Connecting the Local to the Global

I think that this week’s readings begin to address some of the criticisms that our class has raised in relation to the focused, local ethnographies that we have read this term. Building outward from the work of New Literacy Studies, the transnational literacy movement recognizes that while the studies of local literacy practices are important and reveal vast amounts of information about a particular population, the studies sometimes “veer too far in a reactive direction, exaggerating the power of local contexts to set or reveal the forms and meanings that literacy takes” (Brandt 338). In an effort to remove the dichotomy between local and global that studies of local literacy practices seem to perpetuate, transnational literacy studies are intended to “provide insights into the specific ways that “local literacy practices” are infused with ideological purpose, institutional structure, and power” (Warriner 210) by “[h]ighlighting the lived experiences, human practices, and “cultural logics” of people whose everyday lives are dramatically shaped by large-scale global and transnational process” (202). I think that this work will be increasingly important as our world continues to become more globalized and as more people begin to identify themselves as transnational citizens.

                I also appreciate Brandt’s recommendation for a Latourian conception of literacy as an object that has agency. In Latour’s work on actor-network theory, he makes the argument that while human do possess individual agency to some extent, collective agency allows us the power to get things done outside of our individual experience. However, this network of collective agency is never limited to humans; instead, each network contains an assemblage of humans and objects, all of which work together in the creation of agency. For Latour, everything has agential capacities – humans and nonhumans (objects, animals, even concepts and ideas). In viewing literacy this way, it is much harder (although it was pretty hard before) to accept the claims of scholars like Ong and Goody and Watt, who claim that literacy in and of itself changes the ways in which users think about the world. Instead, literacy is positioned as an actant, a node in the assemblage that has agential capacity, allowing us to “understand that society exists nowhere else except in local situations, but also to understand that, with the help of objects, lots of different kinds of activities can be going on in and across local situations – including aggregating, globalizing, objectifying, disrupting or dislocating” (Brandt 346).

                I also wonder if there is any way to connect, or perform a meta-analysis of, the numerous studies of local literacy practices that do not attempt to contextualize the study outside the realm of the local. This project would clearly be wrought with difficulties, as each particular ethnographer studies and reports on a variety of literacy practices and events within a variety of different contexts using a variety of methodological tools. However, I also think that by examining these studies in relation to one another, trends regarding the global or transnational aspects of literacy may begin to emerge.

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Spurious Coin: What does Longo want For/From Technical Writing

In her 2000 book, Spurious Coin: A History of Science, Management, and Technical Writing, Bernadette Longo presents the reader with a historical and culturally situated overview of the development of technical writing in the United States. Longo suggests that it is important to consider technical writing, both historically and from a cultural lens, in order to understand the relationships between science, non-science, culture, and the public. Although technical  writing has a long history of being identified as the neutral transmission of scientific knowledge, Longo acknowledges that technical writing “has a more active social role” because it “mediates the transfer of technical information from an applied scientist to an end user in technology” (ix). Longo further complicates this idea, suggesting that technical writing is not only the lingua fracta of scientific knowledge (i.e. scientific knowledge is useless if it cannot be disseminated via clear, technical communication), but that technical writing is imbued with issues of knowledge and power because technical writing “deals in pure and applied scientific knowledge, as well as technical information, for both circulate through communication in an economy of scientific knowledge and power” (xi). By providing a historical and culture overview of the development of technical writing in the United States, Longo intends to critically examine the tensions present in the discipline in an attempt to examine the ways in which technical communication interacts with, and is affected by, issues of culture, powe.r, and knowledge making.

Multiple stakeholders are represented in Longo’s text, including teachers, students, and practitioners of technical writing, the scientific community, and the academic community at large. This representation of a wide array of stakeholders with a vested interest in technical communication helps Longo to further the point that technical communication is wrapped up in issues of culture and power. Longo’s historical examination of the development of technical writing allows her to explore issues of legitimacy of knowledge, resulting in her call for a humanistic technical writing that values multiple forms of knowledge as legitimate, rather than only valuing Science as capable of producing knowledge.

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Reflection on Methods in Composition Research

I’d like to use this last blog post to reflect on the ways that this course has informed my own research agenda. When I enrolled in the course as a new M.A. student, I really had no idea what to expect. I suppose I expected a course that would teach me how to conduct research in the field of composition but I never expected the course to change the way I think about research, both my own and that of others. But it has.

