Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sung Woo, The last and may be the longest.

1. I sympathize with Potter that quantitative studies are reductionist(259). He mainly pointed to the content analysis. But I think, often in social science, and notably in our field, scholars tend to study only those variables that are quantifiable, rather than quantifying the variable. Question remains however, is qualitative research free from this accusation?

2. The terminology of convergence that Potter used, or blurred genres is really blurred. There could be various patterns of convergence, he stopped short of specifying what type he is aiming towards. There may be a tendency to assimilate between approaches, or one complimenting the other, or one becoming a main and the other a sub. Also, since his book was from 1990s, I’d like to know what the latest trend is. I mean, who is winning? Isn’t there a study that analyzed major publications?

3. Some scholars see qualitative approach as having and antecedent value (306). Actually this is what I had gathered while doing assignments for this course. Focus group, participant observation or reception analysis gave me ideas and intuitions for future studies. And numbers of cross-national comparative studies I read used extensive case studies to establish a typology , then moved on to quantitative analysis. I have a proposition. Why don’t we discuss Dr.Harp and Ingrid’s paper that had both quantitative and qualitative method, and talk about which should have been the main and which should have been the sub.

4. I think Potter gave a very nice descriptions about why qualitative and quantitative approach are destined to be complimentary, and what quantitative can’t do what qualitative can. For example, “there is a premium placed on more phenomenological research where there are no prior expectations” (318). For me, joy of doing qualitative assignments was to find something that was not conceived before. Put it simply, I was glad when I got something unexpected in doing qualitative work, whereas when doing quantitative study, the joy was when I got the expected result.

5. Potter argued the most important force behind convergence is the desire of scholars to want it happen(331). I disagree. The most important force behind convergence is that both the quantitative and qualitative approaches are imperfect. And the most important force against convergence is scholars who don’t want it to happen.

Yu kun's questions

From page 251 to 251, potter discussed the issue of barriers to enter the field of qualitative study. But the barriers he listed also could be found in the quantitative studies. In my opinion I would say the author had an assumption that quantitative studies dominated the field of mass communication. Based on this assumption, all scholars have quantitative backgrounds or must be familiar with the quantitative methods. However, if observed this issue from the historical pattern, we could find that qualitative methods were developed before their counterparts.
From page 265 to 266, the author quoted Toulmin’s argument that “In sciences and humanities alike, we must be prepared to consider the products of human imagination and creation---whether idea or artifacts, poems or theories---from a variety of different points of view”. In my personal opinion, the aim of our research is to solve the problem in this world. But I find quantitative studies can limit our imagination and the issues we can study. On the other hand, qualitative studies can give us more flexibility. Issues in the field of qualitative studies are more interesting.
In page 275 and 276, the author discussed the lack of guidance on methods. I believe that the qualitative methods or theories are so comprehensive that it is impossible to establish a framework to include every methods or theories. In addition, there are still a lot of debates about the communication theory which stand on the shoulders of other fields such as political science and sociology. In the field of qualitative studies, the evidence of borrowing the concepts from the other fields is more obvious.
In page 291, the author indicate generalizing is the direction that scholars in qualitative studies have to go. But I doubt how the qualitative studies can do this. Like what he mentions in page 292” This is a paradox to say that the more specific the descriptions, the more general the results”. In this issue, we need new thinking to deal with this paradox.
About the issue of convergence of those two fields, in my opinion, those two fields all have their own characteristics. Instead of using the term “convergence”, I would prefer to use the term “complement”. The research methods are different tools for me. Facing different issues, I will decide which tools I can use. Will you expect the convergence of the glut and the knife? Because their functions are totally different, the answer is no.

Yonghwan's questions

1. It has been stated that “if the scholars who identify with the term qualitative are to show that they have formed a community, then they need to show some conceptual cohesiveness” (Potter, p. 249). What’s meant by conceptual cohesiveness, and what seem to be examples of showing some conceptual cohesiveness?

2. It is very interesting to see technical terms as barriers to enter qualitative research community. And I totally agree with a statement that neophytes must learn the specialized language consisting of technical terms that are the tools that scholars use to access the ideas that are important to the area; however, some languages exhibit characteristics that make them more difficult than others. It seems to me that it can be a very similar case in quantitative research; for instance, statistical knowledge is very important to the area of quantitative research and sometimes makes people who are not familiar with quantitative concepts hard to enter this area. Then what seems to be examples of technical terms we as graduate students or neophytes must know? I think we haven’t have many chances to get familiar with these important key technical terms (e.g., ideology—what kind of ideologies?, hegemony—what kind of hegemony and between which groups?, semiotics, symbol, deconstruction, signified and signifier, what else?).

3. It seems to me that technical term in critical studies is important given that the deconstruction (?) of meaning and power relationships is complicated so that it requires complex or complicated tool to analyze them. This is just my general sense. What is original purpose of (difficult to understand) technical terms in qualitative research? Why it should be that hard?

4. Continued to technical terms, then, who seem to be readers of qualitative research? Only for a community of qualitative research, not for ordinary public? I am not saying quantitative research is for both a community of quantitative research and ordinary people and ordinary people like to read academic quantitative research, even though I’ve been told that quantitative articles should be written easy to read for ordinary people. Qualitative research, however, seems to more focus on its own community.

