Major Learning Outcome II: First Methods Course SBS 362
Atkinson, R. (1998). Contexts and Uses of Life Stories. The Life Story Interview. 44, 1-21. Thousand Oaks, SAGE Publications pp. In the article “Life Story Interview” by Robert Atkinson it discusses specific ideas and guidelines for executing a life story interview. Atkinson places the life story interview into a wider research context before moving on to planning and conducting the interview. He carefully covers the classic functions of stories, the research uses of life stories, generating data from a life story, and the art and science of life story interviewing. He also thoroughly examines the potential benefits of sharing a life story, getting the information desired and questions to ask, and transcribing and interpreting the interview. He first explains in detail what oral histories are, how they are gathered, and how to understand them. The focus of oral history, according to Atkinson, is to gather information about a person, their life, and their story. It can either be a particular point in a person's life or their whole history. The goal is to gather a narrative that both represent the person interviewed and that can be analyzed for the purpose of research. Specifically, how the information can be broken down, to analyze the process of transcribing the interview, and how the information can be looked at through gender, class, and other variables.
The article was informative, and very well- detailed about life stories and life stories interviews. It covered about how oral history can be used in research. The author, Robert Atkinson is quiet similar to Herbert J. Rubin and Irene S. Rubin, both authors set up the fundamentals of using interviews and oral histories to gather data within research.
Bandyopadhyay, M. (2011). Tackling complexities in understanding the social determinants of health: the contribution of ethnographic research. BMC public health, 11(5), 1. In the article “Tackling complexities in understanding the social determinants of health: the contribution of ethnographic research by Mridula Bandyopadhyay starts by discussing her journey as an anthropological researcher in India studying women’s reproductive health. She starts with an explanation for why anthropological research is best for this type of study. Building trust with women takes time, and in order to gather meaningful data about the social and cultural norms within a group, trust is crucial. Bandyopadhyay spent approximately four months in four different locations to gather data for her research. She found that a woman’s access to health services was important, but just as important was access to clean water, adequate nutrition and proper rest. At first, research assistants were employed, but they found the conditions difficult and quit. Bandyopadhyay found that women warmed up to her more quickly after their departure and was pleased to gain a more open relationship with her participants.
Further in the journal article, the author discusses the most difficult site, in which she writes that during the “Emergency Period” in India women (and men) were forcibly and unknowingly sterilized which lead the population to be very distrustful of medical services – particularly those that had to do with reproductive health. The data caused Bandyopadhyay to believe that more health services would not correct the high mortality rate for women. Rather, addressing issues of poverty, undernourishment, low levels of education and adequate housing required attention and would help lower maternal morbidity.
The journal article provides a thorough explanation and example of a successfully conducted ethnographic approach to research. It is a helpful source for capstones examining the culture and society of people.
Bernard, H. R. (1988). Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.6-520  pp.
The Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, maintains a strong benchmark for understanding the scope of contemporary anthropological field methods. Avoiding divisive debates over science and humanism, the contributors draw upon both traditions to explore fieldwork in practice. The second edition also reflects major developments of the past decade, including: the rising prominence of mixed methods, the emergence of new technologies, and evolving views on ethnographic writing. Spanning the chain of research, from designing a project through methods of data collection and interpretive analysis, the Handbook features Chapters on ethnography of online communities, social survey research, and network and geospatial analysis. Considered discussion of ethics, epistemology, and the presentation of research results to diverse audiences round out the volume. The result is an essential guide for all scholars, professionals, and advanced students who employ fieldwork. The book reflects the significant changes that have taken place in the study of anthropology over the last decade, and includes many examples from real field projects. The author lays out the major methods of designing research and collecting and analyzing data in a systematic, scientific fashion. He addresses today's anthropologist's concern with applied work, quantification, sampling and validity, balanced with discussions of more traditional methods. In addition to standard methodological topics, Bernard includes sections on choosing the right research project; taking, managing and coding field notes; and conducting comprehensive litera. The first section covers epistemology, ranging from positivism to postmodernism and radical constructivism, but also incorporating developing areas of interest including 'Feminist Methods' by Christine Ward Gailey and Ulf Hannerz on 'Transnational Research'. The second section contains seven chapters on the practicalities of acquiring information. The first four chapters cover person-centered