Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-02-22 20:09:00

In Cindy Johanek’s Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition I was interested in the article Numbers, Narratives, and He vs. She Issues of Audience in Composition Research. When I was reading the article, I just kept thinking comfort. I felt as though I could relate to this article in a way because I do not feel math is my area of strength, and I know my “lack of confidence in math or statistics naturally leads to avoidance” (qtd. in Johanek 67). But, it might be shocking that I also agree with a lot of the arguments supporting math. Although reading and doing math might not necessarily be what you like, that still does not eliminate the fact it is important.
The solution seemed quite simple to me and it brings me back to several classroom discussions. One in which Dr. Zamora said the only way to get better is to read it more. Another in which Dr. Zamora and several students emphasized a great paper incorporates both your own personal input and research. I think both of the comments mentioned are important to recall, and I also think it is important to question whether our schools and researchers have done a great job teaching and reinforcing both personal input and outside research.
In addition, I also think it is important to bring up this idea that schools teach us to have a variety of sources and techniques, and I like the fact Johanek mentions using “all available tools to make necessary changes” (70). Following the school and Johanek’s advice, is a way to conquer bias which is an issue brought up in the article. But in some cases, I thought it was a good idea not to include all the research because of the way the researcher chose to get the results. In other circumstances as Johanek displayed, it hindered the author more than it helped. In conclusion, I liked the fact Johanek tried every way possible to make others position and her own understandable.





Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-02-22 20:09:00

In Cindy Johanek’s Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition I was interested in the article Numbers, Narratives, and He vs. She Issues of Audience in Composition Research. When I was reading the article, I just kept thinking comfort. I felt as though I could relate to this article in a way because I do not feel math is my area of strength, and I know my “lack of confidence in math or statistics naturally leads to avoidance” (qtd. in Johanek 67). But, it might be shocking that I also agree with a lot of the arguments supporting math. Although reading and doing math might not necessarily be what you like, that still does not eliminate the fact it is important.
The solution seemed quite simple to me and it brings me back to several classroom discussions. One in which Dr. Zamora said the only way to get better is to read it more. Another in which Dr. Zamora and several students emphasized a great paper incorporates both your own personal input and research. I think both of the comments mentioned are important to recall, and I also think it is important to question whether our schools and researchers have done a great job teaching and reinforcing both personal input and outside research.
In addition, I also think it is important to bring up this idea that schools teach us to have a variety of sources and techniques, and I like the fact Johanek mentions using “all available tools to make necessary changes” (70). Following the school and Johanek’s advice, is a way to conquer bias which is an issue brought up in the article. But in some cases, I thought it was a good idea not to include all the research because of the way the researcher chose to get the results. In other circumstances as Johanek displayed, it hindered the author more than it helped. In conclusion, I liked the fact Johanek tried every way possible to make others position and her own understandable.





Jessica Taylor Writing Research and Methods 2016-02-22 18:11:00


Jessica Taylor

ENG

2/21/2016

Dr. Zamora

Response to “Numbers, Narratives, and He Vs. She: Issues of Audience in Composition Research”

               The forth chapter of Cindy Johanek’s book Composing Researchfocuses on arguments against the traditional research paradigm, which to many compositionists is considered to be male-dominated, written in a disinteresting style, and unpleasant to read and write. According to Johanek, moving forward from the “traditional research” paradigm, and towards acceptance of qualitative research and storytelling, allows for more diverse researchers to express their voices. The chapter focuses on three sources of arguments against the traditional research model: general anxiety about mathematics and statistics, feminist response to that older model, and our preference for writing that is more creative and literary than the standard research report (57). Throughout the entire chapter, however, there is the overlapping of Johanek’s opinion that research methods relying on numerical data should remain valuable and continues to have an important place in composition research.

