It looks like I am faced with exactly the same issue I faced when I conceived of the idea of doing a PhD. Ended up writing two of the three PhD proposals: one in education, one in economics, and the other I didn’t complete, one in psychology and mathematics. That was two years ago. After a year’s PhD, I have not defined ABC State, introduced Reflexive Reading which is a deep contribution which lends itself to vector-intent and XQ (ie psychology and mathematics) and organic sharing (ie economics hack). I have much more detail on the academic landscape. The mess (as in Ackoff’s term, the mess as opposed to a well defined problem) that is the interface of academia and practice in schools, the mess of theory and method post- post-modernism. The attempt to retain simplistic concepts, render them manageable and analysable and researchable, at the expense of finding application in the real world. The misplacement of ethics, the invisible subject (Roth), the need to evoke the categorical imperative (Kant) as the basis for ethical praxis. and transformative praxis (Bhaskar).
I am confident with Reflexive Reading. I think it is feasible to create a reasonable research project. The ABC State too. The maths, economics, of course because we’ve built a tool that operates it. These are empirical research projects: in each case we can conduct an experiment, and see what the results are. The philosophical or epistemological basis are rooted in several blindspots in academia, however, and my way of navigating this has not met with recognition or acceptance. Therefore, they will continue to appear ‘weak’. Hence the attempt to mathematise Reflexive Reading. This underpins all of them: a mathematical description which relates to the nominal data of ABC, the readership of Reflexive Reading (and social accountability), and the intention-projection of economic. Basically, how number is used for social organisation.
For example, the DIKW ladder in relation to the longitudinal ‘data’ that ABC State derives, the ‘information’ it has for participants (the relationship of their own behaviour to collective state) versus academics (a degree of social cohesion or coherence to group of people); the ‘knowledge’ it contains for teachers and students (namely the reframing of the teacher-student relationship in terms of authority, ie adult-institution empowerment); and ‘wisdom’ as it correlates to the ‘internally persuasive discourse’ (Bakhtin, but also Schon’s ‘reflective contract’ and Doll’s ‘dissipated control’).
The Path Ahead
Do all three simultaneously. This is what I had planned originally, and separated and attempted linearly. This has failed to meet with institutional acceptance. I can’t compute the additional institutional complexity, so let’s do it my way and run all three simultaneously. After all, what is my failure in comparison to the rate of loss globally because of institutional intraction? (And yes, I know that word is invented, but I don’t like the noun form of ‘intractability’ or ‘intractableness’?)