methods, including participant observation and interviewing. The remaining chapters focus on document-based methods, including discourse analysis, and visual and historical anthropology. The third section deals with interpretation. Here the statistical roots of anthropology are evident, with two of the three chapters focusing on quantitative methods. H. Russell Bernard and Gery W. Ryan's chapter on 'Text Analysis: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods' provides a welcome synthesis of qualitative and quantitative approaches at a time of increasing division between the two camps. Finally, the fourth section is concerned with the engagement of anthropologists with diverse audiences. This is unusual in such a book and represents a break from the image of anthropology as purely an academic discipline. In this section, Robert T. Trotter II and Jean J. Schensul examine the use of anthropological techniques in policy orientated research, while Conrad Phillip Kottak provides an overview of the dissemination process in relation to a variety of audiences. As well as giving details of the perspective or method, each chapter provides a history of its evolution and most of the authors are interestingly honest about the drawbacks of their approach as well as its benefits. Each chapter ends with a wide bibliography, in some cases nearing 10 pages, counterweighing possible criticisms that depth has been sacrificed for breadth. The book was highly beneficial; I like how the starts with a solid foundation about the history of research and gives good insight in anthropological research and the complete Sampling theory and the useful examples for observation. Bloor, M, Frankland, J., Thomas, M., & Robson, K. (2001). Focus Groups in Social Research, London: Sage Publishing. 1-37 pp. In the article” Focus Groups in Social Research” by Michael Bloor, Jane Frankland, Michelle Thomas and Kate Robson it discusses the importance of focus groups in studying group norms and dynamics because of the obscurity associated with normative group behaviors. Next, the authors, provide examples of how focus group research can be used in supplementary ways. For example, focus groups can be used to pilot work, to give context to survey design, to provide interpretation and understanding of survey results and to offer dialogue with research participants that encourage feedback as well as new insights. Importantly, Bloor and colleagues discuss how focus group findings can be used to expand or even challenge findings in survey studies. Perhaps most considerably, the chapter furnishes a clear explanation of triangulation along with an emphasis that focus groups should not be used for validation functions. To spotlight the value of focus groups, the authors provide examples of how such data can aid in multi-method studies.
The authors use examples, drawn from their own focus groups research experience, and provide exercises for further study. They address the main components of composition, conduct and analysis in focus group research and also acknowledge the increasing impact the Internet has had on social research by covering the role and conduct of virtual focus groups.
The article provided a good overview of focus research. The strength of the being of the article is the excellent discussion of group norms and how focus groups can be used as a stand-alone method of better understanding of the functionality groups. There are especially good examples I the chapter of focus groups, complementing and other useful methods.
Golafshani, N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research. The qualitative report, 8(4), 597-606. pp. In the article “Understanding reliability and validity in qualitative research” by Nahid Golafshani takes a confusing look at the way reliability and validity factor into qualitative research. Starting with a quick and clear look at reliability and validity as it applies to quantitative research, there is a quick move to qualitative and the lack of clarity displays itself. Golafshani is certainly attempting to perform a difficult task as qualitative researchers are divided on the way in which reliability and validity factor into their field.
According to Golafshani, “a good qualitative study can help us ‘understand a situation that would otherwise be enigmatic or confusing’”. This definition is helpful and brings some clarity to the issue. Truly, how can you test this type of research to prove it is reliable or valid? Stenbacka declares that they have no relevance in qualitative research because they are measurements deployed in quantitative research alone.
When one conducts research, the goal is to make it in some way generalizable, and in qualitative research this would be referred to as “trustworthiness.” The use of triangulation (whereby a researcher uses multiple methods for data collection, i.e. interview, observation, and archival etc.) helps to create more trustworthy findings.
This article was a bit challenging to read. There were so many citations within the article that I found it hard to read over. I understand that it is important to properly cite sources and appreciate that Golafshani took so much time to ground the findings inside a larger context but it was challenging.
Groleau, D., Pluye, P., & Nadeau, L. (2007). A Mix-Method Approach to the Cultural Understanding of Distress and the Non-Use of Mental Health Services. Journal of Mental Health, 16(6), 731-741 pp. In the article “A Mix-Method Approach to the Cultural Understanding of Distress and the Non-Use of Mental Health Services” by Groleau, Pluye, and Nadeau states that mixing the methods of research is based on using the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research serves to supply thorough reports which give secure internal legitimacy such as ethnography. Quantitative research provides secure external legitimacy such as surveys.
