“ What kind of confidence can we have in the ethnographic study and construction of a single case (or cross-site analysis of a limited number of cases) as a basis for policy and practice? What is the nature of the inference between evidence and recommendations for policy and practice in such studies? “
in the context of inquiry into “the warrant or level of confidence which educational research (of different kinds) can provide for decisions about what should be done in terms of general educational policy across a whole system or practice at classroom level.”
Phronesis: practical rationality vs. instrumental rationality
Instrumental rationality has its place within one area of practice but does not necessarily translate across areas of practice (since it is acquired as much by apprenticeship as by fulfillment of abstract principles)
Cf. portrait of Gordon Brown as a practical philosopher in the sense of Gramsci: “ The man of action is the true philosopher: and the philosopher must of necessity be the man of action.”
An inquiry into the warrant and generalization of case study should be an inquiry into the ethics surrounding the creation and use of research, not an attempt to provide an epistemologically transcendent account of the representativeness of sampled data.
Ability to ‘Render private knowledge public’ and ‘challenge prejudices’ can be better criteria for case study’s relevance to policy making than disembodied rules of generalization and representativeness (these, however, have a place within the practice of case study);
As uncomfortable as it may be for academic researcher, leaving judgements of practicality and warrant to practitioners may be one way of getting inspiration from medicine