Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Another good class? Is it possible?

Oh joy!

I have to contrast this first class of qualitative methods with the first class of theory last semester. Back then we all had something to prove. The atmosphere was stiff and scared. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, "My name is ______ and I'm interested in the cross-sectionality of _____ and ______ and how that reflects the post-modern blah blah blah-ism." It was brutal.

Today we were greeted with a young, curly-haired professor with almost stylish frames and a warm smile. She hesitated at allowing two non-sociology students to enroll in the class because she likes to use this opportunity as a sociology bonding moment. We don't need it - it's already done. Again, we went around the room describing our interests, and also our goals for academia. Almost every single one of us said this: I am undecided about whether I want to do a PhD. Applications are due in less than a month.

Qualitative research is what I've been missing! It fits me to a T! Forget statistics and everything it stands for! Sure it's given much more credit, funding, and worth in the field, but qualitative has something that, for me at least, stats lacks. Creativity. Gone are dull, data driven papers (feel free to argue with me about my use of 'dull'), and instead there is room for creative writing that is easy - even enjoyable - to read. Ahh.

Not only that but this kind of methodology allows for interaction with real, live people. And not just academic people in a conference stroking each other's egos and other things. The professor was sure to tell us that a qualitative researcher ought not to use academic language to ask questions. It's simplicity that generates the most interesting stuff. That's great. I love that. I hate the opposite of that which is why I've hated grad school up until this point. Qualitative, I love you.

We have to do a research project and the only guidelines are that we study some group related to the politics of preservation. Some examples are those that preserve languages at threat of extinction, the preservation of Quebec nationalism, or the preservation of cheese makers.

I have formed a group and we're thinking of ideas. The preservation of Jewish culture? The preservation of natural beauty? The preservation of live theatre? The preservation of books? What do you think, you brilliant people out there?

One method of qualitative research is photography. I want to do that! Qualitative, I love you.


At January 13, 2007 1:51 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jessica,

I'm glad you're enjoying your program a bit more now. How about the preservation of historic buildings or cultural artifacts?

it's Heidi by the way :)

At January 13, 2007 11:19 a.m. , Blogger Jessica said...

Hey Heidi,

We already talked on MSN. But thanks for the comment anyway!


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