The aim of the authors is to explain the confirmation that external and internal legitimacy is beneficial to provide better understandings of health problems with a community, and in this case, they talk about trauma as a mental health disorder. It also is beneficial to the supply of creating a customized mental health service for the community. Their project consisted of two goals; the first was to identify why there were numerous amounts of symptoms and distress that have not been explained within their sample community. The second goal was to determine the amount of service-use in the mental health services provided and the reasons why some were not used.
The article gives a beneficial case that proves their argument about mixing methods between qualitative and quantitative research. This combination can provide a researcher with rich data and outcomes that will both support their argument and advance credibility.
Hopwood, N. (2004). Research design and methods of data collection and analysis: researching students' conceptions in a multiple‐method case study. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 28(2), 347-353.  pp. In the article “Research Design and Methods of Data Collection and Analysis: Researching Students' Conceptions in a Multiple-Method Case” Study by Nick Hopwood it discusses about a study conducted on student’s ability to understand geography. The article is broken down into two parts. The first part of the article sets up the study, the methods used, the theoretical framework, and the influence that the study was created under. The study of students and geography was done using interviews, and asking students to draw what they thought geography is about. The second part of the study explains epistemological and grounded theory. Epistemological is the study of what you know and how you know it, and as used in the study cited by Hopwood to understand student's knowledge of geography. Grounded theory, according to Hopwood, is used in medical research, but is also used in educational research. It uses different types of qualitative methods.
This study used three different tasks to qualitatively measure geographical knowledge. Task 1: Poster board. Task 2: Questionnaire. Task 3: Semi-structured interview. The tasks moved from the interviewer being only slightly involved to the interviewer directing the task.
The article was informative and I liked how the article blended theory, method and epistemology. It was interesting to read how these areas where used to study students understanding of geography.
Hughes, E. C. (1960). Introduction: The place of fieldwork in social science." Field work: An introduction to the social sciences. 141-147.  pp. In the article “The place of fieldwork in social science” by Everett Cherrington Hughes discusses about watching people doing what they do. It is simple observation in a methodical manner. Sociologists use observation, as an outsider and “insider” (meaning they have some connection to the group they are studying.) Robert E. Park was interested in the behavior of crowds and public and helped combine two different ways of study (interview and observation.) Both provide valuable information to a researcher.
The ethnologist reports on whole communities of people, while the sociologist reports on a select few within the larger group. Most often this will be on a minority or powerless group. In this way, sociologists are able to give voice to the voiceless.
It was a great article to read since it helped me focus my academic pursuit. I want to be a voice for those who are silenced, and to help abused children in my community. I find research to be very useful tool since it connects with helping me practice my observational skills and also my interviewing skills too.
Rubin, H.J., & Rubin, I. S. (2011). Listening, Hearing, and Sharing Social Experiences & Foundations of Qualitative Interviewing. In Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data (3rd ed., pp. 1-41). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications. pp. In the article “Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data”by Herbert J. Rubin and Irene S. Rubin, it discusses what qualitative interviewing is. Qualitative interviewing gives the researcher the opportunity to gain first-hand information and rebuild the experiences lived by the interviewees, benefiting the research itself. Qualitative interviewing grows from regular conversation skills. People naturally know when to answer, how long or short the answer should be, when to change the subject, etc. However, there is also many differences. It is used for the purpose of research and regular conversations are not. The information received is used for analysis and publishing work. In the following two chapters, we learn the three characteristics that make this type of data gathering different from other forms of research, types of interviews, and a look at the Qualitative Interview Model.
Qualitative interviewing claims that there are three important features that make it different from other types of data or research collection. The first is the adjustments of regular conversations with critical differences. The second is that interviewers comprehend the perception and awareness of the interviewees and not classify under academic theories. The third difference is the interview is made up of questions the researcher has, but the flux of the interview adjusts to the interviewees’ behavior and feelings.
Qualitative interviewing differs in many ways. Some may be stricter than others, some might have more of a story-telling atmosphere, etc. Topical oral history is a type interview which focuses on the experience of a certain historical occurrence. The aim of the interview is to relive how the event happened by the information provided and the way it was understood by this particular interviewee. Another type is life histories, meaning that the goal is to understand how the interviewee felt as they lived different stages of life. This can be beneficial to social change. Evaluation interviews are used to know if new projects are satisfying users. Examples may include law changes, updates to programs, school changes, and other related projects.
