A New Fan of Qualitative Research.

Blog 2. Developing Qualitative Research Questions: A Reflective Process by Jane Agee 

Order of operation is the best phrase that comes to mind after reading this article. Qualitative research isn’t about already having a prediction of the outcome, its more about planning first then working your way up to the outcome. Then one must be prepared to structure research by starting with a question or some sort of curiosity to begin to develop a question. Bottom line is “most qualitative researchers need specific questions for a proposal.” (p.434) Which is only helpful to narrow down your search in the long run. Also discussed was the importance of how the question needs to be framed, yes or no answers just won’t cut it. The good questions will allow an invitation of exploration and discovery throughout the process. The importance of what good research questions and developing sub questions look like were heavily discussed, giving examples of the type of question, how the researcher will be able to properly succeed and developing the research. 

 “Qualitative inquires involve asking the kinds of questions that focus on the why and how of human interactions.” (p.432) There is no secret that I have been having a little trouble jumping right into Qualitative and Quantitative research since day 1 of class. This might sound odd to some, but that sentence above might have helped my perspective a lot. During my time at William Paterson University, in my journalism course, the midterm paper was to tell a story, through another person’s narrative. I decided to tell a story about my friend’s mother who suffered from a cocaine addiction, that led her in jail. My story was so detailed that my professor highlighted my paper to the class and made a huge deal about me being able to ‘paint the picture, with my words’ as she would put it. At the time I had no idea that while I was gathering my information in interview form, I was conducting Qualitative research. Being able to listen and write about a person’s interactions who lived a life under the influence of drugs, which landed her in a completely terrifying environment (jail). All while experiencing withdrawal while dealing with culture shock, was beyond a wakeup call for her. “ With a qualitative study, a researcher is inquiring about such topics as how people are experiencing an event, a series of events, and/or a condition.” (p.434) 

“Janesick (2000,382) suggests beginning with a self-question: What do I want to know in this study?” (p.433) With my journalism paper I wanted to know everything, I didn’t necessarily start off with a specific question, I just had her tell me her story while I wrote. I wanted to be able to see and feel things in the eyes of an addict. I wanted to understand how a drug could be a priority over her own children. At the time of that particular research, I didn’t have just one main question, but since reading this article I now understand during the interview I had many sub questions that narrowed her individual experience vs everyone’s experience while going through those events. However, those questions came while the research was being conducted, while I was listening, questions were being developed. I can’t say that I fully agree to need to have a question before hand when it comes to someone narrating.  Considering she isn’t the first and won’t be the last woman who has been to jail, and have a cocaine addiction. I will say that with the research tools I am gaining now I will start off with self-questions, and let that lead itself.

A question that I always have when it’s time to conduct research are, ‘what is my question’ what is the actual purpose of my research? What exactly am I trying to find out? Then those questions are followed up with, instructing myself to do research to ensure that the research I am looking to conduct hasn’t already been done. During my undergrad, in my first year I remember using Google Scholar and other school-based programs to find accurate research that would be acceptable for my professor. I also recall always doing research in the library, like actually using physical books. These days when conducting research, not only is thinking of a question that hasn’t been thoroughly answered already the most difficult part but finding sources ( for me at least ) is super overwhelming. 

I don’t believe any time before this I was told that research can or should be able personal interests, I think I was just giving an assignment and to research that topic. Moving forward to make my research make more sense I will focus on actual things that I want to learn more about. As of right now qualitative is the way to go, for me. 

The Caring Gap.

In Gabriella Saldanha’s article “The Post-Pandemic University and the Caring Gap”, she writes about the pandemic from the perspective of a working mother and a researcher and about the ever growing gender pay gap. The pay in which we receive is heavily influenced by the historical division of men and women’s labor:“ paid, ‘professional’ work and unpaid ‘caring’ labour”. She goes on to quote Ivancheva et al: “women have attachments, ties and emotional commitments that are culturally and socially assigned in ways that are different to men”. Self promotion is emphasized here, as she mentions that many have responded and said that women lack self-promotion skills; however, she argues that men are better at self promoting since self confidence and assertiveness is encouraged more in boys. 

This pandemic is maddening.

After reading “The Post-Pandemic University and the Caring Gap”, I’ve come to realize even more just how f*cked we are as the 99%. 

