Monday, October 20, 2014

Darolyn Jones: Hope Takes Practice

Because I am an eclectic sort, I am often reading about diverse topics for all sorts of reasons that would not make sense to anyone but myself.  Which is why I found myself reading an elder rights blog, which mentioned a new Caregifted award that was being instituted for bloggers who are also caregivers, which led me to Darolyn Jones and her blog:  Hope TakesPractice.  
Darolyn Jones, is the mother of a special needs child and advocate for families with special needs children, but what really caught my attention was that she is a qualitative researcher who studies this topic.  

Her blog was riveting, and I found myself reading with no thought to the time and how I would feel the next morning.  Assistant professor in the English Department at Ball State University, Director of the Memoir Project at the Indiana Writers Center, she is as passionate about writing as she is about the experiences of parenting a child with special needs.  She has been involved in many community writing ventures that have reached out to help the silenced find voice.  

The blog provided me with clues to her methodological interests—autoethnography, narrative study, case study.  All well and good, but over and above the methodological strands what will capture your attention is the way she tells personal stories, exploring experience to bring the reader deep into the feelings of a parent with a special child—the tiredness and fears, the joys and jubilations.  

While I will now look forward to reading professional articles or books by this woman, I am very happy to have found such a great blog by a qualitative researcher.  Blog on, Darolyn Jones!  Just by blogging, your contribution to qualitative research is significant.  Qualitative research needs voices like this, shouting authentic experience from the digital rooftops. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

QRfrag Returns!

Welcome to the return of QRfrag (Qualitative Research Fragmented), a blog about qualitative research.  I am interested in diverse aspects of qualitative, and this blog will be as eclectic as I am.  It is a place to think aloud about the new directions in qualitative research, to ponder the questions students ask about qualitative research, and to consider books, articles, and other products and artifacts of this field. 
                When I made the decision to resurrect QRfrag, I thought hard about the shape it could take.  Part of that work was subscribing to a number of blogs of interest to me and reading blogs about blogs.  There is a lot of information out there on the topic of blogs.  I sifted through the advice trying to decide what approach would work best for me.  Some bloggers insisted on 500 words, others called for articles of 1,500 words.  Some bloggers schedule regular postings, others posted irregularly. 
                As I took part in these forays into the thickets of blogging, I found myself coming back again and again to a single blog to which I had subscribed:  Studio and Garden, the work of artist Altoon Sultan.  There are several things I like about this blog. 
                First is the simplicity.   Studio and Garden is really about studio and garden.  Sultan, who lives in a farmhouse in Vermont’s rural Northeast Kingdom, blogs about studio—her studio work and the work of others who inspire her—and garden—her vegetable garden and the plants, ponds, and matter surrounding her home. 
                This brings me to the second reason I like her blog:  It is restful and refreshing.  She asks the reader to slow down and look carefully, be it the ice formations in a puddle or the work of artists at the Metropolitan Art Museum.  When I read her blog I breathe more deeply and find myself attending to new details. 
                I also like this blog for the new information it brings me.  She talks about objects, artists, colors, and materials in ways that are totally new to me.  Her reviews of the art shows she visits make me want to go immediately—stop that bus, I am on my way! 
                Four is authenticity and questing.  She appears to be true to whom she is.  From what I’ve read, she started the blog as part of the remaking of herself as an artist.   After many years as a painter with successful gallery sponsorship in New York City, her style and focus began to change.  She and the gallery parted ways, she moved to Vermont, and began the process of working through new artistic problems.  I like the thought that her blog, as well conceived as it seems to me, is still about figuring out the meaning of her work. 
                So my list of key words for what I would like to emulate from the Studio and Garden blog are:  simplicity, restful and renewing, new information (inventive, creative, compeling), authenticity, and the quality of questing.  I hope I can achieve some part of this in the new version of QRfrag.  Thank you for joining me.