Constructivism and collaborative enterprises

Alan Stewart
Stevens Institute of Technology
This paper is a contribution to a dialogue on contructivist ideas in qualitative research in which collaborative inquiry is a central feature. By this I mean a process of finding out how both 'researchers' and 'subjects' have come to conceive an issue through sharing of their perceptions. Collaborative or participatory action research is an example of this approach. I propose that a constructivist methodology or epistemology for collaborative inquiry can be developed from primary theoretical concepts such as Structural Determinism of Maturana, second order cybernetics of von Foerster and van Glasersfeld and of Personal Construct Theory of Kelly. I further propose that secondary interpretations of these seminal ideas by family therapists helps to show how to use this epistemology in collaborative inquiry.
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