My use of italics has dramatically increased during a recent yet deliberately* undefined time period.

*I'm lazy and want to leave this as a vague and uncontested claim.

These are notes from my senior year of college, from my first sociology class. I may have posted them before. Each time I run across things from that single class - which technically I never even took, or should have been able to attend, as it was an upper level graduate course in a field I had never heard of before in a school I didn't go to - I light on fire inside, and go "oh! this is what I am supposed to do" - in a way that, weirdly enough, does not involve my turbo-hyperactivity button on. It's a much deeper kind of... match... than that.

It sometimes makes me wonder why I'm not working on this stuff more directly/actively. I thought I had a plan for how the things I'm doing now help me learn how to do that better - I think I do, at least. And then sometimes I'm not quite sure.

I should start a collection of writings I admire.

I write like an engineer - lots of detail, not much emotion. (2009: This has since changed. I do remember being struck that same year while grading papers for an intro engineering class I'd TA'd before; my previous group had been all engineering students, and this year's group was the first group of nonengineering students to take the course. I went to some of my Olin professors in bewilderment - "Look, look! Engineers and liberal arts majors write differently!" and they laughed kindly and said (basically) "Of course they do!" and I suddenly got the concept of 'disciplinary lens,' which I'd only intellectually grasped in the past...)

Can we use qualitative research methods (of data gathering and analysis) to help interviewees get a better sense of themselves, or as an educational tool?


Fragment: The unintended consequences of purported social actions. (What did I mean by that?)

"The study of narrative does not fit neatly within the boundaries of any single scholarly field."

Define: Postpositionist "There is no hard distinction in postpositionist resarch between fact and interpretation."

I should find Crispin Miller's thesis.

[Ethnography] adopted research methods from the natural sciences, which require stepping outside and looking objectively at data - does this work with narrative? Narrative and storytelling is about creation of a structure to understand your experiences with.

Comparative studies. They're important.

  • How do engineering professors learn to teach?
  • How do engineering students learn to learn?
  • [As a researcher], when I come across what appears to be ineffective or damaging classroom practices, do I intervene?
  • How can I criticize organizations and people who are helping me?

What educational theories and pedagogical methods do engineering professors use in their classrooms? How do students perceive and respond and feel about their effectiveness? Are these conscious [on the part of both students and profs]? How are these theories and habits acquired by profs - how do they "learn to teach"?

Becker: "Any good study will make somebody mad."

  • I am naive and unaware of potential conflicts.
  • I am unqualified - will not be "researching" - but still, I am going into work I don't fully understand.
  • How much do I "help?"
  • Is this an imperialistic crusade to spread my favorite theories? How do I (do I?) talk about "cultural sensitivity"?
  • How can I speak ill of those who help me?
  • Politics - prof/students/admin - how to deal with?

Book to read: "Time farming" (on field experiments)

Intuitive qualitative research methods... about best judgment. How is he or she self aware of their context? (Not sure what I meant by that...)

2x2 matrix: Overt/covert, active/passive(re: involvement). Overt/Active = member (me), overt/passive = fan, covert/active = spy, covert/passive = voyeur. How much time am I spending within each quadrant?

The rest of these are book notes from a book that I've forgotten but should find again. I take book notes by marking them as Q(uote), P(araphrase), R(esource I should look up), etc. and then the page number, then the note.

Q, 2 - The purpose is to see how respondents in interviews impose order on the flow of experience to make sense of events and actions in their lives... we ask, why was the story told that way?

P, 2 - Identities are constructed through the telling of stories. You write your own character.

R, 4 - The Chicago school tradition - Shaw, 1938 (Jack Poller) + Whyte, 1943 (Doc) are two things to look up.

R, 5 - Look up "social constructionism" (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Gerger 1985)

R, 5 - "narrative analysis"

N, 5 - Narrative analysis is good for studies of identity.

Q, 15 - Ultimately, it is unclear who really authors a text, although western texts come with individual authors' names penned to them.

R, 18 - Labov's structural approach

R, 19 - Burke's "classic method of analyzing language" (dramatism?)

R, 19 - Gee (1986) attends to how a story is said.

Q, 22 - When people tell stories, they're not necessarily narrating "fact," but they are telling the truth of their experience.

Q, 25 - 1. How is [fact? task? farh? can't read] transformed into a written text and how are narrative segments determined? 2. What aspects of the narrative constitute the basis for interpretation? 3. Who determines who the narrative means and are alternative readings

R, 27 - Life story method (Botax + Kohli, 1984)

N, 55 - There eare different forms of interview instruments - some are very open-ended ("can you tell me about...") and others give respondents a suggested preset structure (which they sometimes don't stick to).

N, 59 - Labov's framework: numbered lines. For example, 30 blah blah (p) (I:yak yak) [o] linenumber text (pause) (Interviewer: what you say) [type] where [type] includes

  • a - provide abstract
  • o - orient listener
  • ca - caring action
  • e - evaluating meaning
  • r - resolve action

N, 66 - It's important to give information back to your interview subject. Make sure they say their stories are okay to release, their ID details are sufficiently hidden, etc. - also, they can make use of it [the story they tell].

R: Campbell "Hero with a thousand faces", Vogler "The writer's journey"

R: Creative interviewing (Ken Metzler), Interviewing America's Top Interviewers (Huber, Diggles), Interviewing: Art and skill (Barone, Switzer)