5. It seems to me that both qualitative and qualitative scholars tend not to consider convergence of both paradigms that much when it comes to writing a research paper. If this is the case, what seem to be reasons of this? If this is not the case, to what extent and how convergence has been done?

Marcus' questions

Q1) I was surprised by Potter’s comment about researchers rarely building on each other’s work. Then why does it take longer to write lit reviews than any other section of a paper? It seems like there’s a lot more consolidation of academic ideas than he’s admitting. I understand that he’s noting a difference between consolidation and cooperation, and that qualitative research is fairly fragmented, but I still wonder if he’s taking it a bit too far.

Q2) Richardson made me want to turn the tables a bit. He argues that much qualitative research, when written, is “boring” because of limitations on language needed to get published, and that qualitative research – the search for “meaning” – can’t be hamstrung like that. So, I’d ask … what is “boring?” How do you define “boring?” Can “meaning” not be found through “boring,” or is “meaning” the opposite of “boring?” Sports use rules, are they “boring?” What about poetry, which often has regulated verse? You can’t use abstract, personality-based concepts to criticize a lack of abstract, personality-based values; that’s the whole point of quantitative research, that everyone has a set starting point and can draw whatever conclusions they want from the data. I understand what he’s saying, that he wants readers and researchers to be more open minded, but he’s also setting himself up for criticism.

Q3) I think “convergence” is a really qualitative way of looking at the topic of academic integration. I understand that quantitative research is the standard, and that it is a kind of power structure; but just the term “convergence” implies a melding of minds, more conglomeration than cooperation, and I’m not sure that’s the best way to boost the status of qualitative research. I think the better appeal to conventional quantitative researchers would be a representation argument, making the point that the field is expanding into qualitative fields and particular institutions risk being left behind without staffing to meet that expansion. There’s also a capitalist argument – OMG, I used that word again! Beware, the hegemon speaketh! :) - that most grad students base their enrollment on detailed programs and research interests, not regional concerns or cultural loyalty (like most undergrads and myself). So, the school with the most diverse repertoire stands to gain the best and brightest graduate students, which would definitely make sense to a quantitative dean. “Convergence,” I don’t think, would carry the same weight.

Q4) I’ve also been thinking about Dr. Jensen’s comment last week that journalism departments are an awkward concoction of disciplines, theories and work experiences. That made particular sense coming from him, since from what I could gather, none of his pornography research has focused on news media, or “journalism.” It’s media research, certainly, but not traditional news media; yet he’s at the j-school, not RTF or Comm Studies. So if there’s a fuzzy difference between the disciplines anyway, and other branches are more open to qualitative research, then how much carryover is there from journalism grad programs to RTF or Comm Studies programs? This will sound tacky, but if qualitative researchers are doing the same work next door and having a party, why keep arguing with the bouncers outside the j-schools? Like I said, it sounds tacky, and I like the idea of qualitative research in journalism – that’s why I’m taking this class – but still, I may be in the minority.

Q5) I also liked the discussion about personally constructed reality, and I think it does speak to the heart of qualitative research … I just don’t agree with it. Either it’s raining or it’s not, and everybody knows which. So is that one of the fundamental gulfs between qualitative and quantitative research, or are their quals that like the idea of an objective reality?

ALEX Questions - Nov. 23

Q1 – Potter writes (p. 249) that researchers “rarely build on each others work,” in systematic ways that lead to a shared definition of concepts, adding to “clutter.” This seems like a critique, but there are advantages to redefining concepts. The criticism implies that research is haphazard and doesn’t add to collective knowledge. Isn’t that the point of research? To add to collective knowledge and to build on each other’swork? Or is Potter’s point merely the fact that methodologies are so varied that it’s almost like comparing apples to oranges?

Q2 – Potter goes on to comment on the “barriers to entry” within qualitative fields and how lowering the barriers promotes a diversity of approaches and fresh ideas. Is this practically true or a romantic ideal? At the very least, it assumes one has to have a PhD to be allowed entry, or at the least be a PhD student or candidate. Can any neophyte who learns the language and ways of the system and the correct academic jargon reaally have entry into these fields?

Q3 – It seems that Potter’s early point is that definition is everything. He makes semiotic arguments of how appropriate technical language is used by different researchers within different fields. Proper use of technical terms as opposed to common language seems to be the academic code to participation. Is this the key to acceptance?

Q4 – Potter’s whole question about “community” whether it be national or regional or technical or academic or subcommunity is easy for me to understand as a Latino. The concept of dual-indentities or even multiple identities is not difficult for me. I can be a Mexican, Mexican-American, Tejano, Chicano, Latino, Austinite, UT-football fan, Texas football fan, Mexican futbol fan, etc., and still be an American. Much of it depends on the context. Does Potter believe that the context is unclear in his criticism of community?

Q5 – Potter criticizes poorly written justifications for use of methodologies in qualitative studies, and I believe rightly so. Well-written justifications are extremely helpful. I always thought that the method depended on the research goals. Obviously, external practical considerations also play into it. Are there researchers who focus on just one method and try to make all of their studies fit their method simply because they find they can do that method well?