GEND 4205 Webnotes

Scroll down for more webnotes for the Honours Seminar.

October 18 2018
Refusing Research

Today: Annotated bibliography part 1 due

Tomorrow: Applying to Grad School Workshop for Religions and Cultures and Gender Equality and Social Justice students, featuring me and Susan Srigley, on Friday, October 19th, A226, 10-11 am

Leslie Thielen-Wilson on Tuck and Yang and her own research 3:45-5:40

Discussion of Reflection Questions from 5:05-5:40

After Leslie’s talk: How are research topics shaping up?

Next week: Discourse analysis as method

October 4 2018
Method: Surveys and the Positive Spaces Research Project

 Guest Speaker: Candace Ghent https://www.nbdmc.ca/project-about/ Pronouns: they / them

 BREAK

Reinharz, S. (1992). Feminist Survey Research and Other Statistical Research Formats (pp. 76-94). Feminist Methods in Social Research. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press.

What are your questions and comments about this article?

Surveys were used by feminist researchers to “challenge the spurious claim that women’s intellectual work damaged their reproductive organs” (77). How were statistics used to “prove” the “spurious claim” and “disprove” it?

“[C]ollecting quantitative data was considered ‘women’s work’ by the University of Chicago’s male sociologists prior to Ogburn’s introduction to the staff in 1928” (78).

Methodological approach “included the following steps: identifying a local problem, investigating it, creating a clear-cut statistical explanation, bringing the study’s conclusions to the attention of authorities, agitating until appropriate action is taken, and, in the meantime, assuming responsibility for alleviating the problem to the greatest extent possible” (78).

“Survey research can put a problem on the map by showing that it is more widespread than previously thought” (79).

“Demographic data are useful in showing that a problem is increasing, is spreading into new sectors of the population, or is distributed unequally in a population” (82). Demographic data is socio-economic in nature, including population, race, income, education and employment, in specific geographic locations and in specific time periods.

“Statistics are powerful in part because they are concise. Their brevity makes them easily communicated to reporters and lawmakers who seek information. Statistics have legal force and are important in lawsuits concerning sex bias and other injustices of concern to women. Statistics are also powerful because they are easy to remember and comprehend. Survey results can be presented in pictorial form to people who are illiterate or to those who have little understanding of numbers” (83).

“Because the respondents are not randomly chosen, the results cannot be generalized to a specific population” (84). Relate to the Positive Spaces Research Project.

Breastfeeding vs. smoking policies in Chicago restaurants—two simple questions in which the contrast is beautifully revealing (86)

“Del Martin is concerned that the great authority of surveys makes it difficult to eradicate from the public’s view erroneous, survey-based information” (87).

“Information on incest is even harder to obtain [than wife battering] because social taboos against it make it one of the most hidden social problems” (88).

“[T]he absence of a complaint is not evidence of the nonexistence of a problem … targets of harassment are often seriously inhibited from complaining. Surveys, by actively seeking respondents rather than waiting for respondents to come forward, can get at these unreported events” (89).

“The public seems to accept both that one can lie and say anything at all with statistics, and that statistics are decisive” (90).

“[S]urvey research, as other research, is only as powerful as its context allows it to be” (92).

“[T]here is no perfect design, no perfect methodology … the richness of our subject matter demands a full array of methodological tools” (93).

Graff, G. & Birkenstein, C. (2018). “Her Point Is”: The Art of Summarizing and “As He Himself Puts it”: The Art of Quoting (pp. 30-52). “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, 4th ed. New York: W.W. Norton. *These two chapters will be integral to the annotated bibliography due after Reading Week.

Read: http://advice.writing.utoronto.ca/types-of-writing/annotated-bibliography/

After Reading Week: October 18 2018
Assignment 3: Based on your preliminary literature search, select five articles that relate to your research project. Read and summarize each article. Provide a bibliographic reference, identify the argument and identify how you might use the source. You may include articles, chapters or books relevant to your research question/s or areas. Cutting and pasting from abstracts or summaries is not an acceptable approach to creating an annotated bibliography. Ideally, the articles in your annotated bibliography will be useful to your thesis and you will continue working with these articles throughout the next term. You should include relevant course readings (from any course), as appropriate. In addition to Graff and Birkenstein’s chapters on summarizing and quoting, here is a good reference for annotated bibliographies: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/annotated-bibliography.
Value: 8%

September 27 2018
Method: Focus Groups

1. Designing the “Rape Trail” Project

a. Research questions:

What do we want to know?
What is the purpose of this research?
Why might it be important?
What might it reveal?
Will our research be anti-oppressive? Why or why not?

b. Research methods and methodology:

Who do we want to speak to and why?

What method/s will help us get at these questions and why?

What kinds of questions will we ask and why?

Will our research use a quantitative or qualitative approach and why?

How will we access this population?

What will we say in recruiting participants?

Once we choose and justify our method, we need to think through the details. Who? What? Where? When? Why? Who moderates and why? Homogenous groups? Heterogeneous groups? Segmented groups? What do we imagine we will learn? What will it enable us to say? Do we collect demographic data? What would it allow us to say? If yes, what demographic info do we look for? Can participants be anonymous? Justify this decision. Students? Staff? Faculty? What would each add to the data and what do we want to know? What is realistic in scope? What seems doable?

