All posts by Daniel Alcoriza

track 11. Lightning Talk! (Outro)

For the final blog post of this course, I just wanted to extend a genuine thank you to everyone involved in this class. You have made my first semester one to remember. I appreciate and am inspired by all of your ideas and thoughtfulness, and I look forward to working with you all more in future semesters. 🙂

Here is the link for my slides:

This PowerPoint, blog post, and Lightning Talk were created with the support of Prince’s album “Sign O’ the Times” (1987).

track 10. discourse analysis

In “Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple,” Tatyana Bondarouk and Huub Ruel give context for and exemplify how to conduct discourse analysis. In addition to explaining the hermeneutic circle of interpretation that functions as the core of discourse analysis, they also provide a short history to explain how the methodology has come to define “discourse” itself as “‘a system of texts that brings objects into being,'” emphasizing the relationship between the texts and what that reveals to the interpreter (Bondarouk and Ruel 6). This aspect of discourse analysis theory is the part of it that speaks the most to me, as it’s another one of those things that seems like it’d be obvious, emphasizing on the contexts surrounding the texts in order to achieve deeper understanding; it reminds me of Actor Network Theory, but it’s so much more manageable in scope and less confusing. I do think its also interesting that one of it’s main drawbacks is that, in order for it to work effectively, discourse analysis requires participants to be fully honest and for the contexts surrounding the texts to be readily available; maybe mixing this method with ethnography or phenomenology would help fill in any gaps that might arise when utilizing it.

As for my proposal draft progress, I feel that now that I’ve put more time into it, it’s starting to take shape. I’m still not fully confident in what I’m doing, but having a more stable foothold with some research to stand on is making this project seem more feasible, even with my schedule. Interestingly enough, the reading this week on discourse analysis may be a more fitting methodology for my research proposal than the others I initially considered, so I should include that in my draft and notes. I feel I’ve spent a lot of time in one of the databases (the religion one specifically) and would definitely benefit from searching in some others, so that is one of my goals for my research this week. I will say, even finding a piece of research I can possibly use gives me a sort of second wind when it comes to the act of researching; I hesitate to call it a breakthrough, but it feels like one every time it happens.

I wrote this blog post while listening to the album “Drunk” by Thundercat (2017); I felt a hankering for some funky bass, and the album delivered that and then some.

track 09. phenomenology pt. ii

In “A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated,” Thomas Groenewald gives a brief history of phenomenology, describes his research paradigm, and then describes how he gathered data for his phenomenological research. A point made during the history section that resonated with me quite a bit was when Groenewald stated “…we are all born phenomenologists; the poets and painters among us, however, understand very well their task of sharing, by means of word and image, their insights with others -an artfulness that is also laboriously practised by the professional phenomenologist” (44). Reading this was a light bulb moment for myself as I never thought about how similar poetry is to the work a phenomenologist would do; it honestly makes the idea of attempting phenomenological research more appealing as it feels more familiar, and I feel I’d benefit from the use of my transferable skills. With both the recent sharing of Gianna Lepanto’s MA Thesis Proposal and Lit Review, as well as this sentence, I wonder if our research proposal for this class could be approached with a creative project in mind.

Another part of this article that helped make a phenomenological approach feel more feasible is the mention of “snowball sampling” as a method to find participants (46). Frankly, the last article left me at a bit of a loss when it came to the idea of finding participants; I may have even mentioned this as one of my concerns when in my TROIKA group with Thuy and Tyler. After all, not all of us could be so lucky as to know seven people willing to be so open for the specific study we’re attempting to undertake (let alone industry professionals in that field). I say that a bit in jest, but the idea of having to be “in the know” or “have connections” made me bemoan the idea of actively searching for individual participants; I imagined it to be like modern dating, but worse, because I would be much more distraught over my research being unable to continue than my dating life. Groenewald also mentioning that a sample size of about ten participants max “as sufficient to reach saturation” helps alleviate a previous concern I had with the previous article, namely that the sample size was “too small” (46). In retrospect, because of how intensively phenomenologists work with these participants, ten seems like a solid number to aim for, time and gatekeepers considered.