The two chapters in the article were highly informative The context of these two chapters provides a thorough comprehension of a successful and valuable interview consists of. This article was beneficial for those implying interviewing as part of their methodology for any research.
Major Learning Outcome III: Second Concentration CourseSBS 379
Atkinson, M. (2004). Tattooing and Civilizing Processes: Body Modification as Self‐control*. Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue canadienne de sociologie, 41(2), 125-146.  pp. In the article Tattooing and Civilizing Processes: Body Modification as Self-Control by Michael Atkinson discusses why individuals acquire tattoos. The article is comprised of a three-year participant observation with tattoo enthusiasts in Canada in an attempt to prove that tattooing is not a deviant harmful act but a way of communication and self-expression.
Data suggests that, in Canada, the behavior to tattooing is described as a reasonable way of expressing one's identity and "a conservative gesture of conformity to dominant norms of self-restraint " (pg. 130). In expressing one’s identity, the I-WE figure is explained. Tattoos have a meaning or reason to an individual, hence the I part of the figure. The tattoo can also symbolize or have meaning towards a group, such as religion, family, or social affiliations, hence the WE. As for the second reason, Conformity, the author explains the relationship between emotions and tattoos. People get tattoos to represent certain emotions or behaviors that they do not show. An example given is a Canadian woman getting a tattoo representing her sexual side. This tattoo gives her confidence with men and as she says, gets more attention.
The article was interesting to read, I like how the author concludes by stating that although tattoo enthusiasts express and construct a positive environment of tattoos and tattooed bodies, it is still not a widespread culturally-accepted art. Atkinson advises that researchers should further analyze and challenge exaggerated generalizations of interpretations of tattooing that have no historical reference. Atkinson calls for the need of empirical declaration that can make clear of the involvement in getting and living with tattoos. This study educates the readers about tattoo enthusiasm in Canada. Although body modifications such as tattooing and piercing have been construed as signs of deviance, during the past two decades’ body alteration has begun to filter into mainstream culture as a popular form of self-expression.
Edut, O. (Ed.). (1998). Adios, Barbie: Young women write about body image and identity. Seattle, WA: Seal Press. 3-224  In the book Adios Barbie: Young Women Write About Body Image and Identity by Ophira Edut is about addressing everything you always wanted to know about body image, from leg hair to transsexuals and African American women’s posteriors, the 27 female contributors present a spectrum of attitudes toward the female body. Although a few of the essays are weak when compared to the book’s best pieces, the volume as a whole is a step forward in the discussion of how feminine attractiveness is viewed in American society, concluding that women must seek their own definition of beauty in order to gain a sense of self-acceptance. Essays such as Susan Jane Gilman's ""Klaus Barbie, and Other Dolls I'd Like to See"" and Graciela Rodriguez's ""Breaking the Model"" provide insight into the challenges of young women who grew up feeling as if they had to compete with the pert and impossibly perfect Barbie. Other pieces, such as ""My Jewish Nose"" by Lisa Jervis and ""My Brown Face"" by Mira Jacob, illuminate the obstacles in trying to emulate a Caucasian appearance. Every writer in this splendid collection raises a different issue, yet the essays address the same theme and, cumulatively, make for compelling and important reading.
The chapter that really made the book worth reading for me was called body image: third wave feminism’s issue? Story by Amelia Richards where she mentions the different things that feminism has fought for over the past, and how different “feminists” are today, both from their predecessors and from each other. She speaks of people like me, who don’t identity as a feminist but still care about similar issues. She also talks about how being a feminist doesn’t mean you don’t get body conscious, or have doubts and insecurities. I appreciate this point of view because I feel that too often the focus of feminism is on overcoming insecurities of blocking out the part of the world because of them. Like any movement, if you push too hard the in one direction about feminism you can turn individuals away then bring them in to the reality of the movement and what is really stands for.
This is a brilliant, witty, sad, and angry book that is a must-read for any woman who has ever been unhappy, happy or indifferent about her own body. Another exciting sample of Third-Wave Feminists clever, quick-witted writing. And of course, for those who love controversy, this is also a must-read.