info 272 qualitative research methods 5 may 2009 l.
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INFO 272. Qualitative Research Methods 5 May 2009. Reading and Writing. A Double Iteration. 1) research topic/questions. 2) ‘corpus construction’. 3) data gathering. Field work. 4) analysis. 4) more analysis. Desk work. 5) write-up. Writing Style. Writing Examples.

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a double iteration
A Double Iteration

1) research topic/questions

2) ‘corpus construction’

3) data gathering

Field work

4) analysis

4) more analysis

Desk work

5) write-up

writing examples
Writing Examples
  • Turkle, (1995) “TinySex and Gender Trouble”
  • Spitulnik, (2002) “Mobile Machines and Fluid Audiences: Rethinking Reception Through Zambian Radio Culture”
  • Hutchins and Klausen (1996) “Distributed Cognition in an Airline Cockpit”
  • Heath and Luff (2000) “Documents and Professional Practice…”
  • Woolgar (1991) “Configuring the User: the case of usability trials”
tales from the field van mannen
“Tales from the Field” [Van Mannen]
  • Realist Tales
    • Dispassionate, third person voice (absence of the author from the text)
  • Confessional Tales
    • Techniques of fieldworkers, problems and bumblings
  • Impressionist Tales
      • Geertz – “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight” (also elements of a confessional tale)
other kinds of tales
Other Kinds of Tales
  • Critical
    • Seeks to reconcile a blindness to political economy, institutional structuring of other tales. Draws from economics, history, poly sci, psychology.
  • Formal– theory testing
  • Literary – a more theatrical than analytical writing style
  • Multivocal – informants write some part of the story.
questions about writing
Questions about Writing
  • How do I handle quotes?
  • What voice to use (1st person, 3rd person)? Multi-vocality?
  • What verb tense (past or present or passive)?
  • How do I give a sense of the whole (thick description) while making a specific, narrow argument?
boring reports
Boring Reports
  • Kvale, InterViews, chap. 14
  • “the subjects’ often exciting stories have – through the analyzing and reporting stages – been butchered into atomistic quotes and isolated variables.”
using quotes
Using Quotes
  • The quotes should be contextualized
  • The quotes should be interpreted – lead-in text shouldn’t just summarize the quote.
  • There should be a balance between quotes and text – edit quotes for readability (shorter is better) and for the main, important point.

[InterViews, Kvale - pgs. 226 – 267]

using quotes11
Using Quotes
  • Use only the best quote
  • Interview quotes should be rendered in a written style
  • There should be a simple signature system for the editing of the quotes (i.e. use of ellipses for what is omitted – a way of indicating pauses)

[InterViews, Kvale - pgs. 226 – 267]

editing quotes
Editing Quotes
  • “there is something really about this Internet, there is something that is really making my friends rich...”
  • “Internet love, it happens.”
  • “genuine people use the same procedure and it works.”
editing quotes13
Editing Quotes
  • Avoid quotes taken out of context.
  • Maintain an awareness of the shifts in meaning that result when quotes are edited – minimize this.
  • Don’t ‘clean’ quotes of qualifications, caveats, etc. to make your point stronger
darwin a creationist
Darwin a Creationist?
  • “To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree…” [Darwin, The Origin of Species]
darwin a creationist15
Darwin a Creationist?
  • “…Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real.” [Darwin, The Origin of Species]
referencing the literature
Referencing the Literature
  • Demonstrating ‘relevance’ to the community of researchers. What does your project say about some of the existing questions, issues raised by researchers?
  • Draw from readings from other courses
  • Spend a little time in the library
  • Look for material with a similar methodological approach (ethnographies, sets of interviews, etc)
beginning your write up l l
Beginning your write up [L&L]
  • If there are no clear themes – start coding
  • If you have a theme then work on a ‘memo’
  • Could find something that exists in more than one interview (some similarity or a difference) and write about that
  • Refer back to your data to check your write up

4) more analysis

5) write-up

Desk work

  • Code to find and check themes
  • Memo to develop interpretation
  • Edit and use quotes thoughtfully, strategically
  • Write a realist tale but do consider your role as researcher in the setting
  • For Thursday: carefully reread Becker. What jumps out at you on this second reading? What has new meaning at the end of the semester?