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A QUANTITATIVE SYSTEM FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF INITIAL ORGANIZATIONAL NEEDS IN TRANSDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the College of Natural Science Michigan State University

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science

by

David Gordon Gossman

June 1979

CHAPTER VII

SPECIALTY PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCES

The second step in the assessment of initial organizational needs involves the quantative determination of specialty philosophical differences. There are most certainly a number of ways in which this might have been accomplished and it may be that a method other than that which has been choosen will prove superior. The method that has been chosen, however, does provide a base from which further development can take place and seems to provide results which are congruent with the stated system's goals.

I. THE PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSIONS OF A SPECIALTY

In order for this subsystem to correlate well with the overall system goals, it is logical that the philosophical dimensions used to differentiate one specialty from another be functional in nature. If the nature of scientific research is examined, there seem to be, perhaps arbitrarily so, three different research methods or stages.

From a dynamic point of view, these three functional dimensions appear to be stages in a process. The first stage involves the naming and organizing of newly observed phenomena. In the second stage, the new phenomena is conceptualized. This provides the researcher with an intuitive understanding of the new phenomena. The third state involves the translating of this intuitive understanding into a logical quantitative system. This process can occur in a few seconds or over a few centuries, depending on the nature of the phenomena and human minds involved. It is easy to see that different specialties give different amounts of emphasis to these three stages of research. In fact, if a static point of view is taken, the three stages appear to be three different research methods. Thus the research method of a particular specialty will most likely be some disproportionate blend of these three basic methods.

Heretofore these basic research methods will be referred to as philosophical dimensions and for convenience will be called observational (O), conceptual (C), and quantitative (Q). The quantitative evaluation of each specialty's philosophy will involve assigning a number to each dimension so that the sum of their three values will be one hundred.

Now is it necessary to devise a system of evaluation which when applied to a given specialty will provide the numbers for each of these philosophical dimensions. These numerical results must reflect the emphasis of the research method of this specialty. Again, the choice of systems was perhaps arbitrary and was chosen primarily because of its convenience. This system involves the analysis of the content of textbooks used to teach the specialty being evaluated.

II. TEXT ANALYSIS

Choosing the text. The first step in the quanative philosophical analysis of a specific specialty is therefore the choosing of a generally accepted text which is actively used in teaching the specialty. The text should be one which has wide appeal in the teaching community and is specifically used to teach the specialty undergoing the analysis. It is sometimes necessary to use only a portion of a text in order to better focus in on the specialty. Table VII-1 gives some examples of specialties and texts which could be used for analysis.

TABLE VII-1 EXAMPLE SPECIALTIES AND GENERALLY ACCEPTED TEXTS*
 

Speciality Text and Author
Holography Principalsof Holography by Smith
Optics Optics by Hecht and Zajac
Solid State Physics Introduction to Solid State Physics by Kittel
Subatomic Physics Subatomic Physics by Frauenfelder and Henley
Quantum Electronics Quantum Electronics by Yariv
Physical Chemistry Physical Chemistry by Moore
Theoretical Analytical Chemistry Chemical Analysis by Laitenen and Harris
Organic Chemistry Organic Chemistry by Morrison and Boyd
Cellular Biology Cell Biology by Dyson
Geophysics Physics of the Earth by Stacey
Exploratory Geophysics Applied Geophysics by Telford, et. al.
Mineralogy Dana's Manual of Mineralogy by Hurlbut
Physical Climatology Atmospheric Circulation Systems by Palmen and Newton
Digital Data Analysis Discrete Time Systems by Cadzow
Operations Research Principles of Operation Research by Wagner

*Complete bibliographical material for each text can be found in the bibliography.

Individual page analysis. Once the text has been chosen, each page is individually analyzed for content. This must be done for all applicable pages in the text. Pages which are not applicable include title page, preface, index, problems and other pages which do not include information which is part of the specialty being analyzed. Appendices and example problems may be used at the discretion of the individual doing the analysis.

The analysis for content consists of apportioning each page into the following seven content areas:

(A) Algebraic formula derivation

(Fg) Geometrical figures

(Fc) Conceptual figures

(Tc) Conceptual text on principals

(Ti) Conceptual text on instrumentation and data analysis

(Tt) Technical text on instrumentation and data analysis

(P) Photographs

Each of these areas is assigned a value according to how much of each page, measured vertically, is dedicated to that particular area. (See Appendix A for examples.) Guidelines for the assignment of these values and the initial apportionment follow:

(1) All values should be rounded off to whole numbers.

(2) All values must total ten for each full page.

(3) Pictures of raw data (such as seismograms) are divided equally between P and Fc.

(4) (A) Algebraic Formula Derivations include formulas and their derivations plus any connecting text often interposed between portions of a derivation.

