RT Journal DB /z-wcorg/ DS http://worldcat.org ID 439685012 LA English T1 The Social Construction of Data: Methodological Problems of Investigating Learning in the Zone of Proximal Development A1 Smagorinsky, Peter, PB Sage Publications YR 1995 SN 0034-6543 JF Review of Educational Research VO 65 IS 3 SP 191 OP 212 AB Educational researchers have traditionally drawn on procedures and metaphors from the hard sciences to guide their thinking about methodological issues. One frequently invoked metaphor is that of the purity of data, which a researcher can contaminate through the process of investigation. This article questions the appropriateness of the purity metaphor, using a perspective provided by Vygotsky's notion of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) and its emphasis on a genetic method in which development is mediated by cultural tools and signs. Methodological problems emerging from this conception of the ZPD-including problems of defining research, identifying an appropriate unit of analysis, considering the relationship between evidence and telos (an optimal sense of development), and accounting for the mediational role of assessment-are reviewed. Finally, the work of Luria (1976) is examined from the neo-Vygotskian perspective developed in this article.