Research methods: “a method is a technique for (or way of proceeding in) gathering evidence” (Brooks & Hesse-Biber, p. 5). e.g. interviews, surveys, statistics, case studies, institutional studies, participant observation

Methodology: Methodology “is a theory of how research is done or should proceed” (p. 5). This is broader than research methods and related to assumptions and principles concerning how research methods should be conducted and why. For example, interviewing is a research method and questions relating to methodology would be: How should we interview – open-ended questions? Closed questions? Should the interviewer and interviewee be the same sex? The same race? Why are interviews the best of “data” collection? Are the interviews taken as fact or as texts to analyze? These questions and their answers relate to “how research is done and should proceed. These are broader rules, principles and ideas about research methods.

c. What bodies of literature might we read to do this project and why? (They Say)

d. What might our data analysis / meaning making look like? What might this data enable us to say? How will this work toward social justice? Are our methods anti-oppressive? Does this project seem doable? What would make it seem doable? How much time will we a lot for this research? What might passing REB look like with this research? (power, knowledge

2. Concepts we must touch on in this process:

Week one:

– research to secure the status quo / challenge it

– power-knowledge-discourse

– what is positivism? what is objectivity?

– why might building relationships be part of research?

– the power of the researcher / seeing oneself as oppressor and oppressed

– “data analysis” / meaning making

– epistemic privilege and its limits: “Epistemic privilege” suggests “the experiences of the oppressed, no matter how diverse, produce more accurate accounts of the social order than the accounts of dominant groups” (71).

– research design

– notes on epistemology: According to Brooks and Hesse-Biber, “epistemology is ‘a theory of knowledge’ that delineates a set of assumptions about the social world and who can be a knower and what can be known… The researcher makes decisions rooted in these assumptions that influences what is studied (based on what can be studied) and how the study is conducted” (p. 5). Epistemology primarily addresses the following questions: “What is knowledge?”, “How is knowledge acquired?”, “What do people know?”, “How do we know what we know?”

– great research tips

Week two:

– sampling

– consent forms

– interview schedule (how to design; time considerations)

– audio recording (have a back-up)

– unstructured / semi-structured / structured interviews

– open- and closed-ended questions

– methodology (what is it and how does it differ from methods?)

– muted language

– probes

– when the interviewer is not listening

– transcription

– insider / outsider interviewer (fluid)

– interviewee and interviewer “matching”

– researching privileged groups and not just “those marginalized in society”

– not only how to do interviews, but how to analyze interviews

Week three:

– “A happening is a conversation that, while prearranged and ‘focused’ by the researcher, remains a dynamic process” (173). Sometimes these group dynamics are helpful and sometimes they are not. Can we think of examples for both?

– “seeking information that people have a good reason not to tell” (176) – what might be an example of this?

– These interpretive focus groups sound amazing but amazingly time consuming—relate to how power shapes knowledge production and ultimately subject formation on who can be a “knower”

– Homogenous / heterogeneous / segmented – and why?

September 20 2018

1. Other business:

– We have this room for the rest of the year.

– Applying to Grad Schools workshop with me and Susan Srigley on Friday October 19 from 10:00 – 11:00 am (room TBD)

2. 3:30-4:30 Rosemary Nagy on interviews in research

3. Concepts from last week:

– research to secure the status quo / challenge it

– power-knowledge-discourse

– what is positivism? what is objectivity?

– why might building relationships be part of research?

– the power of the researcher / seeing oneself as oppressor and oppressed

– “data analysis” / meaning making

– epistemic privilege and its limits

– research design

– notes on epistemology

– great research tips

New concepts / research practices:

– sampling

– consent forms

– interview schedule (how to design; time considerations)

– audio recording (have a back-up)

– unstructured / semi-structured / structured interviews

– open- and closed-ended questions

– methodology (what is it and how does it differ from methods)

– muted language

– probes

– when the interviewer is not listening

– transcription

– insider / outsider interviewer (fluid)

– interviewee and interviewer “matching”

– researching privileged groups and not just “those marginalized in society”

– not only how to do interviews, but how to analyze interviews”

4. They Say / I Say and assignment for next week

 Assignment 2: Come to class having searched for literature that will help you become more familiar with your research area. Keep track of the search engines that you use (e.g. Ebscohost, Scholar’s Portal, Project Muse) as well as the search terms that you have used in each search engine (i.e. “human rights” and “South Africa” in Ebscohost, Project Muse, etc). This will help you avoid repeating searches and develop a sense of which search terms are better than others. Submit a record of these searches in class. Save the .pdfs of articles that look promising to your computer in a file marked “Thesis Articles.” Review the “Research: Work Smart, Not Hard” section of https://howtonotsuckatwriting.wordpress.com/guide/#two
Value: 5%

5. Research Projects

September 13 2018
Becoming an Anti-Oppressive Researcher
1. GENERAL BUSINESS
Requested room change
Recording approved for January, but you need to organize it for yourself
Titles of prior research projects
2. YOUR PROJECTS
Discuss
3. UNDERSTANDING THE READINGS
Some areas I would like to cover:
– research to secure the status quo / challenge it
– power-knowledge-discourse
– what is positivism? what is objectivity?
– why might building relationships be part of research?
– the power of the researcher / seeing oneself as oppressor and oppressed
– “data analysis” / meaning making
– epistemic privilege and its limits
– research design
– notes on epistemology
– great research tips
4. OUR FAKE RESEARCH PROJECT
5. (IF TIME ALLOWS) TIME MANAGEMENT (ha)
6. NEXT WEEK
Very easy assignment on page 16-17 of I Say / They Say – please tailor your answer to question 2 to reflect your own research interests or a topic related to GESJ. 4%
Rosemary to discuss interviews from 3:30 to break
Discuss readings, class projects and design interview questions for our fake project.