NOTE: Don't post your response until class time. Be prepared with notes from the three readings for today listed on the syllabus. We will discuss and post to the discussion board as part of class.
Overview: The Bhattacharya has addressed the concepts of "ethics" and "rigor" in scholarly qualitative research, particularly as it applies to educational research. As a class, you are more interested in what I would call public intellectualism--the kind of in-depth, research and writing that we see in the best news-reporting and feature writing. To that end, we have a series of readings that consider what ethics and rigor look like in the public domain. Two of the articles are discuss ethics and the third piece, American Hunger, is an example of long-form journalism of the sort that you all have expressed the most interest in writing. It should serve as both a way to talk about ethics and rigor and it should also serve as a way in, in class, to talk about ethics and rigor.
What to Post: Considering what you've learned about the research process in Bhattacharya so far, how does American Hunger hold up? In what ways does it feel like the qualitative research projects that she describes and explains? In what ways does it not? (Careful here--some of that is obvious, but not all of it). Is this a rigorous research project? Is it ethical? in what ways does the piece serve as an example of journalistic ethics and rigor in ways that explains the difference between public versus academy-based knowledge-making? Is it possible to say that there is a difference--in scope, methodology, and purpose--in the end?
10/14/2020 07:10:33 am
American Hunger feels like a case study on Cassius Clay/Ali. The project was very in depth about his boxing life when he was younger, and his struggle with Parkinson's later on when he was closer to his death. There were some points in the article where an interview method was used, and the journalist used direct quotes from Cassius. It very much centers around Cassius and his life and career. They also used different methods such as the interviews and observation, which are used in case studies. I think that it doesn’t feel like the qualitative research projects she explains because the study still doesn’t go in depth enough about the kind of person he is and the reasoning behind his choices in life. The research feels very on the surface still especially regarding Cassius’ morals and feelings. This is however, a very rigorous research project, and involved a heavy amount of research and gathering information about every aspect of his life, including his childhood with his dad’s drinking problem. This project does feel ethical, and I believe that there was a lot of ethical thinking and respect regarding Cassius, especially when he got sick. I think that they way they retold his story was in a very respectful manner, even when his health was in decline. They honored him and his life with the a very honest and raw story. This piece serves as an example of journalistic ethics and rigor as a way of explaining the difference between public vs academy-based knowledge making because academy based knowledge may be more objective in nature, and public may be more subjective in nature because it’s not determined by academic standards. The scope for public understanding may be more limited possibly from less rigorous research, while academic standards may require more rigorous research and data.
10/14/2020 10:03:27 am
What I found to be interesting about this study is that it doesn’t initially seem like it is even a study. Given its intense focus on narrative, it almost seems like it is just a biography, and it goes into great detail about Ali’s early life and explains his rise to fame. With that in mind, I think Bhattacharya would view this as a case study, one that uses a various other methods within that umbrella to acquire data. The study combines the use of interviews, narrative inquiry, and observational analysis to gather information, and all of these devices when used in tandem can create a more effective and complete case study. To me, the way that the information is presented makes it feel less like the studies Bhattachraya discusses, as I felt like the manner in which it describes Ali’s life reads more like a biography. Rather than going into precise detail about one small aspect of Ali’s life, it kind of gives a cursory description of multiple time periods. We learn various facts and pieces of information about him, but it does not necessarily address the “why” that is so often the goal of qualitative research. If it were a true case study as Bhattacharya would describe, I think it would have to be more focused on one area and less broad. I do think this is a rigorous research project, because it requires the researcher to gather data across many years, and to analyze multiple different time periods and events within one person’s life. It may have been difficult to find and verify some of the more personal information involved in the study, and it is also possible that the researcher could have personal biases about Ali and his legacy, and he would have to fight to keep those out of his research. Overall, the study appears to be ethical, and I feel as if the researcher made sure to present the information fairly and without judgement while also describing personal information respectfully. The piece can serve as an example of ethics and rigor because it presents a substantial amount of information in an objective way, which speaks more to academy-based knowledge making. If it were more of an opinion piece where the researcher inserts unfounded conclusions, that would relate more closely to public knowledge making. In the end, I don’t think there is much of a difference between academic or public standards, at least in terms of methodology. There may be a different scope required, a broader scope being more acceptable for public consumption because it is less in depth. The purpose remains relatively the same, but depending on the audience it can change slightly, and the researcher may adjust the purpose if the audience is a general public.
10/14/2020 05:05:56 pm
American Hunger by David Remnick gives another example of research presented through a narrative lens. Based on Bhattacharya's standards, American Hunger seems to be a case study which utilizes several other methods to get there. The article uses narrative inquiry when detailing Ali's life in the boxing ring and out. There are also elements of an interview study when Remnick cites quotes Ali said directly to him. Because of this, and the way it is presented as a lengthy and detailed case study once all is said and done, this article stands as a good example of qualitative research. Not only does it dig for the "quality" information that makes up what qualitative research is, it also backs up its own facts and reaches for narrative assumptions only when based entirely upon those facts. This piece is also ethical. It is factually accurate while also remaining conscious that Ali is a human, thus not something that can be written or researched about in an entirely stoic manner. This brings in the question of academic knowledge versus public knowledge. The slight difference in those two concepts lies in how the research is collected and distributed; a more academic based piece might lean a little more quantitative than quantitative at times, going after facts and information without as much interest in an overarching story as public knowledge. However, the best research comes from the two methods overlapping and sharing in various methodologies to create one cohesive, factual, and thought-provoking piece.
10/14/2020 07:34:22 pm
The piece on Muhammad Ali was very interesting. "American Hunger" to me was almost a biography of sorts about Ali's boxing career and his life in general. This reminded me a little of the cop diary that we had to read last week I believe it was. A more narrative piece that discusses on one's life compared to a scholarly work. In terms of depicting what type of work this is, I feel like this could be a trick question. I would think that it's a case study because the endgame here is Ali. The story is about Ali and Ali only essentially. With just the focus on him this directs me towards a case study. The way Ali is observes is very intriguing however. Yes there's a story being told about his life in which we can gather information but I feel like there's more that's being analyzed. The piece takes quotes from Ali over his career and uses them in the overall narrative here. This brings me to the aspect of interviewing. This would be called, "On the Record", interview questions. Taking direct quotes from someone in an interview and using it in a story of your own. It applies here as well in this story and with qualitative research. The quotes and information used here is all based on public knowledge from Ali's life over the years. To me this information is shared so publicly because of who Ali is. An iconic boxer who was not shy at times to the camera and lived a life worth telling. This is all public knowledge that journalists have found out about his life by studying him over his boxing career. To me the academic based knowledge making here is more about gathering background information on his life, such as he grew up poor and boxers grew up poor as it was not a wealthy sport. The public aspect is all about the side we see of Ali. The side that is reported by journalists about the boxer and what he did throughout his life.
10/15/2020 02:02:49 pm
This story felt less like qualitative research and more just like I was reading about Muhammad Ali’s life in a biographical form or almost like his origin story, which I feel like is the mark of well done research and presentation of said research. However, if I had to classify this methodology, I would say that this is a case study of Muhammad Ali based on Bahttacharya’s definition in the book. Case studies can focus on a single person, and involve researching aspects of that person that the researcher finds interesting, and in this case, the interviewer was interested in Ali’s life and how he became such a well known figure. It feels like research in the sense that there are interviews with Ali and different people in his life like close friends. However, it’s written in a more narrative fashion and it feels like I’m reading a story about his life as opposed to a research based case study.
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