A candid Professor confesses
That the secret of half his success is
Not his science, as such
Nor its marvels so much
As his bright irresponsible guesses.
Thomas Thorneley, 1936,
Provocative Verses and Libellous Limericks
"If you want to improve something, start measuring it. Then attach rewards to positive measurement, or penalties to negative ones, and you'll get results."
Peter Lewis, CEO Progressive Insurance, quoted in Salter C. (1998) Progressive makes big claims. Fast Company 19, 194.
"What ... Argonne [National Laboratory] has really shown is that 50 to 80 percent of what people used to think of as noise is really predictive if you know how to use it."
Alan Wilks, vice-president of Smart Signal, Chicago Tribune 8-31-1998, 4:1.
"The underlying threshold imprint (the map of thresholds across the metric) of the scale must be published as part of the basic validation of the scale. My view is that this imprint is the only evidence of the scaling property of the instrument and that nothing else is valid."
Alan Tennant, University of Leeds, at IOMW9, 1997
"It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem."
G. K. Chesterton. The Scandal of Father Brown.
"Have you ever noticed this - that people never answer what you say? They answer what you mean - or what they think you mean. Suppose that one lady says to another in a country house, `Is anybody staying with you?' the lady doesn't answer `Yes; the butler, three footmen, the parlourmaid, and so on,' though the parlourmaid may be in the room, or the butler behind her chair. She says `There is nobody staying with us,' meaning nobody of the sort you mean. But suppose a doctor inquiring about an epidemic asks, `Who is staying in the house?' then the lady will remember the butler, the parlourmaid, and the rest. All language is used like that; you never get a question answered literally, even when you get it answered truthfully."
G. K. Chesterton (1911) The Invisible Man
"A Sense That the Field is Never Getting Anywhere"
"One last problem that the form of educational knowledge poses for those who seek to produce it is that it often leaves them feeling as though they are perpetually struggling to move ahead, but getting nowhere. If Sisyphus were a scholar, his field would be education. At the end of long and distinguished careers, senior educational researchers are likely to find that they are still working on the same questions that confronted them at the beginning. And the new generation of researchers they have trained will be taking up these questions as well, reconstructing the very foundation of the field over which their mentors labored during their entire careers."
David B. Labaree (1998) Educational researchers: living with a lesser form of knowledge. Educational Researcher, 27:8 p. 9 (headline and quotation).
Knowledge construction requires tools that produce manifestly verifiable and immediately usable new knowledge, so, at last, enabling researchers "to speak authoritatively about their field" (cf. Labaree p. 4).
"A Sense That the Field is Progressing"
"The great progress in every science came when, in the study of problems which were modest as compared with ultimate aims, methods were developed which could be extended further and further."
John von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern (1944) Theory of Games and Economic Behavior.
"To the nonscientist measurement may seem like a mundane, grubby, even suspicious concern. As William Blake once expressed a basic reservation of the humanist: He who would bind to himself a joy doth the winged life destroy. To the scientist, however, the "binding" of reality that measurement represents is the core of his method, for unless a concept, affect, or percept can be defined precisely, it cannot be investigated in terms upon which others may agree.
"A theme of underlying interest will be how the scientific mind, in the sense of a questing, abstracting entity, seems to be seeking truth through the conflict of empiricists, enmeshed in measurement, and theorists, who try to fling their minds free of the web of measurement to perceive underlying structures."
David Loye (1977) The Leadership Passion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p. 24-25.
Quotes and snippets Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1998, 12:3 p. passim.
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