               Johanek first focuses on the general anxiety of mathematics and statistics. Math provides insight and enhances our understanding, but many compositionists seem to avoid research that deals with statistical analysis. Why? One reason that Johanek offers is that numbers are often seen as being in a separate world than people, and compositionists are in the business of “people stories”. Johanek cites many examples of researchers who apologize for their use of numbers and who sometimes do the work of collecting the data, but don’t share that data with readers. In “Counting Beans and Making Beans Count” (1997) Lerner apologizes to readers by writing that he is aware that “numbers can obscure” and that they can “reduce those complex human beings…down to manageable integers” (59). He does this because he is aware of his dual audience. On one hand, his research complies with the needs of administrators—“college administrators often want numbers, digits, and results”. On the other hand, Lerner is writing to an audience of his peers, compositionists and those who are interested in Writing Center work (59).

               Some researchers go further than apologizing for their data, sometimes they completely leave it out. Both Fitzgerald, Mulvhill, and Dobson (1991) and Hunzer (1997) are examples of researchers that gathered data but didn’t share it. In the case of Fitzgerland et. al., the authors referred to their survey but didn’t report any of the quantitative data produced by that survey. Hunzer formed an entire data analysis around five in-person student interviews and not from the responses of the thirty-nine survey responses. One may ask, what is the purpose of doing the work of compiling the data, if a researcher doesn’t use it? Is this a manipulation of data? Or is it the author’s right to have a voice and to not feel forced to report statistics in their research? Perhaps one might argue that it is enough that the researcher leaned something by collecting the data…

               Johanek suggests that it should not come as a surprise that some researchers seem to shy away from statistics and mathematics because research textbooks in the field of composition often ignore math too. She goes on to cite some examples of composition research textbooks that refer readers elsewhere to learn statistics on their own. Many have a list of suggested readings in the appendix. And while none of the textbooks that Johanek mentions are statistics textbooks, they did review research methods that relied on statistical analysis. Johanek argues that without walking readers through the basic procedures to help them understand the logic of statistical concepts, definitions offered by these texts can be confusing or vague (66-67). She warns that math related anxiety is not uncommon in a field more concerned with words than numbers and lack of confidence can sometimes lead to avoidance.

               The next argument that Johanek tackles is that of feminist response to the traditional research paradigm. She notes that for years, feminists have been criticizing science and scientific thought because of the male domination of the science fields, society’s general acceptance that science is power, and the long standing social expectation that women should engage in humanities and the arts rather than analytical sciences (68). Johanek points out that feminists and non-feminists alike can ask feminist and non-feminist research questions, both men and women can engage in feminist inquiry, and feminist contributions can aid our understanding of both men and women, and the power struggle that we live in (69). She also notes that it would be a mistake to choose a research method only because some topics seem better suited to women or avoid others because of their male-dominated history.

               For some, the inclusion of women and women’s issues involves a change in methodology. Masculine thought is thought to focus on the objective, the data, and the procedures. So for many, research that involves a lot of numerical data embodies a set of masculine values (71). According to Johanek, we now seek different methods that seem to embrace the “personal journey” and allow for emotion. Harding (1987) proposed three characteristics of feminist inquiry: focuses on the issues important to women, grounds inquiry in women’s experiences, and personally involves the researcher (72). Yet when Kirsch (1993) constructed her research according to these principles and later apologized for her traditional looking research, she inadvertently implied that traditional research is never based on experience, never involves the researcher, and never examines feminist research questions (74).

               Lastly, Johanek explores our preference for narrative, noting that even when numbers and narratives are combined, narratives are sometimes given more weight. Enos (1996) is quoted as saying, “I believe our stories, more than statistics, tell who we are” (75).  Storytelling, Johanek argues, is a form that writing teachers naturally gravitate towards, and it serves as the primary selling point of methods such as ethnography. Later it is also noted that storytelling has the power to construct our identities as teachers and as writers. Cultural narratives involve the researcher as a part of the research itself; here, the author, more than the method, controls the texts. And this shift, away from method and toward the author, allows for the feature of emotion (79-80). This is what draws in composition researchers. According to Paulos (1995), “It is easier to react emotionally, more natural” (80). So, we avoid mathematical, rational, and statistical methods because it’s difficult, and the emotional is easier and feels more natural.

               In summary, Johanek warns readers to be careful not to dismiss methods that rely on numerical data. This type of research is not necessarily anti-women, anti-humanist, or anti-creative. All research, and the way it is taught, has the potential to “include the feminist, to understand mathematics as a storytelling language, and to include narrative as a foundation for, and an extension of, research in relation to experience and practice” (82-83).



