Frames of Reference
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Frames of reference are meta-cognitive models through which researchers reconstruct the phenomena into intelligible explanatory narratives. These frames guide the actions of the researchers by giving them general orientation of how to look at the complex phenomena. They belong to the class of meta-codes (general assumptions) with theory building. Of the four, intra-systemic and inter-systemic reference frames are context-free. Comparisons that are made do not include any relation of the systems involved with their contexts. Yet we know that all biological, psychological, and social systems are open systems—they depend in their existence upon the exchange relation with their environment. They are profoundly context bound. Two other reference frames fit here. The individual-ecological frame entails the look at the ongoing exchange relations of the organism with the environment. The individual-socioecological frame is an extension of the individual-ecological frame as it adds to its structure the role of external guidance by goal-oriented others. The self-model of George Herbert Mead is presented as an example.
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