Friday, November 23, 2012

Historical Social Research publication

Istanbul (Photo credit: Greenwich Photography)
I am pleased to announce that Historical Social Research has republished an article I co-authored that first appeared in FQS this year. 

Cesar A. Cisneros Puebla and Judith Davidson
Qualitative Computing and Qualitative Research: Addressing the Challenges of Technology and Globalization
This piece appears in Historical Social Research (Historische Sozialforschung)Vol 37 (2012) 4, No. 142.  It provides an overview of the FQS special issue of selected papers from the 2011 "Qualitative Computing: Diverse Worlds and Research Practices Conference" that was held in Istanbul, Turkey. 
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Take Note to Make Note

Graphic Notetaking
Graphic Notetaking (Photo credit: derekbruff)
I started blogging today with an entry about the Radcliffe Institute's "Take Note" conference that I had attended at the beginning of November. 

Between that entry and this one are eleven entries in which I share a note taking experiment in my doctoral course 07.704 Introduction to Qualitative Research methods.  Each student has created a 1 page visual introduction to a selected chapter from Denzin and Lincoln's "Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research". 

The eleven entries are diverse in their methods of presentation, ranging from simple webs or a single picture to a cartoon, a powerpoint slide, and visual/textual combinations that range across a page. 

As the instructor of this interesting crew, I can see the individual personality in each one from humor or confidence, to the sense of organization or wonder.  Personal expression flows to the surface of each one-page rendition. 

I also see the powerful draw of the disciplinary focus in which they are embedded, be it politics, science, math, school administration, or language learning.  Each discipline has shaped the individual's preferred way of visualizing in some respect. 

In creating this 1 page set of thoughts about an article, they are, of course, interacting with a specific author or authors.  Topics included critical pedagogy, feminism, mixed methods, case study, grounded theory and more.  As the individual learner from my class encountered this new material they also encountered the author who is distinctively represented within the article.  It was this individual who introduced my student to this topic.  What kind of a guide are they?  How well do these personalities mesh, regardless of the topic and its interest? 

There were certain visual elements in each piece that stopped us in our tracks:  Jay Lang's upside down house in the discussion of grounded theory is a good example or Aubrey Rochembeau's turned upside down article about Case Study method.  It is probably not strictly correct to call Nancy Nickerson's poem a visual--but it had a similar effect.   To write a poem in response to a poetry writing ethnographer appealed to our entire group. 

In describing the process of creating a visualization, students brought us more deeply into the process of their own reading experience and the making sense of the individual text with which they were grappling.  Dave Sciuto's twining vine reminds me of this...or Kim Gustenhoven's "cells" that surround the edge of her image frame. 

This assignment and its discussion took place in a class where I am constantly nudging students to think about the possibilities of the visual or visualization.  It's a fascination of mine that I seek to share with them.  Many would not have taken this route without the assignment.   Because each student read a different article, I cannot imagine what our discussion would have been like without a visual element to help us connect to the auditory experience of simply hearing a description of the article. 

I would say I have gone from Take Note to Make Note and quite a few things in between.

In attending the Take Note conference, I was particularly interested because as a qualitative researcher, my whole world is about taking notes--fieldnotes (observations, interviews, sketches, photos)--every way that I can possibly document the cultural experience of whoever I am studying.  As a teacher of qualitative research, I am teaching others to take notes in these forms, and, in so doing to consider what it means to "take note" as qualitative researchers do. 

In the exercise that I share here in my blog, my students are taking note of the ideas of other qualitative researchers and, through these notes, I hope becoming more attuned to a certain set of notions that are important to this field.  These were not private notes, but deliberately public notes.  Also these were not informal notes; they came with instructions about format and content.  So, are they really notes?  Is this a form of a paper?  As occurred at the Take Note Conference the notion of note has become deeply problematized (at least for me) through this inquiry. 
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Melinda Willis and Qualitative Research

Melinda Willis is another student who returned to the circular, as I have dubbed it.  Pathways, circles, edges and borders--these seem to characterize a certain approach to this assignment of a 1 page visual.

