Do you think I fooled LM?

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