Okay, maybe not to that extreme; however, the question of life during and after the pandemic has been four big red exclamation points hovering over anyone who is middle class with a dependent or overwhelming financial responsibilities. As Saldanha put it, “carers and care-free are, respectively but also relatively, time-poor and time-rich.” The time-rich have more choices as to what they want to do, and because they’re always filling that time with productive work that is more than likely for themselves, they feel “busy”. And they are busy. They are overwork-ers.

The time poor do not have that luxury of choices; instead, they’re time is handled and scheduled for them. If there are dependents in the mix, they are also subject to being pulled in both directions at any given time. To put the cherry on the sundae, their finances are not theirs alone. 

Saldhana shared her own experience in the article: 

Research, the most career rewarding activity, is considerably more flexible and, as a result, it has been traditionally left to fit around teaching, tutoring and, since women entered the academy, cooking, putting children to bed, and so on. This leaves weekends and summers. It is exceedingly difficult to carve a sustained period of concentrated work in such circumstances. One year I paid for four weeks of holiday camps for my kids so that I could have one month purely dedicated to research. The bill was £1,400. I was paying to work. 

This made me realise two things: one, it wasn’t just the US women and carers suffering like this and two, why does anyone think a $1,200 stimulus check and 3 months home would be a smooth transition? With so little help? When will the gender pay gap be closed, if ever? 

And if there is enough money to form a $2 trillion package TWICE, why not just pay Americans to stay home for 3 months? In an article published on CNBC, a model suggested that it would cost 360 million to pay American workers to stay home for 4-6 weeks. 

I’m betting it would only take a single $2 trillion package to do that, but then again I did not pick Math as my major for a reason. 

The Caring Gap.

In Gabriella Saldanha’s article “The Post-Pandemic University and the Caring Gap”, she writes about the pandemic from the perspective of a working mother and a researcher and about the ever growing gender pay gap. The pay in which we receive is heavily influenced by the historical division of men and women’s labor:“ paid, ‘professional’ work and unpaid ‘caring’ labour”. She goes on to quote Ivancheva et al: “women have attachments, ties and emotional commitments that are culturally and socially assigned in ways that are different to men”. Self promotion is emphasized here, as she mentions that many have responded and said that women lack self-promotion skills; however, she argues that men are better at self promoting since self confidence and assertiveness is encouraged more in boys. 

This pandemic is maddening.

After reading “The Post-Pandemic University and the Caring Gap”, I’ve come to realize even more just how f*cked we are as the 99%. 

Okay, maybe not to that extreme; however, the question of life during and after the pandemic has been four big red exclamation points hovering over anyone who is middle class with a dependent or overwhelming financial responsibilities. As Saldanha put it, “carers and care-free are, respectively but also relatively, time-poor and time-rich.” The time-rich have more choices as to what they want to do, and because they’re always filling that time with productive work that is more than likely for themselves, they feel “busy”. And they are busy. They are overwork-ers.

The time poor do not have that luxury of choices; instead, they’re time is handled and scheduled for them. If there are dependents in the mix, they are also subject to being pulled in both directions at any given time. To put the cherry on the sundae, their finances are not theirs alone. 

Saldhana shared her own experience in the article: 

Research, the most career rewarding activity, is considerably more flexible and, as a result, it has been traditionally left to fit around teaching, tutoring and, since women entered the academy, cooking, putting children to bed, and so on. This leaves weekends and summers. It is exceedingly difficult to carve a sustained period of concentrated work in such circumstances. One year I paid for four weeks of holiday camps for my kids so that I could have one month purely dedicated to research. The bill was £1,400. I was paying to work. 

This made me realise two things: one, it wasn’t just the US women and carers suffering like this and two, why does anyone think a $1,200 stimulus check and 3 months home would be a smooth transition? With so little help? When will the gender pay gap be closed, if ever? 

And if there is enough money to form a $2 trillion package TWICE, why not just pay Americans to stay home for 3 months? In an article published on CNBC, a model suggested that it would cost 360 million to pay American workers to stay home for 4-6 weeks. 

I’m betting it would only take a single $2 trillion package to do that, but then again I did not pick Math as my major for a reason.