A Batesonian perspective on qualitative research and complex human systems

Jeffrey W Bloom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter examines the fundamental assumptions and presuppositions of the complexity sciences in contrast to various paradigms of educational research. This examination focuses on a variety of conflicting assumptions that lead to problems in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, and, in fact, to problems in how we see and understand our world, in general. In addition, the chapter explores how such conflicting assumptions and their associated paradigms insidiously work their way into the research on complex systems and dynamics. From this basis, the chapter develops an argument for qualitative research that provides more consistent and in depth approaches to understanding complex systems dynamics in educational settings. This chapter draws on the historical work of Kurt Lewin, Gregory Bateson, L. Andrew Coward, Gerald Weinberg, Ross Ashby, Ruth Benedict, Hannah Arendt, and others, as well as on more recent work in the complexity sciences in education, including the work of Brent Davis, David Sumara, Bill Doll, Jayne Fleener, and many others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComplex Dynamical Systems in Education
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, Methods and Applications
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319275772
ISBN (Print)9783319275758
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Abduction
  • Abstraction
  • Bateson
  • Conflicting assumptions
  • Contextualized
  • Multiple description
  • Nonlinearity
  • Paradigmatic cohesiveness
  • Relationships
  • Systems thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'A Batesonian perspective on qualitative research and complex human systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this