First Day

The first day of classes went pretty well. I wish my beloved partner would quit reminding me that I have been teaching writing for six years now. I still feel like a rookie. Not because I’m not sure what I’m doing, but because it seems like there is so much more to figure out.

I’m taking the last class that I’m required to take. It starts today, and I’ve been doing the reading. Research methods. Just the name strikes dread in my soul. Not because I’m opposed to research methodologies, mind you, but because my past experiences in methods oriented classes have generally been horrible and irrelevant. For my masters coursework, we used Empirical Research in Writing by MacNeally. This class is using it too. I have no interest whatsoever in watching people write, or using any of the protocols that book suggests. Not that there is anything wrong with “empirical methods,” but I have no use for methods that start with forgone conclusions and then construct studies meant to confirm them. But Designing Qualitative Research (new to me) seems more interesting. For example:

The researcher must let go of some topics and captivating questions as he fine-tunes and focuses the study to ensure its do-ability. Although this entails loss, it bounds the study and protects the researcher from impractical ventures.

Intuition in this phase of the research process cannot be underestimated. Studies of eminent scientists reveal the central role of creative insight—intuition—in their thought processes (Briggs, 2000; Hofmann, 1972; Libby, 1922; Mooney, 1951). By allowing ideas to incubate and maintaining a healthy respect for the mind’s capacity to reorganize and reconstruct, the researcher finds that richer research questions evolve. This observation is not intended to devalue the analytic process but, instead, to give the creative act its proper due. Barger and Duncan (1982) note that research is a process “that religiously uses logical analysis as a critical tool in the refinement of ideas, but which often begins at a very different place, where imagery, metaphor and analogy, intuitive hunches, kinesthetic feeling states, and even dreams and dream-like states are prepotent (p.3). (32-33)

There’s been a lot of that sort of processing going on over the summer. My “disconnect” from reading and writing online has a lot to do with that. I’ve been finding inspiration elsewhere.