While writing this blog post, I listened to Frank Ocean’s visual album “Endless” (2016). It’s the project by him that I put on the least, so I’m trying to make up for lost time; funnily enough, I’ve seen this visual album less times than I’ve heard it, so maybe I should watch it the next time I want to put it on.

track 08. phenomenology

In “A Research-Based Approach to Game Writing Pedagogy,” Seth Andrew Hudson seeks to use a phenomenological study of writing practices in the game industry in order to “enhance pedagogy in computer game design (CDG) education” (91). This is due in part to the games industry itself not really having a well-defined role for video game writing or video game writers, so Hudson tries to alleviate this issue through his research, which consists of anonymous interviews about game writers’ “lived experiences in terms of writing scholarship and research” (95). The two major tools Hudson seems to use are rhetorical genre studies (RGS) and cultural history activity theory (CHAT), the prior for “providing rich descriptions of the social contexts surrounding writing,” and the latter for “defining the processes and the conditions for attaining concrete goals in a complex system” (97, 98). Given the amorphous role of game writing and the collaborative nature of game development, these seem like very pertinent methods to use for the discovery and defining of unspecified and undefined aspects in a writing job.

The actual labor being done though seems quite extensive. Similarly to other theories we’ve discussed in class, the phenomenological approach Hudson utilized took him a significant amount of time and research. In the “data collection and analysis” section of this article, Hudson describing how, during coding, he would have to go between the transcripts and the recordings multiple times made me laugh out loud as I read it because of how intensive the work seemed, especially since Hudson’s name is the only one listed as an author; that being said, I do appreciate immensely that he states that doing so helped him understand the people he interviewed, and that it aligned well with his purpose and choice of research methodology (103). I also appreciate the “limitations” section of this article, because he does highlight some drawbacks of his approach. A major one he lists is the sample size he uses for this research, but he justifies it with how using less people helps the data be more “rich” (103). Another one I picked up was that the interviewees were relating their experiences through hindsight, which in any other study could be hard to justify if there is no way to support or verify the interviewees’ claims. I do also think that not revealing, at the very least, how the seven subjects were chosen is an odd choice, as if he did so with general statements (like with years in the industry or even how many games they’ve worked on) it would have made the research feel a bit more reliable.

I wrote this response while listening to “Transistor (Original Soundtrack)” by Darren Korb (2014), as it felt pertinent given the topic of the article. This isn’t necessarily one of my favorite game soundtracks of all time, but it is one I listen to every so often and appreciate because of how well it evokes the atmosphere of the world the game takes place in; plus, Ashley Barrett’s vocals on the song “The Spine” brings me back to the time I first experienced that section of the game, and I think that alone is a good enough reason to run this soundtrack back.

track 07. back on solid ground(ed Theory)

Ji Young Cho and Eun-Hee Lee’s “Reducing Confusion about Grounded Theory and Qualitative Content Analysis: Similarities and Differences” is a very welcome read in comparison to the last article assigned to us (sorry). Cho and Lee take the initiative in clarifying the differences between Grounded Theory and Qualitative Content Analysis by comparing and contrasting both in “six areas: a) background and philosophical basis, b) unique characteristics of each method, c) goals and rationale of each method, d) data analysis process, e) outcomes of the research, and f) evaluation of trustworthiness of research” (2). In doing so, they’re able to achieve their goal of thoroughly distinguishing each one as its own individual method, to the benefit of novice researches such as myself.

