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Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

ELPS Research Conversation Seminar

Research Conversations Seminar presented by Dr. Bradley Davis, Wednesday October 4, 2017, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Trimble Hall 120

Engaging with the Ideal of Critical Quantitative Research as Theorized by Higher Education Scholars

The first known and published occurrence of the term critical quantitative inquiry within an educational research outlet, and in which the presence of “critical" was positioned to invoke the liberatory goals of critical inquiry, was in a 2007 special volume of New Directions for Institutional Research. In the introductory chapter, Stage (2007) drew upon the oft-cited work of Kincheloe and McLaren (1994) to aid in the establishment of the characteristics of critical quantitative inquiry. The goal of this presentation is not to determine whether or not quantitative technique has a place in the larger critical project, but rather, to ask the following: What are the relations among the discursive representations of critical quantitative research, the material practices associated with the “quantitative criticalist” in the field of higher education, and the inventive potential of calculations as a part of social and political emancipatory projects? Of particular focus, will be the problematic degree to which higher education scholars underestimate a defining and inextricable characteristic of critical quantitative research: the friction between critical aims and the necessary reification of positivism that comes with employing quantitative techniques.