Discussion questions:

1.     Does Lerner (or any of these researchers) really need to justify his methodology? Is he apologizing because he is writing to two different audiences at once? Can apologies be used to manipulate readers?

2.     What is your reaction to researchers leaving out some or most of their data? Is it a waste of time? Could it be enough that they may have learned something in the process? Could this also be a manipulation? What about the argument for voice?

3.      Statistics is needed to convert data into information. How much of a background should composition researchers have?



4.      Moving forward into your own research, what, if anything, did you take away from reading this chapter?

Jessica Taylor Writing Research and Methods 2016-02-22 18:11:00


Jessica Taylor

ENG

2/21/2016

Dr. Zamora

Response to “Numbers, Narratives, and He Vs. She: Issues of Audience in Composition Research”

               The forth chapter of Cindy Johanek’s book Composing Researchfocuses on arguments against the traditional research paradigm, which to many compositionists is considered to be male-dominated, written in a disinteresting style, and unpleasant to read and write. According to Johanek, moving forward from the “traditional research” paradigm, and towards acceptance of qualitative research and storytelling, allows for more diverse researchers to express their voices. The chapter focuses on three sources of arguments against the traditional research model: general anxiety about mathematics and statistics, feminist response to that older model, and our preference for writing that is more creative and literary than the standard research report (57). Throughout the entire chapter, however, there is the overlapping of Johanek’s opinion that research methods relying on numerical data should remain valuable and continues to have an important place in composition research.

               Johanek first focuses on the general anxiety of mathematics and statistics. Math provides insight and enhances our understanding, but many compositionists seem to avoid research that deals with statistical analysis. Why? One reason that Johanek offers is that numbers are often seen as being in a separate world than people, and compositionists are in the business of “people stories”. Johanek cites many examples of researchers who apologize for their use of numbers and who sometimes do the work of collecting the data, but don’t share that data with readers. In “Counting Beans and Making Beans Count” (1997) Lerner apologizes to readers by writing that he is aware that “numbers can obscure” and that they can “reduce those complex human beings…down to manageable integers” (59). He does this because he is aware of his dual audience. On one hand, his research complies with the needs of administrators—“college administrators often want numbers, digits, and results”. On the other hand, Lerner is writing to an audience of his peers, compositionists and those who are interested in Writing Center work (59).

               Some researchers go further than apologizing for their data, sometimes they completely leave it out. Both Fitzgerald, Mulvhill, and Dobson (1991) and Hunzer (1997) are examples of researchers that gathered data but didn’t share it. In the case of Fitzgerland et. al., the authors referred to their survey but didn’t report any of the quantitative data produced by that survey. Hunzer formed an entire data analysis around five in-person student interviews and not from the responses of the thirty-nine survey responses. One may ask, what is the purpose of doing the work of compiling the data, if a researcher doesn’t use it? Is this a manipulation of data? Or is it the author’s right to have a voice and to not feel forced to report statistics in their research? Perhaps one might argue that it is enough that the researcher leaned something by collecting the data…

               Johanek suggests that it should not come as a surprise that some researchers seem to shy away from statistics and mathematics because research textbooks in the field of composition often ignore math too. She goes on to cite some examples of composition research textbooks that refer readers elsewhere to learn statistics on their own. Many have a list of suggested readings in the appendix. And while none of the textbooks that Johanek mentions are statistics textbooks, they did review research methods that relied on statistical analysis. Johanek argues that without walking readers through the basic procedures to help them understand the logic of statistical concepts, definitions offered by these texts can be confusing or vague (66-67). She warns that math related anxiety is not uncommon in a field more concerned with words than numbers and lack of confidence can sometimes lead to avoidance.

               The next argument that Johanek tackles is that of feminist response to the traditional research paradigm. She notes that for years, feminists have been criticizing science and scientific thought because of the male domination of the science fields, society’s general acceptance that science is power, and the long standing social expectation that women should engage in humanities and the arts rather than analytical sciences (68). Johanek points out that feminists and non-feminists alike can ask feminist and non-feminist research questions, both men and women can engage in feminist inquiry, and feminist contributions can aid our understanding of both men and women, and the power struggle that we live in (69). She also notes that it would be a mistake to choose a research method only because some topics seem better suited to women or avoid others because of their male-dominated history.

