Butterflies and black swans: metaphors that provide new perspectives to understand quantitative models in educational research

Trimmer, Karen (2013) Butterflies and black swans: metaphors that provide new perspectives to understand quantitative models in educational research. In: Metaphors for, in and of education research. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, pp. 173-188. ISBN 978-1-4438-4398-0


Metaphor has been used throughout this book as a way of constructing meaning to illustrate and communicate concepts. This is most often utilised in relation to qualitative methodology in education research. This chapter utilises two metaphors, butterflies and black swans as a conceptual tool to explain the quantitative approaches of complexity theory and probability theory respectively, in order to communicate how these approaches were used to develop a quantitative model of risk-taking in decision-making by school principals. The chapter aims to illustrate the use of a traditionally qualitative tool, the use of metaphor, in a wider context in educational research to bridge the gap in understanding of research methods and provide an interpretative aspect to quantitative modelling. The use of metaphor to explain probability theory and complexity theory may assist in making the results of education research on risk-taking in decision-making more relevant to qualitative researchers and encourage broader use of these approaches.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 by Warren Midgley, Karen Trimmer and Andy Davies and contributors. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Chapter 12.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 23 May 2013 02:52
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2017 03:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: complexity; probability; quantitative models; risk-taking; decision-making
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
01 Mathematical Sciences > 0104 Statistics > 010404 Probability Theory
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220107 Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/22844

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