Stokes DE: Pasteur's Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation. Washington, DC, Brookings Institution Press, 1997
Late in 1944 in the United States, Vannevar Bush, the director of the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development, laid the foundation for the nation's science policies. Although President Roosevelt died Before Bush could file his report—Science, the Endless Frontier—the report fulfilled Roosevelt's request for a plan that would shape the national investment in science after the war. Bush based his policies on two premises about science, which he stated as aphorisms: "Basic research is performed without thought of practical ends" and "Applied research invariably drives out pure." These premises reinstated the classical assumptions about science: that there is a dichotomy between pure and applied research and that there is an inherent antagonism between basic and applied research, between the goals of understanding and of use.
Bush's canons have deep roots in Western European culture. The classic Greek tradition of separation of pure science from the practical arts and the superiority of pure science was inherited by medieval Europe through texts translated from Arabic in the 1100s and early 1200s. The separation of pure and applied science was subsequently institutionalized both in Europe and in America. This historical legacy is unfortunate for those of us who conduct applied educational research and yet aspire to be counted among the scientists in our departments.
In 1997 Donald Stokes challenged this dominant picture in his book Pasteur's Quadrant. Stokes dug into the annals of science and found many important studies that were influenced by both understanding and use. A giant among such researchers was Louis Pasteur. No one can doubt that
[Pasteur] sought fundamental understanding of the process of disease. … But there is also no doubt that he sought this understanding to reach the applied goals of preventing spoilage in vinegar, beer, wine, and milk and of conquering flacherie in silkworms, anthrax in sheep and cattle, cholera in chickens, and rabies in animals and humans. … as Pasteur's scientific studies became progressively more fundamental … the problems he chose became progressively more applied. (pp. 12—13)
Stokes asked the rhetorical question, Where would Pasteur be placed on the classic linear graph that puts basic research on one end and applied research on the other? Not at the zero point, because Pasteur was committed to both understanding the microbial processes and controlling them, an applied goal. Stokes created a new graphic, a two-by-two table that challenged the dichotomy between pure and applied—between understanding and use. It showed that these two motivations in science are not competing but cooperative.
The upper left-hand cell of the Stokes table includes basic research that is guided solely by the quest for understanding without thought of practical use. Stokes called it "Bohr's quadrant" because a pure quest for understanding guided Niels Bohr's inquiry into a model of atomic structure. This is the quadrant of the classic Greek philosophers, of the methods of inquiry that were institutionalized in German universities in the 1800s and in America in the 1900s and canonized by Bush's concept of "basic research."
The lower right-hand quadrant includes research guided solely by practical ends without seeking a more general understanding of the phenomena of the field. Stokes called this "Edison's quadrant" because of the diligence with which this brilliant inventor kept his co-workers from pursuing the deeper implications of what they were discovering.
The upper right-hand cell "includes basic research that seeks to extend the frontiers of understanding but is also inspired by considerations of use" (p. 74). Stokes called this "Pasteur's quadrant," after which he named his book, because the mature Pasteur combined these two goals. The kind of applied educational research in which most clinical educators are engaged is inspired by practical considerations but has implications for broader understanding of educational theory and principles. Applied researchers who have wondered about their status in the scientific community should read this book.
Ginsburg S, Regehr G, Hatala R, McNaughton N, Frohna A, Hodges B, Lindard L, Stern D: Context, conflict, and resolution: a new conceptual framework for evaluating professionalism. Academic Medicine 2000; 75(10, suppl):S6—S11
The evaluation of behavior, particularly professional behavior, is of particular interest to psychiatrists. In this article Ginsburg et al. review the last 20 years of literature on the topic of evaluation of professionalism in medical education. Although the need for accurate evaluation of professional behavior is well recognized, both for the purpose of identifying unprofessional conduct and for its remediation, traditional methods of assessment are problematic.
The authors point out a number of weaknesses inherent in traditional assessment methods that rely on abstract definitions and traits of persons rather than their behaviors. Methods based on these assumptions often result in harsh judgments about students as honest or dishonest, professional or unprofessional. Another is that such measures fail to appreciate that professional behaviors often require the resolution of conflict between values or principles rather than steadfast adherence to a single principle such as "honesty." Third, such methods often fail to take into consideration the highly contextual nature of professional behaviors. Situational factors frequently influence the professional decisions of physicians. Finally, traditional measures that are based on the outcome of a decision rather than on the process fail to appreciate the process of decision-making itself. The ultimate decision that the student made does not tell us anything about the student's ability to recognize conflicting values or principles or about the student's thinking.
The review is organized in six categories: evaluations by faculty supervisors; evaluations by nurses and patients; peer evaluation; self-evaluation; standardized patients; and longitudinal observations. Although the authors point out problems with all of these methods, they also offer recommendations that could improve the validity and reliability of evaluations of professional behavior by addressing some of these problems.
