Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My paradigm changed right in front of me!

I was completing my first interview for my class project in qualitative research. After researching blogs, I found two ethnographies by Nardi, et al. When I checked my Hatch book, he said that ethnographic studies were about in-depth interviews. Okay, that makes sense, and that the paradigm would be post-positivist, meaning that we can't identify one "truth" although it may be floating around there somewhere.

Well, I was surprised, frankly, because I really see my understanding of knowledge as constructivist. I thought. But last night, in a practice interview with a classmate where she was interviewing me, at the end of our interview she echoed my story--in five phrases. Which, by the way, is really weird to hear your whole life in five steps. What do you say? "Well, looks like you about covered everything." "No, I can't think of anything to add." Can't think of anything to add? That was so depressing to me.

Anyway. I asked her about echoing my life story--if that was okay to do. She said it depended on your paradigm. Her paradigm was constructivist, so she needed to check back with me to see if she was hearing what I said and she was constructing my story along with me. Even as we talked she tried to pull certain events to the front. She tried to generalize a bit and make these connections with me. (It felt weird, but that's another story.) So, as I spoke with D. in the interview today, I almost echoed her story/history back to me. I wanted to share with her the article that I found Nardi. I wanted to share the percentages I had read about blogging activities. But I stopped myself because I had chosen this post-positivist paradigm. In this paradigm, I just see myself as collecting data, and later making generalizations and looking for patterns. So, what am I?

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