Sunday, November 8, 2009

Alex Questions - Nov. 9

Q1 – I learned long ago as a student journalist that there is a fine line between accuracy and truth. Perhaps now is the time to learn the fine line between subjectivity and bias. We’ve had the subjectivity discussion several times in class this semester. And again it is raised in the readings. How do we clarify subjective but not biased once and for all?

Q2 –The more I read quantitative work, the more formulaic it now seems to me. There’s good and bad involved in formula. But since the beginning of this class, the “wide-open” nature of qualitative was both intimidating and hard to grasp. Potter’s focus on contextualization, to me, gets to the heart of the matter in terms of the main difference between qualitative and quantitative methods. This reading helps to formulate what had been growing in my head all this time – the “essay” is everything. Is this what our “writing” focus will be?

Q3 – Obviously one of the advantages of formulaic qualitative research is the ability to scan through the tables, glance at the results and get a quick idea of what happened in a particular study. Richardson’s point that qualitative research is in the words can be taken to heart. But doesn’t this “experimental” writing take time and experience?

Q4 – Richardson’s point, that “writing” is the “method of inquiry” sums up qualitative method better than the original Denzin & Lincoln introduction that we read. This is an exciting article in many ways. To me “academic” writing often seems deliberately dry and violates many of the tenets of good writing we learned as journalists. Do journalists make better qualitative researchers because of the writing? (It would seem so.)

Q5 – I think I learned a lot in the focus group I did with Sebastian. We had done some advanced reading. We thought about our research questions. We felt that a focus group was the best way to answer these questions. So the nature of the research and what we wanted to know dictated the method. But even after conducting the focus group, I did not really know what we had until we talked about what we observed and then actually sat down and wrote it up in a way that made sense to us. Is this how it’s supposed to work?

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