Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sun Ho's Questions - 11/8

1. This question came up while we were writing our method section of our final project proposal. I'll address this here since our topic of discussion is writing. We had a lot to say about data gathering but not so much about data analysis. Is this common on qualitative research or is it because we chose to conduct focus groups? We wrote that our analysis will be based on grounded theory and categories or themes will be developed as the two researchers review transcripts. That was about three or four sentence-paragraph. I found the same thing from our past readings and other articles that used FG's. So how detailed or long should an analysis part of the method section be? I always thought articles should describe more about their analysis so readers could learn how they did it but they usually jump to their results and discussions, which is more important..?

2. Another thought on elements to be included in a method section. Some articles explain why the chosen method is appropriate for that particular research but others don't. Is this something you would include or exclude depending on how frequently the chosen method is used for a typical research on that topic - like we don't ask why survey and content analysis are used for agenda setting research?

3. Starting on page 183, Potter introduces three degrees of contextualization. This seems to be one of the most important elements of qualitative research. And I found myself putting this in when I wrote essays for assignments. However, once my writing format changed from an essay to a research paper, I felt like my interpretations are too subjective to be included there. Following Potter's definitions, which is the typical or reasonable degree of contextualization to be included in a research paper among the three - strong, low degree, no conceptualization?

4. How can those standards mentioned in chapter 12 be reflected in writing? I see how qualitative researchers put much effort to establish internal and external validity and I think it should be reflected in their final product just as it happens in quantitative research.

5. I liked the Richardson reading because she suggested researchers to open ourselves to experimental writing but also raised some practical issues we have to face by doing it: getting published. Like she mentioned, there are prescribed writing formats (e.g. discouraged use of footnotes, 150-word abstracts, etc.) and her thoughts on the issue is very encouraging. And I do find it exciting and interesting to read those creative ones. However, I still think experimenting with writing styles would be a luxury to graduate students. Am I too pessimistic?

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