Sunday, September 20, 2009

Teresa's questions

  1. Potter’s book asserts that synonyms associated with qualitative research are the following: interpretation, ethnography, humanism, postpositivism, cultural studies, feminism among others. Then, when he describes different qualitative methodologies, he also names ethnography, reception studies, and cultural studies. I think this is confusing and he mixes what according to me are different concepts. I may be wrong but for me cultural studies, critical studies, feminism are theoretical approaches while ethnography and reception studies are different qualitative methods. Although I understand they are related, there are not the same thing or cannot be described as synonyms. I agree that most investigations guided by critical or cultural theories use qualitative methods, although it is not a necessary link. For example, although the most obvious way to investigate hegemony is using qualitative tools, I also think it is possible to do it through a quantitative analysis.
  2. In a similar vein, I wonder whether there are different qualitative methodologies of data gathering (i.e., ethnography, interviews, reception studies) while others are methods of data analysis (i.e., textual or semiotic analysis). For example, the interviews’ texts or field notes have to be textually analyzed. If I think about the quantitative approach, a survey or an experiment is a method of data gathering while there are different statistical tools to analyze that data. Therefore, although these qualitative methods are often put together, I wonder whether they represent different steps.
  3. After reading the article on triangulation, I am not clear on one thing: Does triangulation seek to answer the same question with different methods? Or it also seeks to answer different research questions with different methods. If the latter is true, the researcher would be looking at the each issue (i.e., RQ) from different perspectives (i.e., each method). Therefore, what he/she would be triangulating?
  4. In the article on triangulation there is an assertion that I would like to discuss. The author says that triangulation is a strategy leading to a deeper understanding and less toward validity of interpretation. Validity is to make sure you’re studying what you’re supposed to be studying and not something else. Therefore, wouldn’t we conclude that through a deeper understanding we make sure we are studying or seeing what we are really seeing? In the end, aren’t both concepts seeking the same goal?
  5. Toulmin, who advocates convergence between idealism and realism, asserts that scholars draw from other scholars, so their interpretation conform to those of the community and are not purely personal. Although I tend to agree with his/her view, I wonder to what extent this position prevents novel ideas because they usually don’t get accepted or conform to those in the community in the beginning.

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