(5) (Fg) Geometrical Figures are usually associated with algebraic formula derivations and are primarily used to graphically show the relationships between variables in the formulas.

(6) (Fc) Conceptual Figures are usually associated with an explanation of something in the written text.

(7) (Tc) Conceptual Text on Principles involves the discussion and explanation of the concepts, definitions, and classifications of the subject matter.

(8) (Ti) Conceptual Text on Instrumentation and Data Interpretation is a general discussion of instrumentation and data interpretation in the specialty.

(9) (Tt) Technical Text on Instrumentation and Data Interpretation involves technical explanations of instrument operation and functioning plus the technical and many times quantitative analysis of data. This frequently involves quantitative examples.

(10) (P) Photographs include any photo of anything including such items as instrumentation, micro-photographs, etc.

Finally the (N) number of references to imperial data is counted for each page. This includes one (N) for each photograph, literature reference or table of data.

Overall text analysis. The final step of the text analysis is to determine the average values for the seven content areas and for the non-content area (N). These values will then be used in formulas which will provide values for the philosophical dimensions of (O), (C) and (Q). Appendix B has two examples of data taken from appropriate texts. The data is this appendix will be used later in the determination of (O), (C) and (Q) for these two example specialties.

III. THE QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION OF THE PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSIONS

Once the eight values just discussed have been calculated for a given text, they are placed into the following three formulas in order to determine the values of (O), (C) and (Q).

O = ((10/a)N) + ((Tt + Ti / 2) +P) (10-(N/a))

C = (Tc + Fc + (Ti / 2)) (10-(N/a))

Q = (A = Fg + (Tt /2)) (10-N/a)

These three formulas provide (O), (C) and (Q) with values such that:

O + C + Q = 100.

There is one additional factor is the formula that has not yet been discussed. This factor is "a", which is the inverse weighing factor on (N). This was made necessary by the non-content nature of (N). This was made necessary by the non-content nature of (N). The value of "a" must be decided by the individual doing the philosophical analysis. (a), however, must remain constant for a given set of compared specialties. For the two specialties analyzed in Appendix B, the best results appear when:

a = 0.5

This can be seen in Table VII-2 where different values of (a) are used in the calculation of (O), (C) and (Q) for the two specialties.

IV. COMPARISON AND REPRESENTATION OF QUANTITATIVE SPECIALTY PHILOSOPHICAL VALUES

There are a number of alternatives for representing the results of this analysis. One relatively simple method with good visual results is to graph the values for (O), (C) and (Q) on a triangular-triple axis graph as in Figure VII-1.

In order to find the quantative philosophical differences between two specialties (with values ranging from zero to one hundred), a standard Euclidean difference formula can be applied to the philosophical dimensions of the two specialties as seen in the following formula,

Pab = ((Qa - Qb)2 + (Oa - Ob)2 + (Ca - Cb)2)

(Pab) is therefore the quantitative philosophical difference between specialties A and B.

This value (Pab) after dividing it by one hundred can be placed in the appropriate location of a matrix similar to the matrix developed in Chapter VI. This matrix, to be referred to as the philosophical matrix, will have zeros along, and by symmetric across, the diagonal. R&D management personnel should have zeros in their rows and columns since these personnel will be chosen in such a way as to minimize these differences in any needed edges of the final organizational graph. Figure VII-2 shows the philosophical matrix for specialists A, B, C and D, and for R&D management personnel X.

The philosophical matrix will be used later in the determination of complexity values and also in the determination of the final organizational graph.

TABLE VII-2 COMPARISON OF (O), (C) AND (Q) FOR DIFFERENT VALUES OF (a) Quantum Chemistry
 

a O C Q
v 0.0 41.9 58.1
1.0 1.7 41.2 57.1
0.5 3.4 40.5 56.1
0.2 8.5 38.3 53.2

Seismology
 

a O C Q
v 24.3 52.1 23.7
5.0 25.2 51.5 23.4
2.0 26.5 50.6 23.0
1.0 28.6 49.1 22.3
0.5 32.9 46.2 21.0
0.2 45.9 37.3 17.0

FIGURE VII-1 TRIANGULAR GRAPH OF QUANTITATIVE PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS

Shown are Exploratory Seismology (21, 33, 46) and Quantum Chemistry (56, 3, 41).
 

    R e c e i v e r
    A B C D X
  A O PAB PAC PAD O
S

e

n

d

e

r

B PAB O PBC PBD O
C PAC PBC O PCD O
D PAD PBD PCD O O
  X O O O O O

Specialists A, B, C, and D;  R&D Manager X

FIGURE VII-2 PHILOSOPHICAL MATRIX

Continue to Chapter VIII