               For some, the inclusion of women and women’s issues involves a change in methodology. Masculine thought is thought to focus on the objective, the data, and the procedures. So for many, research that involves a lot of numerical data embodies a set of masculine values (71). According to Johanek, we now seek different methods that seem to embrace the “personal journey” and allow for emotion. Harding (1987) proposed three characteristics of feminist inquiry: focuses on the issues important to women, grounds inquiry in women’s experiences, and personally involves the researcher (72). Yet when Kirsch (1993) constructed her research according to these principles and later apologized for her traditional looking research, she inadvertently implied that traditional research is never based on experience, never involves the researcher, and never examines feminist research questions (74).

               Lastly, Johanek explores our preference for narrative, noting that even when numbers and narratives are combined, narratives are sometimes given more weight. Enos (1996) is quoted as saying, “I believe our stories, more than statistics, tell who we are” (75).  Storytelling, Johanek argues, is a form that writing teachers naturally gravitate towards, and it serves as the primary selling point of methods such as ethnography. Later it is also noted that storytelling has the power to construct our identities as teachers and as writers. Cultural narratives involve the researcher as a part of the research itself; here, the author, more than the method, controls the texts. And this shift, away from method and toward the author, allows for the feature of emotion (79-80). This is what draws in composition researchers. According to Paulos (1995), “It is easier to react emotionally, more natural” (80). So, we avoid mathematical, rational, and statistical methods because it’s difficult, and the emotional is easier and feels more natural.

               In summary, Johanek warns readers to be careful not to dismiss methods that rely on numerical data. This type of research is not necessarily anti-women, anti-humanist, or anti-creative. All research, and the way it is taught, has the potential to “include the feminist, to understand mathematics as a storytelling language, and to include narrative as a foundation for, and an extension of, research in relation to experience and practice” (82-83).



Discussion questions:

1.     Does Lerner (or any of these researchers) really need to justify his methodology? Is he apologizing because he is writing to two different audiences at once? Can apologies be used to manipulate readers?

2.     What is your reaction to researchers leaving out some or most of their data? Is it a waste of time? Could it be enough that they may have learned something in the process? Could this also be a manipulation? What about the argument for voice?

3.      Statistics is needed to convert data into information. How much of a background should composition researchers have?



4.      Moving forward into your own research, what, if anything, did you take away from reading this chapter?

Issues of Audience in Composition Research- blog #1

I have to admit, the way this section, "Don't Make Me Do Math," began with mathematics scared me. Marissa and math go together like oil and water...that is to say, they really, really don't.
I found that Johanek made a compelling case for statistics within the field of composition, and cited reliable sources who also understood the misgivings of their audience, as people who have been widely turned off to mathematics. However, sometimes stats are a necessary evil and, as Johanek says, the administration wants to see numbers. That leaves some pretty big hurdles to overcome.

A fear of mine when dealing with statistics is that they are like another language, and are often introduced in such a way that I feel completely lost. There is nothing I hate more than feeling like the only person at the party who doesn't know anyone, and that's how I often feel when mathematics are introduced into the equation (oops, was that a pun?).

I think that Johanek brings to light a very real problem that often arises when statistics meet composition research. She cites instead after instance where researchers direct readers to outside suggested readings, instead of explaining the methods they used within the text. If you know you are speaking to an audience that may be less likely to naturally understand statistics, I believe that you should make the data understandable to that audience. For reasons like this, statistics are furher stigmatized .

