Today’s university is quite accomplished at producing qualitative and quantitative researchers. This serves a necessary function and cannot be underestimated. These theoretically based programs are the building blocks for much progress in the development of the human experience. However, there are many brilliant people who simply do not think in that manner. Often it is the logical thinker that benefits by a higher education experience because of this focus. Yet there are many ways to approach problem solving beyond logical thinking. At first this may sound… illogical… but some feel that there are other ways to think and process information that may in many ways exceed logic. One of these is dialectical thinking.
From a statistical perspective, logic requires that any outliers within a given dataset be eliminated because they do not fit neatly into the order of the norms. On the other hand in dialectical thinking the outliers are not only included in the equation but they are often given precedence over the norms. This could be considered the basis of evolution. The outliers, if considered of positive consequence within a given question, often eventually become the new norms. They certainly effect the direction of the current norms creating a more diverse and dynamic dataset.
As opposed to quantitative and qualitative research there is also Practice Based Research (PBR), which is action research. Instead of being theoretically derived PBR is directly derived from the practice of working toward a goal. In this paradigm the end result is often considered a reflection of the processes involved in creating it. Often in PBR one is seeking the outliers as a connection to novels approaches. These outliers are often the impetus for taking the research in a new direction. Certainly, in PBR the practitioner must remain flexible during the process often not knowing where it will lead.
As the university expands to meet the needs of contemporary students from a diverse perspectival sampling, new methods of thinking and subsequent approaches to research and problem solving must be embraced and recognized for the academic rigor they bring to a greatly expanded table.