The authors say that evaluations should focus on behaviors rather than persons. Faculty will find it easier to report an isolated example of unprofessional behavior than to label a student with the threatening charge of unprofessionalism. Evaluations should not be based on a single measure. Peer evaluation and sample cards yield large sample sizes that increase reliability, but standardized patients and ward evaluations provide details that may be invaluable in remediation. Because supervising physicians, nurses, students, and residents all see different aspects of professional behavior in students, the inclusion of different perspectives is a useful addition to the validity of the evaluation. Certainly this use of multiple measures is in line with currently accepted evaluation theory.
Ginsburg et al. maintain that evaluation methods must be relevant to the real-life context of the students in order to be valid. For example, an overriding feature of ethical decisions for students was their lack of authority and reluctance to challenge it, a feature that presumably would not be as important to practicing physicians facing an ethical choice. And since conflict is another dominant variable in professional behavior, it may be important to measure students' behavior when they are engaged in a real situation involving conflict of values—by using standardized patients, for example.
Finally, the authors recommend that efforts to capture students' ability to identify values, make critical distinctions, reason, and draw sound conclusions should make use of measures that are sensitive to their motivations and processes of thinking.
Zachary LJ: The Mentor's Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 2000
Daloz LA: Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1999
One of the rare occasions that gives medical educators like me a feeling of power arose not long ago when I ordered a copy of Lois Zachary's book The Mentor's Guide from our university bookstore. The salesperson had never heard of it despite the growing popularity of mentorship in business and education. I bought the book for use in designing workshops aimed at improving mentoring skills. Now here's the powerful part. A few months later when I came to order Laurent Daloz's book Mentor, the bookseller asked, "Who are you? Ever since you ordered that book on mentoring there has been a flood of requests for it." She wanted to know whether I taught a course on mentoring. I don't, but I did mention the book to a few colleagues and its reputation seems to have spread by word of mouth. Like the new soft drink, good books on mentoring sell themselves these days. Colleagues have been calling me to thank me for recommending them.
Zachary avoids the superficial "tips" approach that characterizes much of the help literature. She embeds mentoring skills within the context of establishing effective relationships for teaching and learning. The mentor facilitates the learning relationship through the application of the principles of adult education, including voluntary engagement, mutual respect, collaboration, critical reflection, and empowerment of the learner. The book is clearly based on constructivist assumptions. Mentoring is not something that a teacher does to a learner. Mentoring is a learning journey that the mentor and the mentee are taking together.
Although the book contains many practical strategies, suggestions for interactive exercises, and illustrative anecdotes, Zachary does not lose sight of the central skill of the mentor: self-awareness through reflection. Thus mentoring is defined as a process of engagement. She observes, "No one can mentor without connection. In fact, mentoring is most successful when it is done collaboratively" (p. xviii). The mentor must grow and develop, too, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the relationship for learning. I hear echoes of Paulo Freire in Zachary's insistence that the teacher must learn with the student.
Zachary defines four stages in the development of the mentoring relationship, each of which is the subject of a chapter: preparing, negotiating, enabling, and coming to closure. She argues that awareness of these stages is very important to successful mentoring. During the stage of preparing, mentor and mentee assess their mutual interest, motivation, and ability to engage in the mentoring relationship. During the stage of negotiation, they decide the details of their contact and schedules. During the enabling stage, the mentor nurtures the mentee's growth by establishing an open and respectful learning climate and by providing thoughtful feedback. Finally, during the closure phase, the two parties evaluate and celebrate learning achievements and extend them to other situations.
This sort of "workbook" is not for everyone. Some readers break out in hives when they see exercises that require them to fill in the blanks, complete the sentences, or reflect in writing. For them, Laurent Daloz's book Mentor might be a better choice. Like Zachary's book, it centers on the metaphor of the transformational journey and it is solidly based on adult development theory. And like Zachary, Daloz has taken a constructivist viewpoint: "Education is neither something we ‘give’ nor ‘do’ to our students. Rather, it is a way we stand in relation to them" (p. xvii, Daloz's italics). But here the similarity ends.
Daloz's book grew out of the study of one-to-one teacher—learner relationships, and it never ventures far from these. Zachary's book grew out of her experience in the business world, where she worked within a variety of relationships and institutions. Although both authors successfully use stories to illustrate their points, Zachary punctuates her text with brief anecdotes that usually illustrate a specific strategy or principle, whereas Daloz introduces stories early on that he refers to throughout the book to illustrate theory. Indeed, Daloz's Mentor is a highly theoretical book. Readers familiar with the developmental literature will delight in his clear description and application to mentoring of the theories of Belenky, Brookfield, Erikson, Freire, Gilligan, Kegan, Kohlberg, Loevinger, Mezirow, Piaget, Palmer, and Perry, to give only a partial list.
Which book should you purchase? Publishers usually seek complementary books, not competing ones, and these two, both published by Jossey-Bass, are no exception. I use the exercises, lists, and strategies from Zachary's book for designing workshops on mentoring and coaching mentors. I use Daloz's book to connect mentoring to my own theoretical framework and those of the mentors whom I help.