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Example Research and Development Program Proposal

Most thinking about research in Bowen Theory occurs at the theoretical level. This is understandable considering almost all of the applicable literature on Bowen Theory is written at that level. That theoretical level means wrestling with concepts which is a logical task.

Organizing a data-driven research project is not straightforward given this state of the literature and practice. The first problem is that many of the terms in Bowen Theory do not translate directly into observable markers suitable for developing quality data at scale. This is because the inter-rater reliability of the terms is not very high. In other words, the level of subjectivity in technical terms from theory becomes immediately apparent to anyone who rigorously asks a question like: where is the evidence for that observation being anxiety? Or the same question for any of the other terms from theory, like differentiation, conflict, projection, etc. This fact about the lack of precision in these technical terms for data-driven research is not well known.

A solution to this is to begin tracking example observations and case data in a standardized format so that definitions of these terms may be critiqued and refined using concrete data. This, in turn, requires a standardized format to record and compare the data, and this requires a homogenous research program to ensure that the data is recorded in any level of quality.

Further, this is the Wild West of research in Bowen Theory. Experience in the App Seminar shows that a whole lot would be learned quite quickly in the early stages of such a research program and so it would need to adapt quickly. Defining a program upfront in a traditional manner would be too inflexible to adapt this quickly.

Defining such a program in enough detail to apply for funding is no simple task. It would require deep technical knowledge about theory, it’s current strengths and weakness as science, knowledge about constructing data models and managing databases, and knowledge about how organize and lead research and development teams that need to adapt quickly to new findings. It would also require technical knowledge and competence in a tool sophisticated enough to research Bowen Theory in a substantial manner, and the only such tool is currently the Family Diagram app.

The following document is one possible program definition that would accomplish this. It outlines in detail the personnel, resources, mandates, wish-list, projections, and team processes to do all of the above in an extremely lightweight, efficient format. It could be a starting point for others to define a different program, or begin a conversation about funding to implement this program. Click here to view the document:

Please certainly reach out to Dr. Stinson @ AFS for any questions, feedback, or inquiries.

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