The reading for this week was chapters from Carol Berkenkotter’s upcoming Patient Tales and a chapter on researching through discourse and textual analysis. I’ll start there.
Discourse and Textual Analysis are where I feel most comfortable. They don’t involve human subjects, they proceed at the pace of the researcher, and they involve close attention to detail. Add to that some rather extensive background in this sort of thing (it is pretty much exclusively how my Philosophy training was focused), and you have a pretty understandable love of this kind of research. This is the stuff that feels like research. The books spread out across the huge desk, the notes, the piles and piles of papers. Sifting through mountains of text, looking for that one perfect quotation. There’s an honesty to it, I think. A visceral joy that may not come with other kinds of research.
I’m not saying other research is inferior, nor do I want to imply that it isn’t “real”; there’s a lot that other types of research can do that discourse analysis can’t. DA is, in many, many ways, very limited. It’s a first step, usually. A jumping off point for research to begin from. Other things, like Case Studies, offer a whole lot more. What I’m saying is that different research methods work better than others for specific projects. You have to pick what method to use for each project. That feels about as obvious as saying that the sky is blue, but I know for students (myself included) this is a lesson that has to be learned. Well, not exactly learned as pointed out.
Now let me talk about Berkenkotter…