We will briefly present here a practical application of agora made by the author of the theory Leonardo Viana in his Doctorate at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. As a professional working in the field of Education, especially Distance Education, he decided to explore this field to delve into a theme that had long intrigued him: prejudice against Distance Education in Brazil.
So he immersed himself in the studies of the technique of evocation of words – a methodology widely used by the Frenchman Jean Claude Abric in the field of social representations – to then make up his own, which eventually became a methodological theory: the Agora.
Leonardo applied the technique of evocation in more than 42,000 people who wanted to apply for the entrance exam of a distance learning institution (Cederj – Center for Distance Higher Education of the State of Rio de Janeiro). The research participants went through two stages:
1st They were invited to mention/evoke five words that, in their opinion, qualified distance education.
2nd They should mention five more words that they thought other people thought about distance education.
It was then that the study psychologically contemplated the opinions related to the ego (I) and the alter (the other), a point that gives the author an originality in the studies of the area, as it is detailed in the explanations of the theory.
Figure 1: Illustration of the research dynamics.
To cross-reference so much data (after all, there were 42,000 people!), Leonardo Viana has innovated once again: he created the AgoraTech system to manage this volume, with the technical support of computer programmers. Discover AgoraTech!
As a result of the interviews, it was highlighted that, in most cases, the prejudice against the Distance Education modality was mainly constituted by the appearance of negative opinions that, curiously, were verified only in what the person thinks the other thinks (alter) and not in what the person himself (I).
From these results, it was possible to form agoras, wich are groups of related thoughts. For example:
Agora A: people who think that Distance Education is a difficult way of studying, but who think others consider it easy.
Agora B: people who think that Distance Education is of poor quality and who think that others also consider it that way.
In another approach, different from the technique of evocation of words, information regarding age group, housing and socioeconomic aspects was also collected in the research. From data like these, it was possible to obtain results by crossing with the words evoked. See this:
It was found that the agora formed by the word comfort was associated with a more advanced age group, wich means that the older the age group, the more they look for comfort.
Therefore the research,by the configuration of the agoras and in the face of the great population observed, allowed to broaden the understanding on the theme of prejudice against Distance Education. The analysis of the results were based on the theory of the ecology of the senses of professor emeritus of the Université de Montréal and professor and researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Milton Campos, who was mentor of the doctoral thesis of Leonardo Viana (author of the Agora theory). On his theory, he tried to capture and understand the historical and sociocultural contexts that influenced the responses of the study participants. The results were also analyzed based on the theory of dialogicity of the British Ivana Marková, researcher and emeritus professor at the University of Stirlingnas of the United Kingdom, with reflections on the connection between the self (ego), the other (alter) and the Distance Education (object).
See a practical application case, click here.
Learn how to use agora, click here.
Agora in the corporate world, click here.
The Agora in the academic world, click here.
Meet the survey with 42,000 people that originated Agora, click here.
See also how to create the Agora system, click here.
The thesis that originated the Agora System, click here.