Here is her written introduction to Kincheloe, McLaren & Steinberg's piece:

Critical Pedagogy and Qualitative Research
By J. Kincheloe, P. McLaren & S. Steinberg

A Brief Introduction

Power.  How have those in power shaped our understanding of and relationship with our culture and others within our greater culture? These are the questions at the heart of critical research, often performed as action or participatory research.

Talking with those not in power, the non-dominant culture, to learn their perspective, opens windows into an understanding of behaviors which may not be understood or misunderstood by someone outside of a micro-culture. In the past Eurocentric researchers observed other cultures and described them from a Eurocentric perspective. In critical research, researchers are working actively with the participants of their research, asking the participants to speak for themselves, enabling the researcher to get a glimpse inside the participants’ world from the participants’ perspective. Incorporating the methodology of bricolage, the researcher uses multi-disciplinary research techniques and intentionally notes their own biases, while working to gain an understanding of both the dominant culture and the non-dominate culture. Creating an open dialogue, the researcher works to increase cross-cultural understanding, which can be carried into the classroom, both with respect to understanding student behavior and academic discussions.


Kincheloe, J. L., McLaren, P. & Steinberg, S. R. (2011). Critical pedagogy and
qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & L. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (4th ed.)(pp.163-177). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Now, here is the visual that accompanied the description:

The image, as I am calling it, is actually constructed almost entirely of text organized in different visual clusters.  There are a few simple diagrams in strategic places.  The use of underlining, arrows, and circling are made use of to draw further attention to a component. 

Anne Sheehy and Qualitative Research

Anne Sheehy is a graduate student with a passion for the possibilities that technology can bring to learning.  She chose to review Teddlie and Tashakkori's article "Mixed Methods Research: Contemporary Issues in an Emerging Field" from the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research.

Here is her one page analysis of that work:

As a technologist, Anne likes to make use of the organizational tools computers offer. 

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Dave Sciuto and Qualitative Research

Dave Sciuto bit off a big piece when he took on Holstein and Gubrium's "The Constructionist Analytics of Interpretive Practice".  Here is his description of the guts of that article:

Intertwining Interpretive Constructionist Practices
In their article, “The Constructionist Analytics of Interpretive Practice,”  Holstein and Gubrium  (2011) discuss the development of a constructionist analytics of interpretive practice,  a derivative of  constructionist inquiry.  According to the authors, this concept resembles enough of the elements of constructionist inquiry to constitute its own research program.  They look briefly at the contributing constructionist studies that make up the program: social phenomenology, ethnomethology, ordinary language philosophy, and Foucauldian discourse analysis.
Traditionally, constructionism has focused on how social reality is constructed, managed, and sustained.  Ethnomethodologists  generally see the how questions (or how) analytics in qualitative inquiry, keenly attuned to the naturally occurring talk and social interactions.  Conversely, Michel Foucault, looks at what is being accomplished, under what conditions, and out of what resources noting that objects and subjects accent the constructive what questions (or whats) the discourse constitutes as much as the hows of discursive technology.  He is concerned with the physical location of the discourse:  the prison, hospital, and asylum, for examples. Although  Foucault is largely missing the hows, ethnomethodology is largely missing the whats, ethomethodology and conversation analysis (CA), and its similar variant of discourse analysis, discursive constructionism,  have recently begun to examine every day descriptions, claims, reports, assertions, and allegations as contributions to social order construction
The authors see this as an intertwining of the two forms of constructionist inquiries. Although what questions traditionally have played a lesser role than how question in a social construct, a related set of concerns now looks at the what of social reality.  They identify this interpretive practice as a way to turn us to both the hows and whats  of social reality, using postanalytic ethnomethodology narratives as a balance of the hows with the whats, using settings, cultural understand, and their everyday mediations reflexively with talk and social interaction.  To understand how these narratives operate in everyday life, we need to know the details and mediating conditions of narrative occasions.  These details can only be discerned from direct consideration of the mutually constitutive interplay between what we have traditionally called narrative work (hows) and narrative environments (whats).

