Whose Extension Counts? A Plurality of Extensions and Their Implications for Credible Evidence Debates
The debate over what counts as credible evidence often occurs on a methodological level (i.e., about what technical applications of systematic inquiry provide believable, justifiable claims about a program). Less often, it occurs on an epistemological level (i.e., about what ways of knowing are appropriate for making claims about a program). Even less often, the debate touches on ontological concerns (i.e., about what conceptualizations of reality, in general or in relation to a specific program, are in play when we wish to make claims about that program). For example, whether we understand Extension to be a vehicle for the dissemination of scientific knowledge or a site of grassroots democracy matters when we seek to evaluate Extension with credibility. The purpose of this paper is to examine the credible evidence debates through an ontological lens, showing why and how different narratives (or different realities) of Extension must be considered when we seek credible evidence about Extension.
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