Concluding Remarks.

Research can stress different aspects of the situation described above. One can leave the Subject's Question-side open, this means that within a certain context defined by the Researcher, the Subjects are free to ask Questions themselves, which results in the Answer-side also being open. To draw conclusions from these Answers is very difficult. One could say that they have descriptive value and no explanatory value. What is to be done? We could restrict the Subjects Question side in allowing them to perform a task in their own way. This means that the Subjects Answer-side is open but the Question-side is closed. The Researcher has to define criteria in order to find out whether the task has been successfully completed. Although this situation is more restricted than the former, there is still no control on how the Subjects interpret the task. They can act on the basis of totally different task-completion criteria. Both approaches suffer from the disease of the infinite alternative.

Now if we restrict both sides, the Researcher's and Subjects Question and Answer side, we are faced with a repeatable, controllable, predictable situation. When Subjects give the same Answers to the same Questions and they are in correspondence with the Researcher's Answers, we can say that the Subjects have the same task interpretation as the Researcher.

The whole research-problem now shifts from Question and Answer side, to the process-side of the problem. The Researcher's question becomes: How does a subject arrive from Question to Answer? How does it work? The researcher has to explain this step.

Finding itself between a double pair of known-poles research must try to manipulate the process in such a way that we are able to predict the outcome of it. In order to do so, we need a situation that allows changes to be brought in, and this is the process-open QA-closed condition.

Now, if we do wish to influence the Answer-side within this approach there has to be a strong relation between the events E1,1 and E1,2. Both should consist for the most part of strong resemblances, but contain, on the other hand, crucial differences to be defined by the researcher. The crucial difference between both E's is directly related to the researcher's ideas of development of the process and the knowlege used in the process.

To summarize: the process proceeds in steps, and there is relatedness between the steps (organisation). In a more descriptive way: when the process reaches a particular stage in interaction with some event (this means limitation of answer possibilities, or higher probability of some answers being given), certain expectations are built up. It depends on the event in which way these expectations are confirmed or denied. If most of the built-up expectations are confirmed and a few are not, only a few corrections in the process have to be made in order to continue. The process-continuation stands in a very direct relation to knowledge that has been built up beforehand. If we make explicit what necessary steps the process has to make in order to reach the answer, we are able to predict the answer in terms of the differences of the changing event. The differences are operationalised in conditions beforehand. So different conditions produce different answer probabilities. If we find this, we can say that, from the researcher's point of view, knowledge has now been established about the working of the process and the knowledge used within the Subject.
Those theorists who put emphasis on ecological validity, arguing that within the laboratory situation we cannot obtain useful information, because this situation is too limited, do not see that it takes limitation in order to find (see!) something at all.

As indicated before, the step from Q to A is not restricted beforehand on the process-side!

Every subject is free to come in her/his own way to an answer.

There are of course situations where it is very difficult to create a task situation from which the researcher can draw the conclusion that the Subject has the same task-interpretation as the Researcher (Process-closed QA-open condition). However, if the Researcher finds such a situation, from there she/he can turn to the process-open QA-closed condition to disclose the knowledge of the subject. The process-closed QA-open condition is a necessary condition for the Process-open QA-closed condition.

In this paper no differentiation has been made between the various modes of perceiving, e.g. visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, etc. Because from a theoretical point of view, all these approaches are confronted with the same problem on the process-side! It is only a matter of the researcher's preference and skill whether one, two or more areas are selected.

In order to conduct research oriented towards the process-Side, it is necessary:

-to find a process-closed QA-open condition (repeatable task, same answers every time).
-make explicit statements about the process and the knowledge involved.
-create a process-open QA-closed condition in order to test the statements about the process and the knowledge involved.

Arnhem, 23-06-1981 

This text is preceding the actual research I reported.