Sunday, October 18, 2009

Teresa's qs

Last week

In the chapter on data gathering, Potter includes in the classification of researcher identification the possibility of being identified as member of the group but not as a researcher. Also in the classification on sampling, Potter also includes as a category no information on evidence selection. By providing categories for the first and for the second the author legitimizes what for me is unethical (in the first case) and poor work (in the second).

Semiotic analysis is going beyond the study of textual signs. For example, there are studies that focus on the signifying behavior of “outsiders” (e.g., drug users and criminals). Can behaviors and people’s characteristics also be considered signs? I would like to know more about this semiotic analysis and where it is going.

I was pleased to read Flick's observations that requiring theory development to
qualitative research is sometimes an excessive burden. When I read most journal
submission guidelines in communication, theory construction is always regarded as
paramount. Yet, there are other, equally important goals for research, such as
application or replication. Of course, for the theory-oriented researchers, it is
sometimes a burden to think about the practical or policy implications of their theories. But if we are to become a field of relevance in the social sciences (esp. if we want to receive more funding and grants!) then we should spend as much effort on theory development as in application of our research.

Flick discusses different research designs, among them case studies. As any other aspect of a research project, the choice of what case to study should follow a consideration of the research question. But I still wonder if the choice of case studies should focus on "exceptional" or "unexceptional" cases. On the one hand, "unexceptional" cases seem to me a good choice if one is trying to analyze in depth a unit that is representative of a larger population or trend. For instance, studying how a local community newspaper is tackling the challenges posed by the new media environment. On the other hand,"exceptional" cases could be a good choice if one is trying to study the effects of a particular characteristic and draw conclusions about this aspect. I?m thinking on Everbach's study of the all-female led Sarasota newspaper. My question, then, is what criteria should researchers follow when identifying a case that would be significant for the research design?

From the readings, I concluded that discourse analysis is the same as framing. The only thing is that while framing is considered as theoretical approach, discourse analysis is considered a method. What do you think about this?

This week

Van Dijk’s article asserts that news is perhaps the most frequently engaged discourse practice by the people. Would this be outdated with the advent of the blogosphere and social media. Because the discourses in, for example, SNS are socially and collecticely constructed, it is harder to link them to the producer and its cultural, economic, and political context. How ca we do a discourse analysis in these new spheres?

van Dijk notes that most discourse analysis in media research has been conducted in the UK and Australia (and I'd add Latin America), not in the US. Why? What are the historical causes that explain this phenomenon? Is it because the political culture in the US is less inclined to admit ideological cleavages, as opposed to Europe and Latin America where left and right have always been part of the mainstream?

van Dijk defines the news schema as the classic inverted pyramid, AP style. But this way of narrating news events has changed considerably with the online format. Hyperlinks, for example, now allow users to construct their own story when reading an article online. What is the news schema in online journalism?

van Dijk discusses the ideological nature of the Mail by describing its coverage of the deportation of an immigrant. I was wondering if this implies that texts can be
ideologically "neutral." Is there such a thing? If everything is ideological, then what is the utility of using ideology as a characteristic of a text?

In the conclusion of her essay, Fursich states that we shouldn?t let methodological
concerns overshadow original research questions. But I was wondering if meaning analysis is possible without considering methodology simultaneously. We say that research questions go first and methods second, but it?s a fact that good research questions are those that are doable (given time and resource constraints). So, perhaps, a more realistic approach is to think about research questions and ways of answering these questions at the same time, not one after the other.

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