Exciting developments. I hope sometime soon students from kindergarten onward have a chance to do research and contribute to science.
The philosopher Latour has written about the difference between science and research,
“Science is certainty; research is uncertainty. Science is supposed to be cold, straight and detached; research is warm, involving, and risky. Science puts an end to the vagaries of human disputes; research creates controversies. Science produces objectivity by escaping as much as possible from the shackles of ideology, passions and emotions; research feeds on all of those to render objects of inquiry familiar.”
(Latour 1998 Science, Vol 280, Issue 5361, 208-209 , 10 April 1998)
As an educator I am hoping to teach students how to 1) make observations carefully, 2) record data and metadata systematically, 3) think critically and 4) devise new questions.
This sounds like research and some forms of citizen science. Doing research comes naturally to some people while others just want answers and sometimes only the answers they want to hear. See http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind or some data here
Haidt, J. (2007). The new synthesis in moral psychology. science, 316(5827), 998-1002.
Latour writes further,
“In the traditional model, society was like the flesh of a peach, and science its hard pit. Science was surrounded by a society that remained foreign to the workings of the scientific method: Society could reject or accept the results of science; it could be inimical or friendly toward its practical consequences. But there was no direct connection between scientific results and the larger context of society, which could do no more than slow down or speed up the advancement of an autonomous science. Galileo deals with the fate of falling bodies in one palace, while in another palace cardinals and philosophers deal with the fate of human souls.
The only way for science to disseminate its results, its ethics, and its methods was by educating as many members of the general public as possible. It is because young America was unfriendly toward science that the AAAS was created in the first place. How different are the connections nowadays between research and society!
Consider the group of patients who created a French association for the treatment of muscular dystrophy (AFM) that raised $80 million in charity through a telethon. Because the disease that triggers the handicap has a genetic origin, for 15 years now the AFM has invested heavily in molecular biology. To the great surprise of the French scientific institutions, this charity for a while funded more basic research on the human genome than the French government.”
In the realm of health, his claims seem true. Efforts, especially in the USA, to slow down environmental research such as projects related to climate change, worry me (See Naomi Klein’s “This changes everything”)
The distinction between science and research might be worth considering in your deliberations.
This part of the provocative questions “…who decides how to analyze the data…” is intriguing.
Equally provocative, I think, is who decides WHO analyses the data.
Reblogged this on Curious and commented:
Please take a look at the latest citizen science association blog post. What do you think?
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