In reading "Out of Our Experience: Useful Theory" by Mohr, Rogers, Sanford, Nocerino, MacLean, and Clawson, I was most intrigued by the indentity-related implications I saw in it. The authors advocate very strongly for teachers to "wear more than one hat": they assert that the most valuable theory comes from researchers who are also teachers. It doesn't stop there, though. In addition to wearing the teacher hat and the researcher hat, it seems the authors want teachers to also wear a sociologist hat in order to better understand the varied life experiences and environments of their students. Taking it even further, the article encourages teacher-researchers to explore methods "from a variety of fields- sociology, ethnography, psychology, and anthropology" (Mohr et al.18). Additionally additionally, the article advocates writing-to-learn, which would give an individual the writer hat too. That's a lot of hats, and a lot of identities, for someone to take on!
This is fascinating to me, because the social narrative in American society tends to guide adults toward possessing only one professional identity. The evidence of this narrative can be seen in that oh-so-common introductory question at parties: So, what do you do? How many party guests do you think would actually listen if one responded with "I'm a teacher-researcher-sociologist-ethnographer-psychologist, with a little bit of anthropologist on my mom's side, but she was raised by teachers, so..." That got me thinking... what is the taboo about having more than one professional identity? Do people think it means one is not devoting their full attention to their job? And, if multitasking is seen as such a valuable skill, then why would that be a problem?
I personally agree with the multiple professional identity approach. I think it allows teachers, researchers, sociologists, etc. to have a bigger "Crock Pot" from which to pull. Everything they learn, every slice of research, chunk of method, or pinch of multidisciplinary understanding, adds to their ability to understand, interpret, and criticize subject matter; teach; and relate to students of multitudinous backgrounds.
In contrast to the "everything can be research, and you can research every way!" approach of "Out of Our Experience," "Empiricism Is Not a Four Letter Word" by Charney, favors quantitative research methods, such as those used in the hard sciences. Although I had a hard time understanding the article, and didn't even get through it, I don't agree with what I gather of Charney's opinion. If writing studies is more closely related to the social, or soft, sciences, then why should we be trying to cram its research methods into a tight and ill-fitting article of clothing that's tailor fit for a whole different discipline? That's like a human trying to wear a sweater made for dogs!