Slide 3 of 42
This presentation was created in response to a request that I create a presentation introducing various futures tools and commenting on their weaknesses, for a post-graduate seminar on futures studies. The students participating were NOT graduate students in futures studies; they were graduate students from a variety of fields who wished to use futures research tools during their dissertation research projects.
The required reading for the seminar the day I was present included three chapters from the Handbook of Qualitative Research (second edition), Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, eds., Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc., copyright 2000. Those chapters were: 1. ”Introduction: The Discipline and Practice of Qualitative Research” (Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln); 19. ”Grounded Theory: Objectivist and Constructivist Methods ” (Kathy Charmaz); 22. ”Participatory Action Research” (Stephen Kemmis and Robin McTaggart); and 29. ”Data Management and Analysis Methods” (Gery W. Ryan and H. Russell Bernard).
Reading those chapters, especially the first, was a bit like visiting an alien culture – or, more accurately, like a culture I had once known in the distant past, but from which I had become alienated by years living in a very different culture: applied futures research. It wasn’t until I read Kemmis and McTaggart on participatory action research that I thought, ”Aha! Of course, this is why I use futures tools in interacting with communities.”
This slide, and the next, represent my attempt to express the differences I perceive between much of traditional, positivist academic research, and the core concepts and approaches of applied futures research. QUALIFIER: in order to highlight those differences, I have exaggerated them and expressed them as polar opposites. I fully understand that in the real world, academic research is not wholly positivist, nor is futures studies as a field wholly lacking – or disinterested in – positivist research.
While futures researchers do engage in theory formation, an underlying goal of the field is the identification or articulation of images of the future. As the past, the present, and any possible futures consist of interlocking
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