editing disabled

Welcome to Module 1 Action Research!

First, a word about how On-Line Modules work for this class:

  • Each week the professor will aim to post all discussion questions, video clips, etc. by 12 noon on the Wednesday date of the class, but certainly no later than 4:30 p.m. our normal class meeting time.

  • Students are encouraged to begin readings in advance of the Modules (as they will be made available earlier), but do not have to complete all of the readings prior to reviewing the Module.

  • Discussion questions will focus on different readings, assignments, or developmental needs for learning in the class. For example, you may be asked occasionally to reflect on an issue that advances your thinking on independent research, apart from particular readings or assignments.

  • Immediate questions should be sent by email to the professor; and post discussion answers by midnight on Sundays -- by 8 a.m. on Mondays if you want to be miserable.


  • Review basics in sociological thinking.

  • Review of readings on historical contexts of social theory.

  • Review Sociology of Education overview of classic and contemporary theory in education.

  • Begin to think creatively about constructing theoretical and methodological approaches to studying education.


Derived from Charles Lemert (2010) “Social Theory: Its Uses and Pleasures”

  • žA way of knowing, understanding, and talking about the social world

  • žA way of studying “disruptions"

  • žPhilosophical and scientific pursuit of a “truth” – sometimes the Truth (in the form of social meaning)

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1: In your estimate, what does Lemert mean by "disruptions"? How would you explain the use of social theory to pursue "truth" (in either form described above)?

Please use the designated Discussion Thread to post your answer.

Lemert's Historical Periods of Social Theory:

žModernity’s Classical Age: 1848-1919

žSocial Theories & World Conflict: 1919-1945

žThe Golden Moment: 1945- 1963

žWill the Center Hold? 1963-1979

žAfter Modernity, 1979- 1991/2001

žRethinking the Unthinkable After 2011

Discussion Question #2: Use the following list of questions to characterize Lemert's use of historical periods in describing theoretical perspectives? (You are not required, and in fact are discouraged, to answer each one fully.)

  1. What’s the point of thinking historically about social theory?

  2. On what basis does Lemert create these periods?

  3. What are your thoughts about his conceptual and analytical divisions?

  4. Do you get a sense of Lemert’s political or scientific orientation in his rendering of social theory?

Discussion Question #3: Drawing on the assigned reading from Sadnovik (2011) from our first class meeting, and what you've gained from Lemert, share which types of theory appeal to you at this stage of forming a research idea? Why? In what ways do their conceptions of society, identification of values that maintain social order, or focus on interactions and processes resonate with your ideas? (This is a preliminary question. It is neither expected that you will commit to this answer or approach, nor that you will offer a fully developed answer here. Consider this an informal space to engage the question intellectually, vet ideas as they form.)

Please review the following video clip (approx. 11 minutes) on "Changing Education Paradigms." Respond to the Discussion Question that follows.

Discussion Question #4: In what ways does the narrator use social theory to describe changing education paradigms? Can you identify and share particular elements of classic or contemporary theory inherent in this unique presentation of information? In contrast (or comparison, depending on how you look at it), how would the academic educational researcher study and present the relationships discussed in this video?

Thank you! Have a great week!