An aspect of Grounded Theory that stands out to me the most is the relationship between it’s “two unique characteristics: constant comparative analysis and theoretical sampling,” as it seems to me to be one of the most direct (if not painstakingly involved) ways to find the answers a researcher is looking for (4). Maybe I’m biased to think so, but I’m the kind of person who learns best by practicing and becoming familiar with the “rhythm” and “feel” of whatever it is I’m trying to learn, so the idea of a method that basically translates that action into research is very appealing to me. Also, I admire how these characteristics lead into and feed into each other in a circular way, functioning as a sort of engine that drives the research while the driver (researcher) determines the directions to take after receiving the data. Another aspect of Grounded Theory that I find appealing is it’s openness and the freedom of approach it provides researchers, allowing them to tackle their research from unique perspectives instead of through rigid frameworks. I’m a very “think on my feet” kind of person as well, so the idea of being able to freely modify my approach as I see fit (within reason) is very in line with my character and general approach to life. It’s honestly probably the most appealing method to myself as an individual that we’ve covered in class so far.

That being said, I would be very remiss not to mention the “weaknesses” of this method as well. Even though I’m quite fascinated by it, I do have to admit that the amount of time and patience needed to research using this method is something I can’t even imagine having at the moment. For lack of better words, this feels like it’ll be a full time job and a half depending on what the research reveals or how long the research has to go on for. Additionally, this is not a very beginner friendly method, and so, as great as it sounds, I imagine actually putting it into practice would be a more stressful undertaking than I’m currently imagining. There’s even the risk of being unable to find enough data to continue the research after spending so much time on it. Despite all of these drawbacks though, in a perfect world where I could research in any way I want, this would most likely be my go-to method.

While writing this blog post, I listened to Ryo Fukui’s Scenery (1976), a jazz album I’ve loved to listen to while writing since I discovered it in undergrad. I also love the cover for this album, as it’s simple but striking, and was what drew me to listen to the album in the first place; it might not be right to judge a book by its cover, but it just might be okay to judge an album by one.

track 05. case study

Yi-Huey Guo’s Understanding Genre Features of Qualitative Research: A Case Study is a case study on a graduate student’s (under the pseudonym Lin) qualitative writing process. Although he was one of three graduate students in this program, he claims “he was the only student conducting qualitative research in his program during the course of study” showing academia’s bias towards quantitative research (Guo 118). The case study continues to reveal the huge amount of stacked odds against Lin’s attempt at qualitative research: Lin’s advisor believes his qualitative research expertise is lacking, Lin’s introverted personality made it hard for him to find participants, and even after observing his participants for a year, Lin still couldn’t finish his thesis (Guo 118-119). This case study seems to highlight a lot of the pitfalls of qualitative research, but I feel it also intends to highlight where this genre of research can be bolstered in order to become more effective. Guo makes a point to mention that Lin is a novice at qualitative research, and spends a significant amount of time explaining why he fell into these pitfalls and even what could be done to avoid falling into these pitfalls. I think the sentence that succinctly summarizes this case study is what Guo writes at the beginning of the discussion section, “Lin’s immersion in a quantitative research-centered research environment had affected his selection of methodological approaches, implying a local research community’s need of accepting multifaceted academic discourses for the development of research paradigms” (121). If Lin was provided with more experience and resources in qualitative research, then this could have been a more successful endeavor. Guo even mentions that the development of qualitative research methods in some research communities is “[tardier]” than others, and it results in situations like Lin’s (124). Although Guo says Lin’s case isn’t meant to be representative, I believe it can be considering academia’s overall bias towards quantitative research rather than qualitative. Or maybe, I should say this would be a good starting point to find more case studies similar to Lin’s.

As for the method of case study itself, its useful because of how it sort of compiles long stretches of research into a more digestible format for others to use the data. To actually oversee one though seems like a tremendous undertaking. Just for Lin’s case, Guo had to follow and keep in touch with him for a year in order to get all of this information. I do think this could be rewarding in its own right, but I also feel like its something that needs to be planned for in advance to make sure all the necessary and appropriate data is collected over the course of the case study. To be honest, I’d be willing to participate in one as a subject. It’d be fun, I think.

