All posts by teethee

Till we meet agian

To everyone,

I am thankful for the time we had. It’s our last class, and I’m out of words, I don’t know how to express my gratitude to you all. You’re all an inspiration to me, in all seriousness, and I don’t want any of you to take that lightly.

Before this class, I’ve never really had any real critics, just my father, who is my only critic and the harshest one at that. I take your criticism with me and hope to make my project better. I can’t wait till one day when you guys are famous published authors, researchers, etc., and I can say I know them!

Dr. Zamora, I think you know this already, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say this, you are a beautiful person with a beautiful soul and we cherish, love and appreciate you.

Till next time folks!

Writer’s Retreat Day 7

Today I’m quite sad. I’m sad it’s almost over. There is only one more day of writing into the day, only one more day of hearing Dr. Zamora’s wisdom as she hones into each writer’s work, and only one more day where I’m held accountable for the progress, I make towards my project.

I am a responsible adult, sometimes. The real concern is, do I trust myself to complete my project on my own? Hell no. But that’s a hurdle I have to overcome. I have to stop relying on people. I’ve relied on people for as long as I can remember, in the weirdest ways, let me explain…

I usually go work at my local Starbucks, not now, obviously, but when it was possible, I would go there because most of everyone that was there, was there, to work. So the strangers kept me on track, how would it look if I was the only weirdo that was watching Netflix on my laptop while everyone else was hard at work? Like a freaking weirdo, that’s right. So I had no choice but to continue to work.

Recently since I can’t go to Starbucks, I have found myself working where ever my dad is in the morning until he leaves for work. Because man, if you take a break in front of this man, he will show you work that’s been pending, so if I’m around him, I know I have to keep busy to avoid doing his work. I’m not a terrible child, I swear! He just always has some type of work ready for me on cue, it’s never-ending, go to the bank, email my lawyer, fax a document, etc. So when he’s around, I literally can’t stop working, and in a way, that’s a good thing for me.

So you see, I rely on people to keep me on course even if they don’t know I am doing it. I know it’s pretty weird, but that’s just how I’ve operated my whole life. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, but it is a bad habit. My dad leaves to work around noon, and my mom doesn’t come back from work until 2 pm so that in-between time when I’m alone, boy, I am so distracted. So you see why I need this class and why I don’t want it to be over. But I am thankful for the time we had, and I can’t wait till next summer to retake the class, whether it fits my graduate school plans or not!

I just want to end by saying it’s funny, this feeling because I remember as a kid, and even as a teacher now, when school comes to an end, I am ecstatic. But I don’t feel ecstatic, not anywhere near that.

How I thought I’d feel when this course was over:

How I feel:

Writer’s Retreat Day 6

Gloomy summer days are the best days. I know some of you might be reading this thinking is she crazy? But picture this, the temperature is nice and warm, it’s a tab bit humid, but then there’s a subtle breeze that runs through your hair as your walking your dog down the block, who is yet again chasing another squirrel. Today you don’t mind being dragged by your dog; you actually enjoy the walk because for once, it’s not scorching hot. You then reach home and decide to sit outside to write because it’s warm enough, and you also enjoy a cup of hot tea because it’s cool enough; it’s the perfect in-between kind of day—end scene.

Is it me, or is there just something about nature that inspires you. As I sit out here to write my blog, I wonder how class would have been if we were on our campus, which is impeccably beautiful. Nonetheless, my backyard does the job, and ever since quarantine, I’ve seen all different types of birds and animals, I swear I saw a gopher or at least that’s what I think it was.

Besides googling and learning about every bird and animal I see as I sit out here, through this experience, I have also learned a lot about myself, it been an enriching journey. Not am I only learning about myself, but I am also learning that every writer experiences the same hardships and sentiments I feel, and that makes me feel a tiny bit better. I am just feeling totally blessed to be graced by such amazing writers but also just amazing people overall. As per my project, I am experiencing major writer’s block again; I think I’m going to watch some Netflix for now and come back to it in an hour!

The animal I saw looked just like this!

Writer’s Retreat Day 5

We were talking about structure this morning, and how we need to make more realistic goals for ourselves, and if we meet that goal and then some, that would be a good day. I really needed to hear that. I told myself last Thursday that I would find time to write this weekend, which was super unrealistic because my cousins came over Friday. The weekend consisted of good food, great conversation, and lots of booze, of course, and you know when alcohol is involved, the drama is not far from it. So when the hangovers wore off, and we finally awoke, we reminisced all day Saturday and went to the beach on Sunday. All while, I felt a sense of guilt for my not doing what I should have been doing. But honestly, I had major writer’s block last week, and just going away from the writing and not thinking about it 24/7 was refreshing. Today I feel like I’m on a roll with my project, so I’m going to keep this blog short and sweet to go work on my project!

