All posts by rbabasha

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

This is just a quick acknowledgement that yes, I’m quoting The Beatles in my title. And now, on with the post…

After reading “Research Methodologies. A Comparison of Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods,” I could identify the differences among quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods, but I didn’t feel particularly moved to write a blog post about them. Seeking inspiration, I read my classmates’ blog posts, and that’s when I felt a genuine response stirring, so thank you to Daniel, Cindy, and Fran! In her blog post on this week’s readings, Fran wrote about how the clarity of the quantitative method appeals to her and I, too, like knowing what I am supposed to do and having a set of rules or guidelines to follow. She also mentioned how it would be awful to “find out you have been testing the wrong question or hypothesis the entire time,” and I agree. But once I envisioned myself in that situation of testing the wrong question, I realized that I embrace constant revision in my writing process, so why should I be afraid of it in my research process? Even if I need to return to square one in a piece of writing, I don’t feel like all is lost, and I still feel like the work that I did leading up to that point is valuable, so why can’t I think about research this way? It’s a little less daunting to approach research with this in mind, so thanks to Fran for sparking my revelation!

Now that I’m less afraid of the quantitative method, I’m realizing that it actually appeals to my rule-following, logical side. To balance things out, the qualitative research method appeals to the language-loving, creative side of me. When I read that in a grounded theory approach “one step of the process predicates the actions of the next step,” that definition sounded a lot like my approach to writing, where I’m constantly revising. (The grounded theory approach is under the umbrella of qualitative methods.) Having learned that both the quantitative and qualitative methods have their limitations, I have come to think that the mixed methods approach is the one that would make me feel the most confident in my research results. 

After considering the three research methods, it was interesting to read the article on the CARS model because it gave me an idea of the structure of the paper that would result from all of the research. That being said, it would have helped me better understand the benefits of the CARS model if there were an accompanying before-and-after example to show it in action. Similarly, without an example, I’m left wondering whether every element in the “Questions for Revision” section is essential to an introduction. However, despite my uncertainties about some of the details of the CARS model, having a point of reference certainly proved useful for this week’s blog post, so when the time comes to start writing a research paper, I will definitely appreciate having a model to follow.

The Research Road Ahead: From Mesozoic to Modern

As some of you know, I was a high school English teacher for many years, but left the profession in 2022. While searching for a new job, it became glaringly apparent that a master’s degree would be essential to securing any of the jobs that paid well and were of interest to me. Although I eventually got a job at Kean without a master’s degree, I decided to pursue an M.A. in order to both increase my job prospects and challenge myself intellectually. I chose the English and Writing Studies Program because I have a B.A. in English, taught English, and want to continue exploring what the English language has to offer from different perspectives. Getting a master’s degree has been a goal of mine for a very long time, but one of the reasons that I left teaching was to achieve better work-life balance. In keeping with that goal, I am only taking one graduate class at a time. Although most of you will be finished with this program while I am still plodding along, I will hopefully be able to stick with it. 

As for my research identity, I’m going to come clean here–the only time I have ever had to write a research paper from start to finish was in high school, and things have changed dramatically since then! The last time I actually had to do research for academic purposes was in college. In college, any research I needed to do was done in the library, which had books, not computers. That was a VERY long time ago, and a lot has changed since then. The way that information is now stored, shared, and accessed is wildly different from what it was when I last did in-depth research. Now that I am facing the prospect of writing a research proposal decades after completing college, I feel like a dinosaur. Fortunately, according to Dr. Zamora’s first post on our class website, we will be learning about foundational research methodologies and “engag[ing] in active and formal research processes.” I’m grateful to have this opportunity to bring my knowledge into the twenty-first century and prepare to take on any research projects to come.