As I wrote this blog post, I listened to J Dilla’s Donuts (2006). A personal favorite of mine, the familiar tunes helped my brain lock in with the work while my head nodded along to the beats.

track 04. autoethnography and julia alvarez


  Autoethnography is a very fascinating concept for myself in particular. As someone who was always taught that research was “stronger” or “more effective” when it was quantitative, to see so much discussion and support for such a qualitative way to conduct research makes me honestly quite giddy. Something I couldn’t help but do as I went through the readings for this week, An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography by Sarah Wall and Whose Story Is It? An Autoethnography Concerning Narrative Identity by Alec J. Grant and Laetitia Zeeman, was mentally compare the examples and descriptions of autoethnography to multiple different pieces of art, writing, and media that I love. Granted, not all of the works I thought of were supported by “snapshots, artifacts/documents, metaphor, and psychological and literal journeys… reflecting on and conveying… a more complete view of . . . life,'” but I believe that could honestly be one of autoethnography’s strengths: the fact that the readers themselves can make a judgement on the researcher’s findings based on their own lived experience (Wall 151).

  An example of this could be found in one of those pieces of media I thought of, Julia Alvarez’s novel How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991). I read this novel in undergrad for a Feminist Lit course I took with Dr. Gupta-Casale, and it has truly never left my mind since. To me, it exemplifies the strength of autoethnography because, through its evocative writing, it was able to help me reconcile my identity as a hyphenated American. The novel chronicles the growing pains of a group of sisters who immigrate to the United States, and although I myself am a first generation American in my family, I related very deeply to a lot of the struggles the sisters went through. I fondly remember a time I went out with the one most inextricable from my soul and another friend to Van Gogh’s Ear Cafe, and the topic of his immigration status came up. We talked at length about how it felt growing up in the States, and I brought up examples from the novel that spoke to me greatly; the one most inextricable from my soul and I bonded over how similarly we were raised, and our friend chimed in with comments and reactions when she felt appropriate. The power of the novel didn’t lie in research and stats, it was how eerily, sometimes even painfully, similar it was to my own lived experience, and the experience of someone dear to me; to me, that is something that may never be quantified, but its realer than any number, and says more than any statistic.

  That being said, I understand the hesitance to do away with all quantifiable data, but I do think there is a strong case for autoethnography in research, especially when attempting to conduct self-centered research, as it could be used to “demonstrate that it is possible to gain and share knowledge in many ways” (Wall 147). I think that Grant’s autoethnography, stunningly framed by the refrain of “Age pro viribus” helps drive this point home quite well (3, 4, 6). Grant using the school’s motto, “emblazoned… on each magazine” as an ironic tool to eventually contrast his lived experience with the “All smiling, all pristine” faces of his schoolmates helps give rise to a voice that the school would never have proffered themselves, and in doing so exemplifies the importance of research like this. At the very least, autoethnography allows the voiceless to have a voice, and I think that alone is enough to justify its place in research.

  As I wrote this blog post, I listened to Father John Misty’s God’s Favorite Customer (2018).

track 03. contamination

Coarse, unrefined

Obstinate mind

Needing guidance,


Assistance, and






Internet exploration could

Only pollute our

Neatly kept ivory tower.

  Contamination is the word that really stuck out to me when rereading James P. Purdy and Joyce R. Walker’s Liminal Spaces and Research Identity: The Construction of Introductory Composition Students as Researchers. It helped frame a lot of the reading in an honestly quite upsetting way. I mentioned in a prior blog post how much I relate to the idea of being a “…[student moving] through their academic [career]…[developing] disassociated personal and academic research identities”, and this word, contamination, helped me contextualize that struggle (28). By using words like pollute and contamination, I realize that my academic struggle is due, possibly in larger part than I realize, to this strange academic othering that really feels counterintuitive to the very idea of research.

  Purdy and Walker mention that, “Despite [the] acknowledgement of students as researchers… they present the site of much of this research, the Internet, as immediately suspect…” and that “Students are cautioned against continuing to rely on this space,” effectively highlighting the gatekeeping being done by academia (16). It’s almost comical to me, because the internet is referred to as “‘….an abundance of information unimaginable to earlier generations of students,'” yet it’s snubbed as being “‘[questionably legitimate]'” in the same breath (16). Understandably, not everything on the internet is equal to peer-reviewed resources, but completely separating students from the only kind of research they are familiar with is like completely replacing a fully-functional car engine. Wouldn’t it be better to teach students how to determine veracity in the fastest and largest growing resource available? Maybe I’m speaking with hindsight, but in the wake of mass disinformation campaigns that utilize the internet, it seems to me like academia really dropped the ball here.

