Repetition, Difference, and Rising Up with Research in Education
As I fi rst encountered it, generalizability was a useful construct whereby something I learned from research was applied with due caution in a different context. In the social sciences generalizability arises from statistical analyses in which samples are drawn and statistics are calculated based on data from the sample. Then, what is learned from the sample is generalized to the population. What I have not said so far is that the “something learned” arises from an empirical investigation involving human participants and is “applied” to different others-arguably like those in the study. In the excerpt that begins this chapter, Deleuze notes that for generality to other fi elds to be possible, participants in the new fi eld must be identical to those in the original study. However, since participants in social life are individuals who are different, whereas it makes sense to substitute one molecule of oxygen with another, it seems like a stretch to substitute any person with another. Even when the same individuals are involved, in the same spaces, substitution is not warranted, because as individuals grow older, even by a few seconds, they change.