In the concluding sentences of this section. Johanek says: "We have to be careful, especially in rhetoric and composition, if we believe that statistics lie...Let’s admit it: words tell more lies than numbers do. After all, we have another way of  pointing out liars: 'you’re just telling stories.'"
Maybe this is coming from my own preexisting cynicism, but I do not agree. I do not believe that statistics lie, but I do believe that people lie. In the perfect world we call a spade a spade and that's the end of it, but the problem is that in the same way that person saying the words might be a liar, the person presenting the numbers could be manipulating them. Just like I'd be skeptical of someone telling me a story, I'd be skeptical of someone explaining their stats to me, without showing me all of the data-- as is exemplified by the cases she shows in this section. ("Figures don't lie, liars figure")

Going on to the second section in this chapter, "Feminist Responses to the Traditional Research Paradigm," I appreciated that Johanek began this section by establishing her own stance, which appears to be fairly reasonable and moderate--- "I hope instead to present feminist inquiry as aiding our understanding of both women and men and, especially, the unwritten rules of the power structure in which we live" (69). I feel that feminism is a topic that can easily become radical in one way or the other, and I think she does a good job of establishing that there are rational and valid points made from both sides amidst the arguments-- there is a happy medium. As she says, "An even bigger mistake than always choosing one method would be to reject a research method only because of its male-dominated history or to prefer some methods because they appear to suit women better" (69).

There are several interesting points made in this section. Johanek cites biochemist Shepherd as saying that generally, in her experience, the emotional is generally associated with female, and the rational is associated with male. I agree that I have also seen these generalizations, and I agree that they are wrong. However, as Martha commented and I agreed, Shepherd boards the crazy train on the next page when she compares "science without feeling" to "Nazi scientists conducting experiements on Jews." Johanek acknowledges this as an extreme result, but I think that "extreme" is not, perhaps, an "extreme" enough word to express the wild outlandishness of the statement.

If I'm understanding the next part of the section correctly, I like the methods proposed by Sullivan for feminist inquiry. Instead of favoring what I assume would be considered the disinterested perspective of the male inquiry of the past, she purports a "qualitative and naturalistic" approach. I find this to be a practical way of utilizing those tendencies that are feminine, and highlighting them in the best possible way. If it does tend to be true that women are geared more toward empathy and feeling, then it is impractical that we would treat research in the same way that men do. However, instead of looking at these differences as male vs. female, perhaps it is more helpful to view them as different approaches that each have their own merits.

It is sad to me that despite the good ideas that are presented throughout this section, there is still a marked separation between female and male researchers. Rather than accepting the aforementioned validity of different methods and approaches and moving from that point to examine the facts, the methods are often under fire. Why apologize "feminine research principles" and "feminine methodology"? Instead, why don't we just focus on the facts, and let the principles and methodology stand on their own?

Shifting my focus to the final section, "Preference for Narrative-As-Genre," the question after the colon puts forward an interesting question, "Are we still the stepchild of literature?"
Well, are we? I think that stories are important. I think they cater to a side that everyone has, the desire to learn and be engaged, and I think often, associated writing with stories seems natural. However, even in saying that, I can see where this could be disputed. Linking this to the first section regarding statistics, perhaps it is this reliance on stories that makes many so wary of statistics and analysis in writing, because it is something we're not used to being associated. I loved the line on page 79, "Storytelling, more than statistics, allows our emotions to emerge." This is true, and I think it's something to be celebrated! However, having read the first section, I think that there is the ability to teach using both approaches, and perhaps incorporating statistics and analysis makes writing classes more accessibly to people who are more likely to favor the rational world of numbers. I would not appreciate this, personally, but I know that many would.

This chapter has been interesting to me because I think that Johanek set it up in a very thought provoking way. In the beginning, I was wary of the incorporation of statistics, however, at the end, I was defending their merit. In the same way I found myself finding a happy medium in the middle section regarding feminine vs. masculine research methods. I think it is sad that differing values dictate what is considered worthy, especially when there is merit in different methods. Square blocks do not fit in circle holes, and unfortunately, there are many who try to force that.

There are many different ways of approaching analysis and each has it's own merits and weaknesses. I'm interested in hearing what everyone else thought in class tonight, because there are a lot of different points to discuss.

Issues of Audience in Composition Research- blog #1

I have to admit, the way this section, "Don't Make Me Do Math," began with mathematics scared me. Marissa and math go together like oil and water...that is to say, they really, really don't.
I found that Johanek made a compelling case for statistics within the field of composition, and cited reliable sources who also understood the misgivings of their audience, as people who have been widely turned off to mathematics. However, sometimes stats are a necessary evil and, as Johanek says, the administration wants to see numbers. That leaves some pretty big hurdles to overcome.

