Sunday, November 8, 2009

Teresa's questions

1- Richardson asserts that the model write-when-you-know-what-you-want-to-say has serious problems because it ignores the role of writing as a dynamic and creative process. In practice, what does this mean? How do we approach our writing process? Does it mean start writing as soon as we finish collecting data? Do the analysis and interpretation when we’re writing? Or it just simply suggests that we have to be flexible in the process and incorporate the interpretations that emerge in the writing process?

2- When Richardson talks about experimental writing, she names various approaches including narrative of the self, ethnographic fictional representations, etc. These types of writing allow the researcher to exaggerate, swagger, entertain, and make a point without tedious documentation. I tend to disagree with this approach. If the author is allowed to exaggerate to make a point and get close to fiction, it seems easier to entertain. But the main purpose of research is not entertainment; it is explaining why certain phenomena happen, building knowledge, and promoting social change. Therefore, the main challenge is not to be boring when meeting these goals.

3- Although, the following questions are not my original questions, I think they’re worth discussing in class: Is experimental writing (or experimental research in the sense of very exploratory and original one) a luxury open to those who have secured their jobs? Can only the tenured professors write or do research in experimental modes? Is it a disservice to students to introduce them to alternative forms of writing? Do we have to introduce these types of experimental writing and teaching in realistic or strategic terms?

4- When describing the role of interpretive approaches to qualitative research, Potter presents several examples of scholars selecting data to fit a particular interpretation (e.g., Horowitz, 1987). (Data-driven) quantitative researchers tend to have the same approach: let me run the numbers, first, and then let’s find a theory that supports our “interesting” results. This reminds me of the idea of persuasiveness in research. That is, beyond collecting good data, we have to tell a good story and be persuasive. Therefore, my question is: what is the role of persuasion in communication research?

5- Denzin asserts that the usual standards of quantitative research, that is, reliability, validity and generalizability, can be applied to qualitative research as well. The question I have is how can these be achieved? Didn’t we agree earlier that qualitative and quantitative research have different philosophical approaches and different definition of those terms? If qualitative research is much more about case studies, the particularities of a specific context, and the meaning we attach to it, how can reliability, validity and generalizability be applied to it?

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