10/2/2003 Intro Qualitative
RAP – Review and Preview
Spindler book (examples of qual) on reserve in library
Readings for next week: Next week we will look at Geertz – Geertz will be mentioned regularly. It's dense but essential. Also Taylor & Bogden and David Cohen, "The Case of Mrs. Oublie"
Spindler's 10 criteria "Toward a good ethnography" – ethnography here means qualitative research
Group: Jenn, Nancy, Nara
Criterion 1: Observations are contextualized…
Nancy: Didn't seem like they did a lot of observations; did some, but observation is not described, don't talk about what exactly they saw, just interpret. Primarily interview-based.
Jenn: "periodic intensive interviews, classroom observation, and analysis of student records"
Criterion 2: Hypotheses emerge in situ, judgements of significance are deferred.
Nancy: They went in thinking perhaps one thing, came out thinking another. p. 704. Meets criteria. Interviewed/observed and then interpreted for patterns.
Suggestion, neither problem nor solution: teachers need to engage students as co-conspirators
Just because it makes it into Kappan doesn't mean it meets Spindler's criteria – or ours - for good qualitative research
We read research in good faith that they did do what they said they did.
Criterion 3: Observation is prolonged and repetitive
They said they were there for 2 years and did periodic, but we don't know, didn't describe observations or give dates. Kappan may have cut methods section.
Needed to describe schools, schools' demographics in order for recommendations to be judged generalizable/transferrable
Properly skeptical about student reports/records? What is high achieving/low achieving?
How many direct quotes do you use? When do you use raw description, if ever?
Criterion 5: Elicit sociocultural knowledge systematically from informant-participants
Hard to tell if they did or not. Footnote implies they use certain criteria but no evidence in the article.
Criterion 6: Instruments etc. should be generated in situ as a result of investigation and ethnographic inquiry
No indication that they changed methods, but they are redeemable because they started with so many approaches – could have adjusted frequency/emphasis, but we don't know.
Buddy Peshkin does an "audit trail" of his assumptions and how they changed and why. It's messy and doesn't read well
Meng: are we supposed to be charitable or critical when we read?
How do you read anything in academia? I believe people are doing their best, but not all research is created equal – how are we to know what is good and credible as consumers and doers if we don't have a critical eye? Hopefully we got something out of it regardless.
Amy: Quant talks about how study should give you enough information about methods and analysis to be replicable. Shouldn’t qualitative? Or is there too much?
Paula: How generalizable is qual – should we all sing songs because Howard Gardner found that it helps people learn?
Tamecia: coming from a quant background, we don't read qualitative (engineering) – trained to have a bias. But kids don't fit numbers after a certain point. Still, you can meet halfway – give characteristics of group and way done. Not having numbers doesn't disqualify it – but replication is credibility.
Criterion 7: A transcultural, comparative perspective is present, though frequently as an unstated assumption. Cultural variation…All cultures have common as well as distinguishing characteristics.
Multiple cultures within a student body – high-track, low-track, (is there amiddle track?) two cultures of achievement have different expecations of teachers in terms of instruction/representations, they did a good idea of representing that.
Criterion 8: Makes implicit explicit
We don't know any of the students' assumptions well enough to distinguish
Eric: They're trying to bring to light some of the ideas students have that teachers arent' aware of – students know about your pedagogy, students know when teachers are "burned out". This knowledge motivates some of their subsequent actions
Criterion 9: Researcher is going in in a neutral way, asking neural, non-leading questions
They got a variety of answers – likely that they did
Criterion 10: No evidence.
Evidence from Phelan, Davidson, Cao showing that it does or doesn't meet the criteria.
Base of tree: things all people do (experience, enquire, examine)
Mid-tree – Interview strategies, participant observation, non-participant observation, Archival strategies
Further up each branch: refinements, ethnomethodology, oral history, human ethology, literary criticism, ethnography (within that several strategies, community study, ethnology, etc.), field study (within that phenomenology, poststructuralism etc.)
in Wolcott's 1992 book on doing qualitative research.
What are Becker's criteria?
Compare and contrast the following quotes:
Peshkin, p. 28:
"Every method of data collection in only an approximation of knowedge. Each provides a different and usually valid glimpse of reality, and all are limited when used alone"
Encourages cross-disciplinary process through recognizing that no individual type of data collection is sufficient in and of itself.
Erin: assumes that a "valid reality" exists
Becker, p. 59:
"So the first point is that ethnography's epistempology, in its insistence on investigating the viewpoint of those studied, is indeed like that of other social scientists, just more rigorous, complete…."
Becker is saying – don't make up what you can't find out – the numbers can misinterpret
Strive for perfection, ethnography is a type of perfection to get it ALL
Š Thea: Strive to get at viewpoint of the insider. Also implies that you are going to use a variety of methods – A: what if you just interview them?
Š Nancy: See them in their everyday world, with everyday consequences.
Š Greg: To find out something about every topic the research touches on, even tangentially; trying to contrast thickness and breadth, danger of getting lost in the jungle.
Š Peter – can't do all thick, need some breadth, likes the balance.
Š Nara – is it perfectible?
Š Laura – yes, self-ethnography? but never done…
Š Eric – No immutable laws, constantly in motion
Š Jennifer – with the right number of "if" statements: "IF observer unbiased, IF certain amount of time, IF…." then could agree.
Š Tamecia: If people agree that you got it right, not a criteria for accuracy, you could be tailoring your report to what they want to hear.
Š Nancy: In the world of the "shoulds"/"oughts" not the reality of things.
Keep in mind when reading Geertz – believes ethnography is not done well w/o thick descrition. Try to get at what he means by "thick"
What's a poor researcher to do?
Nancy: Shoot for Becker, get Peshkin
Auto mechanic school San Jose
How did they get there?
How did they start on cars?
How are they paying for it? Does HS pay?
Why are we doing this study?
Geertz is DENSE BUT SEMINAL.Random story about sheepherder – read it twice, it's an example of thick description, look up big words. Re-read turtles too.