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Bringing a complex systems perspective to bear on classroom-oriented research challenges researchers to think differently, seeing the classroom ecology as one dynamic system nested in a hierarchy of such systems at different levels of scale, all of which are spatially and temporally situated. This article begins with an introduction to complex dynamic systems theory, in which challenges to traditional ways of conducting classroom research are interwoven. It concludes with suggestions for research methods that are more consistent with the theory. Research does not become easier when approached from a complex systems perspective, but it has the virtue of reflecting the way the world works.
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