Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It works by magic

I don't know, and will never know, how come the funding application fell over.
However, it may have been the answer to the question on whether txt counselling is a good thing.
In some way i said that it was a difficult question to address in this way as the variables could not be controlled for and therefore a qualitative analysis on the perspectives of those involved would be important in informing future practice. (Reminds me of a poem, I will include at foot of this posting)
I didn't get the funding so maybe the answer didnt work.
And i don't know, but suspect risk aversive funding people just like sure things.
I also suspect the gold standard of randomized control trials was the only way to go for one panel member.
But the older i get, the less sure i am of rightness and wrongness.
When i was younger, i saw decisiveness as a good thing, and fence sitting as an inability to draw a conclusion.
In psychotherapy from an Assagioli tradition, it was about collapsing the point of tension too quickly. I personally found it uncomfortable to the point of distressing, to hold a point of tension.

I think about this differently now.
I have mellowed.

Applying a concept from Annemarie Mol's 'The body multiple' - reality is different for different players. I see this reflected in a review of elearning by Graham Attwell (2006).
Approaches re evaluation differ fundamentally with purpose, underpinning philosophy and ideological base. Different evaluations theories will be based on different assumptions about the way the world works and so models and practices based on those theories will be different as well. Despite this, the client base and majority of evaluation consumers, particularly in education are still wedded to the idea of objective evaluation and "finding the facts".
Attwell expands on this in several ways, one is about how the evaluator role is perceived, eg if seen as a judge or critical friend; how they conduct any evaluation and the conclusions drawn will vary.
In using ANT, my role is different again, I get to tell the stories, the performances witnessed.
"Evaluation theory also develops in a social context and practitioners work in different ways in different cultures, different sectors with different target groups, and different audiences. Consequently different approaches and models have tended to emerge based on these factors. For example, educational evaluation has developed along a different trajectory than for example health services. Theory in practice is a powerful determinant of evaluation approach and stakeholder perceptions and expectations of the evaluation process." (Attwell, 2006, p.19)
Here too, the performative turn is evident.

She asked me

She asked me if she took one pill for her heart
and one pill for her hips and one pill for her chest
and one pill for her blood
how come they would all know
which part of her body
they should go to?

I explained to her
That active metabolites in each pharmaceutical
would adopt spatial configuration
leading to an exact interface with receptor molecules
on the cellular surfaces of the target structures involved.

She told me not to bullshit her.

I told her that each pill had a different shape
And that her pills
could only work when both these shapes fit together.
She said I had no right
to talk about the shape of her body.

I said that each pill was a key
and that her body was ten thousand locks.

She said she was not going to swallow that!

I told her they worked by magic.

She asked me why I didn't say that in the first place.

Glenn Colquhoun (2002)

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