4research

Research Blog for INF1240 Group 4 at The University of Toronto iSchool, Fall 2010

The human side of research

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The Knight reading and the discussion on ethics served as a reminder to me that research should never be seen as something that is done in isolation or without having an impact on others.  As researchers our topics and sometimes our research methods will involve direct contact with others and because of this we have to be mindful of how our approach and our subject matter will be received by others.  I think it is important to never lose sight that the main focus of research should be to advance understanding.

Written by snc10

December 7, 2010 at 2:04 am

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Online Research

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I found the reading on Online Inquiry helpful since my research question is based on a current issue that is constantly changing and is directly related to internet usage.  This article served to remind me that making use of the internet is indeed a valid form of research and that it is recognized as such within the research community.  However, I think that it is important to keep in mind that the use of online research “depends on the question you ask and on the context you study,” which is to say that some research questions would not be justly served through online research.

Written by snc10

December 7, 2010 at 2:04 am

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Case Study and Privacy

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Yin’s discussion on case study was an interesting read since it helped to clarify what a case study can look like.  In particular, I found the discussion on the reactions expressed by informants to case study results interesting because it related to a class discussion on the census.  In the reading, Yin states that “people are likely to react adversely whenever they are confronted with individualized data, but are likely to be more tolerant when confronted with aggregate data (p. 64).  This related to our discussion on the census because we discussed whether or not people’s privacy is violated by being required to take part in the census.  Yin’s reading related to this discussion because the argument was made that the census reveals too much about the individual until the data is aggregated and all personal information is removed making the census results anonymous, and Yin states that people dislike specific information about them being known. I think this is something to keep in mind as a researcher since no one wants to be put into a position where they feel singled out, so as a researcher it is important to respect the right of participants and ensure their privacy is kept in mind.

Written by snc10

December 7, 2010 at 2:03 am

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Research Shortcomings

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I found Sari Thomas’ article on content analysis to be an interesting reading since this was a research method that I was not too familiar with.  The aspect of the article that really grabbed my attention was the idea that all research methods that attempt to understand the lived experiences of people will always fall short.  Thomas states that “there are no sociocultural or humanistic research techniques that provide direct access to an individual’s meaning-making-and subsequent-application process for everyday life” (p. 685).  I found this quote interesting since it made me question the validity of ethnography.  However, what I took from this article is the reminder that all research methods have shortcomings and that it is the job of the researcher to be willing to acknowledge the limitations of his/her method.

Written by snc10

December 7, 2010 at 2:02 am

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Understanding the grey area

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In completing the research proposal this week, the thing I struggled with most has been clearly defining which theoretical framework which I’m approaching my research from. Which ism am I really using, or which combination of isms? Taking a step back and understanding which perspective you are taking, can often be quite difficult, since we usually take our own perspective for granted. Ultimately I have decided that I am utilizing a combination of two isms, however I can’t avoid the fact that many theoretical frameworks overlap and that clearly defining which one you are using cannot be a perfect science. As I write this I find that this very struggle has been a common theme for me throughout this course. I have an innate urge to clearly separate, define, and categorize everything, yet when one is studying the social world this is simply impossible. In this respect this course has been very useful in helping me accept that you cannot effectively study everything as if it were black or white, but that a lot can be gained from trying to understand the grey area.

Written by cuylerka

December 6, 2010 at 10:49 am

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One Last Hurrah

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It’s actually kind of odd posting for what appears to be the final time for the course, and I can’t believe that the time went by so fast. I must admit I was initially weary about the idea of blogging, but it has definitely provided an excellent space to work out ideas and solicit feedback. Unfortunately now, I am still bogged down with writing this proposal and finding myself in a similar position like my colleagues in reading some of the other blogs. I’ve found that while initially the word limit of the project seemed daunting, certain sections of my proposal have ballooned. To some degree, I’m not even positive if some of it is needed, but when I’m in the mood for writing, I can tend to go overboard just spilling all of my ideas onto the page (or screen) even though most of it is rather incoherent. Nonetheless, I’m also finding difficulty trying to order all these fragmented ideas neatly. Because I’m using a mixed methods approach I seem to have varying statements on sampling depending on the method (content analysis of blogs vs. determining which bloggers to interview) and also a whole host of different ethical considerations that are peppered throughout. It’s frustrating to say the least because I thought it would be easy to separate concepts into neat categories; however, at the moment everything seems to be a jumbled mess. Here’s hoping the workshop will help streamline my thoughts!

Regardless, of this last minute rant, it’s been a pleasure blogging and I wish everyone the best 😀

Written by waynesoon21

December 6, 2010 at 3:18 am

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final considerations

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I have, for the most part, relied upon Knight in terms of developing my methodology and data analysis strategies. His last chapter was again very helpful for the planning of my final proposal. Already written and completed, reading about a connected outline has allowed me to evaluate my final paper from this perspective. I actually wish I did read this chapter sooner. Nevertheless, it has allowed me to look back at what I have written and make sure the organization of my paper means something. Something I focused on was the connection of ideas. Knight writes that methodology must reflect the literature review and background, in order to give meaning to the choices you have made. I feel that I have attempted to do this already. The sources I included in my literature review dealing with past studies, although similar in content to mine, were different with regards to methodology. They all employed surveys. I thus used these examples to give reason for my choice of face-to-face methods, as it was something that has not been practiced, but deserves to be considered. It was thus very useful to look back and consider if different sections connect with one another instead of standing alone, allowing for the meaning behind my decisions to be revealed.

Written by kristinsztuka

December 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm

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