UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Knowing "knowledge": explorations with youth and other thinking friends Nicholson, Diana Jayne


This thesis sketches my foray into an inquiry with youth; an inquiry which aimed to inquire into beliefs about “knowledge” while simultaneously inquiring into how I enacted knowledge in my research practices. Inquiry into beliefs about knowledge – what knowledge means, where knowledge comes from, who knows (and who doesn’t) – was undertaken to gain insight into how knowledge is known and the effects of conceptions of knowledge on daily living. Beginning with the assumption that beliefs about abstract concepts, such as knowledge, tend to be held implicitly and therefore elude critique and revision, I created an experimental inquiry process to explore the possibility of surfacing beliefs about knowledge with youth through the use of interactive activities. The interactive activities were designed to reduce the abstraction of “knowledge” and facilitate thinking about knowledge as situated concretely in day-to-day life. Feminist pragmatism supported the impetus for the inquiry and the interactive imperative for the inquiry explorations, and also informed the interpretation of texts generated in the inquiry. Through bringing together the voices of youth with the voices of other thinking friends, the relevance and significance of youth’s insights into how knowledge is known is made apparent, and is also foregrounded in proposed considerations for teaching-learning encounters. The inquiry also served to transform how I think about and respond to the enduring challenges associated with the knowledge work of my research practice.

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