COE prof Kamden Strunk publishes article on harm reduction in teaching quantitative methods

November 15, 2021

Kamden StrunkKamden Strunk, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology, recently published an article in Inside Higher Ed. Entitled “Equity and Justice in Teaching Quantitative Methods,” the article states that while methods are often considered value-free and unbiased, instructors must recognize how classroom practices can reinforce oppressive ideologies and narratives. He documents the historical entanglements of quantitative methods (and the people who created them) with oppressive and discriminatory intellectual traditions like eugenics. Given those entanglements, Strunk presents some practical suggestions for instructors teaching quantitative methods to engage with and work through the histories of these methods and their contemporary applications.

“This is a short essay that arises from my writings on equity and justice in quantitative methods,” Strunk said. “The focus is on some basic moves that all quantitative methods instructors can make in the way of harm reduction, as well as more advanced moves to center equity and justice work in their teaching.”

In the essay, Strunk writes that quantitative methods and the courses in which they are taught often come across as if they are neutral, value-free and unbiased.

“However, the history of quantitative methods demonstrates an entanglement with eugenics, sexism, heterosexism, ableism and colonialism,” Strunk said. “Researchers have begun to grapple with those issues and propose ways forward in quantitative methods. But what about the courses? How might quantitative methods courses and their instructors — possibly unintentionally — contribute to and reify oppressive ideologies?”

The goal is to help instructors move toward equity in their teaching and course designs.

Strunk is the author of two research methods textbooks (one focused on SPSS software, and the other on jamovi software) as well as a free online supplement designed to help instructors incorporate research on racism into their methods coursework.

The article in its entirety is available online.