Writer’s Retreat Day 5

We were talking about structure this morning, and how we need to make more realistic goals for ourselves, and if we meet that goal and then some, that would be a good day. I really needed to hear that. I told myself last Thursday that I would find time to write this weekend, which was super unrealistic because my cousins came over Friday. The weekend consisted of good food, great conversation, and lots of booze, of course, and you know when alcohol is involved, the drama is not far from it. So when the hangovers wore off, and we finally awoke, we reminisced all day Saturday and went to the beach on Sunday. All while, I felt a sense of guilt for my not doing what I should have been doing. But honestly, I had major writer’s block last week, and just going away from the writing and not thinking about it 24/7 was refreshing. Today I feel like I’m on a roll with my project, so I’m going to keep this blog short and sweet to go work on my project!

Writer’s Retreat Day 4

Once again, my thoughts are scattered…

Thought 1: I want to start by saying I love beginning each day with the writing into the day prompts. It’s freewriting, but its guided freewriting, which invites me to reflect on my journey. It’s funny because only a few people will engage in reflective writing, but I wish it were a requirement of some sort, like showering or brushing, it should just be something that’s done daily. In my perfect world, everyone would freewrite for ten minutes a day, welcome to Teethee’s Utopia, maybe a Dystopia for some of you who hate freewriting.

But there is just so much that comes about when you are reflecting; there are things I write that I don’t even know I am thinking. It’s such a fascinating process, and maybe that’s why I don’t want this journey to end because I am not self-disciplined enough to continue this process when our retreat is over.

Thought 2: As I write, I read aloud every word I am jotting down, that’s sort of my way of establishing a voice and tone for my writing. Today though, my sister decided it would be funny to go on my twitter and read aloud one of my blogs in front of my family. I was not upset that she was sharing my blog, but what bothered me was that she had no rhythm or personality when reading it. She sounded like a robot, and that made me wonder, what if everyone reading my blogs is a monotone robot and can’t hear my enthusiasm as I write? I think I may have to attach a voice recording of myself reading my own writings because I just can’t have this type of injustice occur to my writing or any writing at all.

It’s ironic because the situation with my sister occurred this morning and later this afternoon, we heard Medea narrate her story so beautifully, and I don’t think anyone else could have done a better job. It’s crazy because up until today, I never gave audiobooks the time of day. I’m a reader, a dreamer, I like adding my own voice to things, but now I think I need to give audiobooks a chance and perhaps make my own.

Thought 3: I don’t know what’s going on up in my noggin, it’s been going on since yesterday, I have nothing to say but so much to say. I’m hoping this weekend is different I REALLY need to start making progress towards my writing.

Thought 4: Have a wonderful weekend everybody.

Writer’s Retreat Day 3

As I sit to write today, I feel like I have nothing to say, but I have a billion thoughts, a million maybe, sporadic ideas going through my mind. So today, I’ll do more of a freewrite and write down everything that comes to mind.

Thought 1: Day three, is it me, or is everything moving very quickly? I vote to have writer’s retreat all summer, everyone that agrees, tweet “I!”

Thought 2: As I go through each stage of graduate school, I am becoming more confident and sure of myself. Growing up, I assumed confidence was a character trait. As I go through this process, I am learning confidence is not something you have; it is something you create. Today I am feeling very confident, and I’m a little startled because trust me; it’s not always like this. But it is a good feeling.

Thought 3: Although I feel confident, I am a little flustered. I’m still trying to figure out how I am going to glue the two pieces of my project together. I spent the morning looking for the book of short stories I wrote with my father back in the day. I knew it was somewhere because I am usually one to save everything just in case I need it in the future. Eventually, around 11 am, I found it. I began flipping through each page; it was a nostalgic journey to the past, and through each page, I was reliving my youth. I totally used up all my writing time going down memory lane.

Thought 4: I eventually did get started later in the afternoon, I’m going to continue to work throughout the evening.

Writer’s Retreat Day 2

Up until yesterday, I thought I knew what I wanted my project to be, but I was still a little skeptical. I wanted to write something worthwhile, but also something that kept me captivated throughout.

As I was working on my freewrite prompt for the day, trying to answer the big question: “What were the most impactful thinking moments from yesterday?” An essential part of what I was thinking yesterday was that I wanted to engage in a project that allowed me to work with my father. That’s when I came up with the idea of writing a series of short moral stories, because growing up, that’s the activity my father and I did the most. He would articulate stories in our native language (Gujarati), and I would translate the stories and write them in English. He would never admit that he relished those moments; his excuse was he was helping me
“become a stronger writer.” Which, in turn, I think he did.

As I continued to work on today’s freewrite, I got an even better idea, the second most impactful thing I thought yesterday was that I wanted to work on a project that kept me engrossed. Nothing is more interesting to me than my father’s journey. He is not in any way famous, just a simple man who probably has the same story as any other immigrant father. But it’s much more than that for me.

You ever look at your parents and think, “Wow, I don’t even know you?” That’s how I feel about my father, growing up he was never really around, he worked day and night, literally. And other than that, he has kept most of his life before having me, private. The only anecdotes I know are the ones I’ve heard from his uncles and aunts.