 Now here is the image that goes with this description:

Sciuto, like his image, has a keen ability to simplify complexity when needed.  I love the contrast between the word dense description and the simple intertwining vine.  With our reading, how often can we get to the point like this? 

Brian Scanlan and Qualitative Research

Brian Scanlan reverted to the cartoon to describe his article--Lincoln, Lynham, and Guba's "Paradigmatic Controversies, Contradictions, and Emerging Confluences, Revisited".  This is Chapter 6 in the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Inquiry.

As you will note, Scanlan's sly humor is evident here!  

Introduction to cartoon

Each of us approaches research with a unique set of beliefs and values that we most likely acquired through personal and professional experience, and education. These beliefs and values might influence how we interpret observations and reach conclusions based on these observations. As a result, each of us wears a paradigm or invisible costume during the research process. The following cartoon illustrates how people who wear certain costumes might respond when they receive a piece of candy, which serves as a metaphor for data.  

Aubrey Rocheleau and Qualitative Research

Aubrey Rocheleau's clear crisp diagram on Flyvbjerg's article on the Case Study reminded me much of her classmate Amy Gerarde.  Both went simple to go complex.

Here is Aubrey's description of what she was doing with Flyvbjerg's article:

Flyvbjerg begins his article by pointing out the differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods, highlighting the claim of quantitative researchers that results from qualitative studies (particularly those obtained from case studies) are not as noteworthy as those obtained by quantitative methods. The bulk of his article deals with identifying and correcting five “misconceptions” that quantitative researchers have of the case study method. In my diagram, I interpreted Flyvbjerg’s five misconceptions as ways that case study is a useful method of research. The two elements on the left (provides specific knowledge and helps the researcher learn about phenomena) are both ways that case study helps informs the practice of the researcher using the method and helps the researcher grow in his or her knowledge of the topic. The elements on the top and upper right corner (creates opportunities for falsification and tests hypothesis) are both ways that case study assists with theory development. The final element (can encourage readers to develop their own conclusion) demonstrates the open-ended nature of case study and how they can be used to stimulate further thinking on the part of the reader. Flyvbjerg concludes his article by noting that both quantitative and qualitative methods of research are useful; together they provide both breadth and depth about a topic.

And here is her visual:

 I thought Rocheleau's "Let me turn this on its head" was an inspired way to work out understanding of the article.  As she explained to us in class, as a beginner, she needed to figure out what it was before she could shift to what it was not. 

Nancy Nickerson and Qualitative Research

Nancy Nickerson provided a unique one-pager in the form of a poem. 

Here is her written introduction Antjie Krog's article in the Denzin and Lincoln Handbook of Qualitative Research:

Qualitative Research Methods  07.704
Nancy Nickerson
            Antjie Krog is a South African poet and a contributing author  in Denzin and Lincoln’s The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Penning the chapter “In the Name of Human Rights, she defends the voice of the oppressed constituencies, necessitating their  being heard according to their own genres and terms. The researcher must adapt to the footprints of the people, merging the knowledge with the subjectivity of human relationships and social structures so that we can all hear their voices.
            The discourse between academic researchers and indigenous peoples must be respectful of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations. Specifically,
            Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold     opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any       media and regardless of frontiers(
            Krog cites three examples of researchers working in countries with divided histories and cultures. She describes a bushman shaman narrating a story to a philogoist in Xam. Because the researcher did not live with the people he was studying, he missed the bushman’s intricate decoding and contextual signs and symbols used. A second example cited a professor with proliferic writing during an academic year but with none of them peer reviewed. Crucial observations need a theory and valuable experience needed a discipline. The last example involved a professor who had had a paper rejected despite peer reviews. He had not found a link in theory that connected his knowledge with the literature. All three examples spoke of the need of the deep and resounding spoken work within the sentences of the academic discourse. It is only when the writer speaks from within and out of the world he knows intimately that the real voices are heard.
Krog, A. (2011). In the Name of Human Rights. In N. K. Lincoln, The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 381-385). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Based on this description you can see why, NOTHING but a poem would do to share Nickerson's conceptualization of the reading experience.