A fear of mine when dealing with statistics is that they are like another language, and are often introduced in such a way that I feel completely lost. There is nothing I hate more than feeling like the only person at the party who doesn't know anyone, and that's how I often feel when mathematics are introduced into the equation (oops, was that a pun?).

I think that Johanek brings to light a very real problem that often arises when statistics meet composition research. She cites instead after instance where researchers direct readers to outside suggested readings, instead of explaining the methods they used within the text. If you know you are speaking to an audience that may be less likely to naturally understand statistics, I believe that you should make the data understandable to that audience. For reasons like this, statistics are furher stigmatized .

In the concluding sentences of this section. Johanek says: "We have to be careful, especially in rhetoric and composition, if we believe that statistics lie...Let’s admit it: words tell more lies than numbers do. After all, we have another way of  pointing out liars: 'you’re just telling stories.'"
Maybe this is coming from my own preexisting cynicism, but I do not agree. I do not believe that statistics lie, but I do believe that people lie. In the perfect world we call a spade a spade and that's the end of it, but the problem is that in the same way that person saying the words might be a liar, the person presenting the numbers could be manipulating them. Just like I'd be skeptical of someone telling me a story, I'd be skeptical of someone explaining their stats to me, without showing me all of the data-- as is exemplified by the cases she shows in this section. ("Figures don't lie, liars figure")

Going on to the second section in this chapter, "Feminist Responses to the Traditional Research Paradigm," I appreciated that Johanek began this section by establishing her own stance, which appears to be fairly reasonable and moderate--- "I hope instead to present feminist inquiry as aiding our understanding of both women and men and, especially, the unwritten rules of the power structure in which we live" (69). I feel that feminism is a topic that can easily become radical in one way or the other, and I think she does a good job of establishing that there are rational and valid points made from both sides amidst the arguments-- there is a happy medium. As she says, "An even bigger mistake than always choosing one method would be to reject a research method only because of its male-dominated history or to prefer some methods because they appear to suit women better" (69).

There are several interesting points made in this section. Johanek cites biochemist Shepherd as saying that generally, in her experience, the emotional is generally associated with female, and the rational is associated with male. I agree that I have also seen these generalizations, and I agree that they are wrong. However, as Martha commented and I agreed, Shepherd boards the crazy train on the next page when she compares "science without feeling" to "Nazi scientists conducting experiements on Jews." Johanek acknowledges this as an extreme result, but I think that "extreme" is not, perhaps, an "extreme" enough word to express the wild outlandishness of the statement.

If I'm understanding the next part of the section correctly, I like the methods proposed by Sullivan for feminist inquiry. Instead of favoring what I assume would be considered the disinterested perspective of the male inquiry of the past, she purports a "qualitative and naturalistic" approach. I find this to be a practical way of utilizing those tendencies that are feminine, and highlighting them in the best possible way. If it does tend to be true that women are geared more toward empathy and feeling, then it is impractical that we would treat research in the same way that men do. However, instead of looking at these differences as male vs. female, perhaps it is more helpful to view them as different approaches that each have their own merits.

It is sad to me that despite the good ideas that are presented throughout this section, there is still a marked separation between female and male researchers. Rather than accepting the aforementioned validity of different methods and approaches and moving from that point to examine the facts, the methods are often under fire. Why apologize "feminine research principles" and "feminine methodology"? Instead, why don't we just focus on the facts, and let the principles and methodology stand on their own?

Shifting my focus to the final section, "Preference for Narrative-As-Genre," the question after the colon puts forward an interesting question, "Are we still the stepchild of literature?"
Well, are we? I think that stories are important. I think they cater to a side that everyone has, the desire to learn and be engaged, and I think often, associated writing with stories seems natural. However, even in saying that, I can see where this could be disputed. Linking this to the first section regarding statistics, perhaps it is this reliance on stories that makes many so wary of statistics and analysis in writing, because it is something we're not used to being associated. I loved the line on page 79, "Storytelling, more than statistics, allows our emotions to emerge." This is true, and I think it's something to be celebrated! However, having read the first section, I think that there is the ability to teach using both approaches, and perhaps incorporating statistics and analysis makes writing classes more accessibly to people who are more likely to favor the rational world of numbers. I would not appreciate this, personally, but I know that many would.

