Monday, February 7, 2011

Grbich 8-13

Grbich, C. (2007). Qualitative data analysis: An introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Chs, 3-7

Aarseth, Espen J. (1997). Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Chapter 8: Content Analysis of Texts
I know that this kind of research would not necessarily be offensive to some flavors of grounded theory, but I can't help thinking to myself that this isn't REALLY qualitative research. If I have to know Cohen's kappa to do my research, then...I'm not doing qualitative research.

Chapter 9: Narrative Analysis
I found this to be an interesting and somewhat amusing read...perhaps a bit anachronistic. To say that "[t]he definition of what constitutes a narrative and how it should be treated has shifted and polarised over the past half century" (p. 125) and then to split that down structuralist/post-structuralist lines is soooo 20th-century. Of course, I'm sure that proponents of narrative analysis really don't want to deal with anything too recent, because they're in a sort of "death-match" with ludology right now. The narratologists want you to think that reading games as narrative is the thing to do, but I'm seduced by the thought that “to claim there is no difference between games and narratives is to ignore essential qualities of both categories.” (Aarseth 1997) I got a chance to listen to Espen Aarseth when he was here, and have pretty much abandoned narrative analysis as a viable tool for virtual world research. I sometimes have to think hard about if/how/when I would ever use "ludology" as an analytic tool, but they certainly do a good job of deconstructing narrative analysis to the point where you no longer have a taste for it. And yes, I get the irony that I've glommed onto a post-structural feature of ludology while pooh-poohing the binarity.

I had to chuckle when Grbich defined narrative. A nice slap in the face (albeit indirect) to the ludologists:

"How can we define a narrative? It is evident that the term can cover a wide variety of textual possibilities from fairy tales, myths and legends, paintings, movies, books and journalistic articles to personal autobiography, but not, however, instructions regarding how to do things." (p. 125, emphasis mine)

Chapter 10: Conversation Analysis
I'm not going to rehash much of what has been hashed on this blog over and over the past 3 years or so. I love CA. Gail Jefferson is not the be-all-end-all, just the base from which something else can spring, especially if you are doing anything multimodal. I like Shawn Rowe and Elinor Ochs. This type of transcription is not for the faint-of-heart, nor is it for those who easily decompose from listening to/watching the same 10 seconds over and over for an hour. Transcription IS analysis. Analysis IS transcription...

I was encouraged that Grbich at least made a nod to multimodality on 143-144.

Chapter 11: Discourse Analysis
Trena might remember how bent out of shape some of us got when we found out that our Discourse Analysis class was really a "cover" for a class on Discursive Psychology. It turned out to be the right call (for me at least, thankyouverymuchTrena), but I get just as steamed when it's something I like (say...Foucauldian) that gets virtually passed off as the whole. Yes, she does mention in the key points that DA "spans a broad field from formal linguistic approaches through Foucauldian analyses to cultural and communication studies approaches", and some of her passing examples point to it, but I just don't think it would hurt to have a small blurb on some major strains and how they me unreasonable.

This chapter would give you the impression that the limitations of Foucauldian analysis are the limitations of discourse analysis, when there is such a thing as feminist DA and critical DA. Seriously, Trena, if you had to write a NON-ENCYCLOPEDIC overview of DA, would it only be 8.5 pages long?

Maybe Trena needs to write a qual. book...

Chapter 12: Visual Interpretation
This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Small blurbs on major strains with examples. Brilliant. BTW...I highly recommend the Pink text...very compelling...especially the chapter where she raises awareness about the ethics involved in doing a visual certainly makes one think!

Chapter 13: Semiotic Structural and Poststructural Analyses
Semiotics is the one area where I think an understanding of structural/poststructural underpinnings is critical. How can one understand Derridian semiotics if one does not first understand Saussure and that history? I'm also convinced that it's hard to do certain types of analysis -- like discursive psychology or certain flavors of visual interpretation -- without understanding Derrida. But then, I'm from "across the street".

And I always dislike the criticisms...

"the deconstruction of the deconstructed text...can very quickly lead to meaninglessness." (180)
"The lack of finite conclusions through the constant deferral of meaning also presents difficulties in terms of evaluation and policy decisions."(180)
True dat.
Are you done?
Your statements are informed...(recite the mantra and stick in the appropriate vocabulary while pouring yourself another bowl of Foucault Flakes)...