Sunday, May 20, 2012

Updating us on your current project

Before class on Monday, I'd like you take a few minutes and give the rest of us an update on your current project. What topic or issue have you chosen to write about? Who are you directing your writing to? What's your purpose in writing to them? How is your argument, claim, or main point evolving? What resources have you found helpful thus far, and what resources would you like to find and use that you haven't yet? (Please feel free to contact each other, too, if you find you're working on similar issues, and share resources!)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reflecting on your growth as a writer and a researcher

To start class today, I’d like you to take a few minutes and reflect on what you’ve learned as a writer and researcher thus far in our class and consider these larger questions: How have you developed as a writer? What have you learned about conducting research? To find your way into these questions, you might start by first reflecting on what you’ve learned from completing our current assignment for The Gathering Place. What insights into qualitative research have you gained? What did you learn about writing as you moved from conducting the interviews, to transcribing the recordings, to creating a written piece appropriate for the members of community that comprises The Gathering Place? To enrich this reflection, you then might contrast this experience to what you learned about writing and research from our first assignment, the literature review. What knowledge or expertise did you gain from this assignment that was distinct from the insights of our current assignment? How did this writing experience provide different sorts of lessons for you as a writer?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reflecting on your first round of interviews

After you complete your first set of interviews, I’d like you to take some time to reflect on your experience. First, share with the rest of us what happened during your time at The Gathering Place and describe the key highlights of your interactions with the women at TGP. Second, think back to the expectations you identified in your previous post: Did your experience confirm your expectations? If so, how? If not, why not? Did anything surprise you or unsettle your expectations? If so, what happened? Last, I’d like you to reflect on what you learned as a qualitative researcher: What techniques worked well as you conducted your interview(s)? What might you do differently next time?

Identifying key features of a compelling narrative

To start class today, I’d like you to get into pairs (and one group of three) and using Kozol’s book and the selections from Deborah Connolly’s work on homeless mothers (especially the chapter on Kristy), please identify 3-5 key features of what makes for an effective and compelling narrative. As you explain these features, be as specific as you can and include reference to a few examples. Last, please feel free to discuss any additional features that you as a writer think makes for a strong narrative that these two examples don’t include.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Taking stock of yourself before your first interview

Before Monday's class (or when you complete your first interview with the women at The Gathering Place), I would like you to take some time to reflect on your expectations for this next phase of our course. What do you expect your experience will be like as you conduct these interviews? What questions, concerns, hopes, or anxieties do you have? What do you hope to learn from this experience?

Second, I’d like you to reflect on who you are, your various identities, and the assumptions you bring to this work. What beliefs, values, or ideas about gender, poverty, homelessness, age, race, or any other social issue or identity do you think will inform your experience? What challenges do these issues pose for you? In what ways might they prepare you well for what’s to come?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reflecting on what you’ve learned thus far

As you prepare for our guest speakers from The Gathering Place (who will join us on Monday), I’d like you to reflect on what you’ve learned thus far in our course about gender, poverty, and/or homelessness (or any other related topic that has been significant). Take some time to share with us what the most powerful lessons have been for you. What new knowledge or insight(s) have you gained about the focus of our course? What helped you gain this insight or learn this information (that is, what reading, class discussion, or research study that you encountered helped you learn what you learned)? Last, I’d like you to post two or three questions about gender, poverty, homelessness, and/or The Gathering Place you might ask our guests when they join us on Monday.

If possible, please post your response to these questions by Sunday evening, so that our guests can review them before they join us. Thanks!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Characterizing and contrasting research methodologies

To start class today, I’d like you to take a few minutes and reflect on how Liebow and Knecht & Martinez designed and conducted their respective studies. First, characterize the methodology of each study: How did each set of scholars set out to study their topic in a systematic way? How did their methodologies respond and work to answer their research question? Then, reflect on the insights that their methods made available. What kind of knowledge did each methodology generate about its topic? What are the limitations of each study?