This chapter has been interesting to me because I think that Johanek set it up in a very thought provoking way. In the beginning, I was wary of the incorporation of statistics, however, at the end, I was defending their merit. In the same way I found myself finding a happy medium in the middle section regarding feminine vs. masculine research methods. I think it is sad that differing values dictate what is considered worthy, especially when there is merit in different methods. Square blocks do not fit in circle holes, and unfortunately, there are many who try to force that.

There are many different ways of approaching analysis and each has it's own merits and weaknesses. I'm interested in hearing what everyone else thought in class tonight, because there are a lot of different points to discuss.

blog 1

My overall impression of the article was that it was good, despite the fact that it went in an unexpected series of directions.

I thought it started strong with its discussion of numerical research and narrative research. I liked that section specially because, as someone who is not very strong in math, I could relate to what the author was saying. However, I did disagree, as did others, that the degree of math aversion is not quite as strong as Johanek described. Especially in the context of research. Firstly, I am not sure how much numerical research English and Lit people deal with; secondly,  I feel that many people outside the English field would prefer numerical data, as the biggest problem with English is "there is no right answer" (which can be distressing to science and math people who deal with absolutes on a daily basis). We all know at least one person (my guess is more, though) that find writing too hard and would rather do anything else. They have a writing aversion. It depends on the person I think. Personally, I think that having numbers is helpful and often times helps put a study into perspective for me.

I thought the section on feminism was interesting, although I didn't find myself agreeing with as much as I did in the previous section. Although I am not an expert nor do I even retain a novice's understanding of feminism, to me the writing just seemed to affirm certain stereotypes of women and that to me seems like what feminism is trying to avoid. The example that comes to mind for this is the idea that "stories" are more substantial than "statistics."

In part three, I especially liked the bit about making the narrative about the researcher, not the research to create more diversity within the research field. Not only do I think that is great because it is the researcher who asks these very important and unique questions that need answering, but also because research papers are generally pretty boring to read. And why are research papers boring to read? because they all have to sound professional and factual and polished. And writing that way- stripping the individual of their voice - makes everything sound the same. Who wants to read the same thing over and over again? I have long thought that writing should focus on the writer. It is the writer who brings things to life, it only makes sense to throw our attention to them. Especially in research.

blog 1

My overall impression of the article was that it was good, despite the fact that it went in an unexpected series of directions.

I thought it started strong with its discussion of numerical research and narrative research. I liked that section specially because, as someone who is not very strong in math, I could relate to what the author was saying. However, I did disagree, as did others, that the degree of math aversion is not quite as strong as Johanek described. Especially in the context of research. Firstly, I am not sure how much numerical research English and Lit people deal with; secondly,  I feel that many people outside the English field would prefer numerical data, as the biggest problem with English is "there is no right answer" (which can be distressing to science and math people who deal with absolutes on a daily basis). We all know at least one person (my guess is more, though) that find writing too hard and would rather do anything else. They have a writing aversion. It depends on the person I think. Personally, I think that having numbers is helpful and often times helps put a study into perspective for me.

I thought the section on feminism was interesting, although I didn't find myself agreeing with as much as I did in the previous section. Although I am not an expert nor do I even retain a novice's understanding of feminism, to me the writing just seemed to affirm certain stereotypes of women and that to me seems like what feminism is trying to avoid. The example that comes to mind for this is the idea that "stories" are more substantial than "statistics."

In part three, I especially liked the bit about making the narrative about the researcher, not the research to create more diversity within the research field. Not only do I think that is great because it is the researcher who asks these very important and unique questions that need answering, but also because research papers are generally pretty boring to read. And why are research papers boring to read? because they all have to sound professional and factual and polished. And writing that way- stripping the individual of their voice - makes everything sound the same. Who wants to read the same thing over and over again? I have long thought that writing should focus on the writer. It is the writer who brings things to life, it only makes sense to throw our attention to them. Especially in research.