So day two of writers retreat has been a success, not entirely because I have not started writing yet, but I am now 100% certain about what I want to do. I am going to write a Biography of My Father. This means sitting down with him every night for the rest of this week and interviewing him, more like irritating him until he throws the remote at me. I may or may not be joking about the last part.

Writer’s Retreat Day 1

I wasn’t ready for today. School just came to an end last Thursday, and my brain automatically went into summer mode. I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just chilling like a villain. So when I had to set a timer Sunday evening, I was feeling dismal.

This morning seeing everyone’s faces and hearing everyone’s aspirations about why they are pursuing a graduate degree put me back into my mojo. I was a little concerned about what my writing project would be. I chose this program because I do see myself as an adjunct professor one day, and maybe later, I’ll complete my Ph.D. and be a full-time professor, who knows. So any writing I have done or continue to do is always related to work or academics. Sometimes I feel like I have no creative bone in my body. I still want to write, mainly stories with lessons at the end, because those are my favorite kinds of tales. But I have never dared to write anything remotely creative. I read authors such as Slyvia Plath and Alice Walker and wonder how they were able to write so beautifully.

I am hoping this class helps me loosen up and be a little more open towards any other type of writing besides just academic writing. I am super excited because I was thinking about a spot where I can just sit and write, and then I realized my mother, and I cleaned out our garage two weekends ago. If I can figure out how my wifi can reach my little den, I’ll throw up some lights, a few plants for greenery, and some background music and viola, a perfect writing hideout.

On that note, time to go set up this den, maybe I’ll do one of those before and after TikTok videos on the dens transformation, just maybe…

A Comparison of Phenomenology, Discourse Analysis, and Grounded Theory

Qualitative research methods make seminal contributions to health sciences. Qualitative research methods allow health sciences researchers to investigate questions of meaning, examine institutional and social practices, identify obstacles and facilitators to change, and explore reasons for success or failure of interventions. It has been a significant challenge for human science professionals when choosing types of research methods they should use to respect the uniqueness, complexity, and meanings of human lived experience. 

Methods of qualitative research seem to build and overlap each other. With that being said, “Choose Your Method: A Comparison of Phenomenology, Discourse Analysis, and Grounded Theory” by Helene Starks and Susan Brown Trinidad aims to compare three commonly used theories by health researchers. Here are the three methods:

  1. Phenomenology: philosophy based approach, emphasizes the description of lived experiences. 
  2. Discourse analysis: emphasizes human language and brings a socially critical lens to the study.
  3. Grounded theory: theory-building approach of basic social processes.

Data collection strategies for all three approaches can use a mix of observation, interviews, and close reading of existing texts.

I have always thought grounded theory and phenomenology are very similar; they both collect data, the objective is to elict the participant’s story and generally share a descriptive approach as well as continually refining and categorized data. But this paper drew a clear picture of how they are different. Phenomenology investigates lived experiences and interprets those experiences, whereas ground theory is open and extracts themes from data. Phenomenology collects data only from a few individuals (1 to 10) vs. grounded theory, where the researcher adds individuals until the sample reaches theoretical saturation, could be 10-60 or more. 

For discourse analysis, the sampling is also different. It depends on the study and what is required; it could be a single person or multiple people. The objective of interviews for discourse analysis is to capture the particpant’s language. Unlike phenomenology and grounded theory, this method does not assume the participant exactly means what they say. The researcher has to ask questions to clarify what the meaning of the participant’s words means. 

I know I am summarizing a lot, but this article is summing up what each method entails, not leaving much room for opinion. I feel I do like this paper because it’s helping me recall each theory and understand and appreciate it more than before. 

Coding is done for all three methods. For phenomenology, each statement is analyzed and categorized into meaning to represent the phenomenon. Coding for a discourse analysis involves identifying themes and roles through language. And lastly, coding for Grounded theory seems the hardest, where coding takes the most time, from open coding, axial coding, and selective coding. 

A study with 25 primary care physicians, explored their use of informed decision making for prostate cancer, was illustrated with the three above approaches. We can really see what each method contributed to this study. 

Phenomenology sheds light on how the physicians feel, feelings of angst, confusion, frustration, and resentment that they cannot meet their patients’ needs because of the lack of clear recommendations for prostate cancer screening. Discourse analysis shifts the attention to the physicians’ interactions with patients. In this case, PCP’s accounts of how they talk to their patients about prostate cancer shows what discourse is brought to the interactions as well as what other dialogue it triggers. 

Personally, I like the grounded theory approach for this study. Each method brought a unique perspective, but I like that grounded theory looks beyond the physician’s and patient’s outlook. It develops an actual theory that explains what leads to prostate cancer screening discussions and how and why physicians engage in these discussions. So it kinda does what phenomenology and discourse analysis does but also leaves room to formulate a theory. 

I am using grounded theory for my paper, which feel is a little harder than Phenemogly and Discourse analysis after reading this paper. But I am up for the challenge! 

Works Cited:

Starks, Helene and Trinidad, Susan Brown. “Choose Your Method: A Comparison of Phenomenology, Discourse Analysis, and Grounded Theory.” Qualitative Health Research (17):10 (December 2018).