Arkiver for januar 2010

En poetisk fortelling om trær

januar 24, 2010

Vredens tsunami har lagt seg. Høststormen slynget løvet utover og blottet hjertet mitt. Jeg ligger om natten med bankende tomhet spredt utover i kroppen som sykdom.

Stille går jeg ut i parken. Tenner en sigarett. En bil kjører forbi og jeg synker inn i skyggen av treet som venter og strekker hendene ut mot det for å varme meg.

Men treet er kjølig og jeg lister meg inn igjen. Netthinnens frostsprøde avtrykk av dunkle forgreininger mot natthimmelen gir likevel en mørk søvndyssende ro.

Photo: Olivia Kenna

Denne fortellingen er også postet hos flaneusenorway under respons. Flanøsens vandringer i parker om natten inspirerte meg til å skrive denne fortellingen.

Et fantastisk fotografi av et tre: Micael Kenna

Analyzing Qualitative Inquiry

januar 10, 2010

In all the literature I have read about qalitative inquiry it is always recommended that you choose the ontology, or research paradigme, that is closest to your own world view. Hatch (2006) and Silverman (2006) are both stressing this point. What they also say, is that the epistemology of your research project goes hand in hand with this ontology. Or at least it should do so, in order to keep the coherence in the project and its design – which is closely connected to its validity.

In some cases, however, you are not free to choose either ontology or epistemology, or you work in a project where the researchers have different views on reality and how we can gain knowledge about this reality. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It opens for a lot of discussion, which means you have to scrutinize your own views. Also it mirrors the complexity of the small part of the world we are going to investigate, which is never simple or coherent.

But what are you going to do when you find yourself in a project with many contributors, and your job is to analyze the material? The question is not as simple as it might seem, and luckily, David Silverman, among others, is discussing this in his book Interpreting Qualitative Data . His discussion is about how pure information you can get from for instance qualitative interviews, and this is not a question with one answer, it depends on…right: Your worldview and the epistemology connected to it.

Silverman lines up three different main groups of world views: a) the positivist b) the emotionalist c) the constructivist. The positivist believes that the world is «out there,» and the social researcher’s job is to find and describe the collected data objectively. The emotionalist researcher is digging for the essence of the data, and is only slightly different from the positivist, because he/she also believes that the world is «out there» and the researchers job is to find its purest form, the essence of the phenomenon in question. To be able to do this without interference from one’s own experience, or theoretical knowledge of the object, the researcher has to put his/her experience and theoretical baggage aside, which is called epoche. The constructivist view has several appearances, but what they have in common is of course that they do not believe that it is possible to find any pure or raw social data. All data is constructed, and in case of interview, there is a construction going on between the researcher and the respondent.

If several world views are mixed in the same project, it seems that these could not fit together. What will it do to the validity of the project? It is more and more common that projects are run by project groups, with the described epistemologic variety. How are we going to establish trustworthiness in the results of the project? Kvale and Brinkmann (2007) suggests that there are three different views on validity: a) Validity = coherence. This means that the stringency and coherence in the whole project should be open and obvious, to create trust in the knowledge produced by the project b) Validity = communicativity. This means that there is not necessarily an obvious coherence in the project, it could be more eclectic, but the point is that there has to be one or more readers who discuss the project to conclude about what knowledge is produced c) Validity = pragmatic. This means that the validity in the project is not in the research text, but in what action the text produces, in other words the validity is found in the research project’s impact in the public sphere.

These questions are, as I see it, extremely interesting, because they are not only highly theoretical, they are questions about what we want our research to provide in the society this research is part of. There is no ONE right answer to these questions, and I would be very happy if someone spent some time to discuss it with me.