Last week’s reading and discussion of the divide between rational and interpretive ways of thinking echoed a tension running through a research project that I am conducting this semester. I have a group of 11 students who are doing research on the Russian Flu (1889-1890). Some students have majors in history, but others are in business, biomedical engineering, biological sciences, and other scientific fields. Ten (of the eleven) also have the capacity to read source materials in languages other than English (Spanish, German, or French), which was part of the criteria for selecting them. The topic lends itself to quantitative analysis by looking at numbers of cases or deaths (hence the rational approach) but the nature of the source materials tends to defy quantification because they are incomplete, partial, or subjective (leading to a more interpretive approach). It’s been interesting working with the students on resolving these tensions — and having this experience running parallel to the NMS discussions.