  In truth, this also speaks greatly to how Dr. Zamora mentioned the bias academia has towards quantitative research. I feel like because of how accessible the internet is, academia feels its too polluted by the other, but the irony for me lies in how it is such an incomparable resource for qualitative research. The beauty of the internet is the fact that it is one of the best places to get your finger on the pulse of massive groups of people. Maybe I spend too much time online, but there’s so many organized groups out there that do research, translation, preservation, etc. simply because it interests them and its something they care deeply about. Its “just humans, living their lives” like Cindy mentioned in her previous blog post, and best of all, its not being gatekept (mostly). However, the part of this that upset me the most is how this othering “erases useful, already acquired knowledge” and supplants this naturally formed research identity with a sterilized one that conforms to academia’s expectations (28). This directly flies in the face of self-centered research and effectively erases so much humanity from research, even though its purpose is to help and reflect our humanity.

  I watched Saltburn (2023) this weekend, and “Murder on the Dancefloor” by Sophie Ellis-Bextor has been stuck in my because of it. In order to excise it from my mind, I played her album Read My Lips (2001) as I wrote this.

track 02. in the mix

  My impressions on the different kinds of research have been kind of challenged and uprooted in a very positive way this past week. Starting with our discussion in class, I noticed just how skewed my bias was towards quantitative research due to it being the primary research method I used in undergrad. Through Dr. Zamora’s guidance and my colleagues’ insightful answers in the collaborative notes for the week, I was able to reframe my mindset to be more open to the different kinds of research one could do. I spoke with the one who’s soul is inextricable from my own after the class and told him how the discussion helped me reframe my mindset: we are in this program to write and be creative, so a quantitative approach shouldn’t be the end all be all. Although I don’t personally believe that it is, being back in an academic program caused me to subconsciously revert to the mode of thinking I used in my undergrad days, causing me to see a lot of myself in James P. Purdy and Joyce R. Walker’s Liminal Spaces and Research Identity: The Construction of Introductory Composition Students as Researchers, specifically when they discuss “…students [moving] through their academic careers…[developing] disassociated personal and academic research identities” (28). However, although this is all accurate to me, I do believe there is still a lot of good in quantitative research. By virtue of the fact that it utilizes tangible data, it can directly show cause and effect, but due to the “rigid method of inquiry” normally associated with quantitative research, a lot of human error and biases can be excluded from these findings (Gunnell).

  On the other hand, qualitative research attempts to remedy this disconnection by focusing on the human side more than the statistical, and in doing so can offer answers to “understand complex issues” albeit at the risk of being “subjective and biased” (Gunnell). I think that a big strength of qualitative research, however, lies in its ability to not only ask more complex questions, but find different ways to answer them. This speaks to the complexity of humans themselves, and I feel can provide more fulfilling answers to research questions. Due to both the strengths and pitfalls of both quantitative and qualitative research, I feel that a mixed method approach would be something I would be interested in attempting moving forward. I think that by mixing different methods, researchers can really get to the heart of their burning questions without having to (for lack of better words) sacrifice the humanity in their research; mixed method research seems to be the best way to continually keep my research self-centered while also allowing for there to be tangible data to back my claims. As for the CARS model, I feel like it will be an invaluable tool moving forward in this program, not only for finding articles that can help me with my own research, but also to check my own writing to see if I have all my ducks in a row.

  I wrote this blog post while listening to MF DOOM’s Metal Fingers Presents: Special Herbs, the Box Set: Vol. 0-9. Sadly, I cannot tell you how many volumes deep in I got, but the music did help facilitate my thinking process while also continually having me nod my head to the beats.