Prior to this course, my research agenda actually lied strictly outside of the realm of composition studies (or so I thought). I frame myself as a member of the Professional and Technical Writing community with a strong research interest in workplace studies. But I always thought of workplace studies as brief moments in time, designed with the purpose of studying a particular problem or issue within the culture at large. My interest in workplace studies is also student centered, as I wonder about the best ways to provide students who will enter the field as professional and technical writers with the necessary skills to solve these problems within their own workplaces. In terms of my interests in workplace studies, this course really opened my eyes to the benefits of longitudinal studies. After reading Nathan and Sohn, I began to realize the depth in understanding that comes from a longitudinal study. And while I realize that longitudinal studies are not applicable in traditional workplace studies that are aimed at solving a particular problem, I think that longitudinal workplaces studies can be extremely beneficial in terms of curriculum development and preparing graduates who are qualified to enter the job market. While I don’t think this is an area of research that I can become involved in as a graduate student, it is an area I would like to look into in the future. I particularly think a study like this would be interesting and useful in terms of technical writing courses that are specialized for specific majors, such as engineers.

In addition to opening my eyes to the glories of longitudinal studies, this course made me realize that I AM interested in composition research. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always had a passing interest in prison culture in terms of the connection between education and recidivism. But, since I’m an “English Person” and not a “Criminology Person,” I always assumed that this research must be someone else’s to conduct and that no one in my field would ever value this as a basis for scholarship. But, happily, I was wrong. I’m currently working on a proposal for a qualitative study about the connection between prisoners, literacy, and citizenship. What started out as a desperate attempt to identify a qualitative research study for my proposal has turned into a real, viable  idea for a study that I actually plan to conduct.

So, what this course has really taught me is that my research can be both meaningful and enjoyable. I can research the communities I care about, like Sohn, and I can research the communities that overlap with or are part of mine, like Nathan, Rose, Foster, and Carroll. And I can conduct this research ethically and present it effectively, thanks to Stake and the authors of Ethics and Representation. But perhaps the most important thing I learned is that if I’m interested in a community, I can probably find a way to make an qualitative study out of it.

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Realist Ethnographies: How Real Are They?

**Dr. Moxley: For some reason this post was saved in my drafts and was never actually posted when I wrote it, so it’s out of order in relation to the other posts. Sorry.

 

Maybe it’s just me, but does it seem that “realist tales” aren’t that real at all? I just don’t understand how an ethnographic account that strives to repress the presence of the ethnographer in the text can be “realistic” when all of the information presented in the text is there to support the interpretations of the ethnographer. This “interpretive omnipotence,” as VanMaanan describes it, really concerns me. While it doesn’t make the events the ethnographer studied less real, it does have an effect on the patterns perceived by the ethnographer and may also cause the ethnographer to miss out on useful or interesting patterns that don’t “fit” the researcher’s interpretations. Which seems to work against the recommendations of Stake, who seems to advocate for letting patterns emerge from research and redesigning the research project as new and interesting patterns emerge. Stake also advocates for ethics in representation–but how can it be ethical for the ethnographer to portray only one interpretation of the community? If it’s not the ethnographer’s responsibility to provide her reader with alternate interpretations of the events being studies, how can the reader hope to get a realistic glimpse of any community?

So, after getting myself all worked up about realist tales, I started thinking about Shirley Brice-Heath’s Ways With Words. Admittedly, I haven’t read the entire book but the section that I did read seems to fit in with VanMaanan’s description of a realist tale: absent ethnographer, descriptions of daily life, quotes from “natives,” single interpretation of the ethnographer. But, when I read this selection absolutely none of the concerns I have, theoretically, with realist tales ever entered my mind. Never once did I think, “Gosh, is this what Roadville and it’s inhabitants are really like?” Instead I thought, “Wow! This is a great description on Roadville!” And looking back on these thoughts is when I realized that I want the ethnographies to fit together just a neatly as the ethnographer does. But, while the ethnographer, in many cases, is drawn to patterns that fit a particular theory or reading of the culture, my desire for neatness comes from reading the ethnography like a story. Any good story ties up the loose ends and makes connections for the reader, right? But, since an ethnographer can obviously not include all of the information about all of the people, places, things, events, and interactions that she observes, the only way for her to tie  up loose ends and make these connections is by selectively including some information and omitting other information. And since the ethnographer is producing scholarship, a theoretical underpinning is valued. So, it seems obvious that the ethnographer would select data that fits her theory while discarding data that does not.

And so I seem to have gone full circle. I have a theoretical distrust for realist tales yet can completely understand the circumstances in which they arise. Is there a way for the ethnographer to make her realist tale more real without abandoning her theory? I think there is and I think the answer lies in examining the underlife of the community being studied, as Robert Brooke does in “Underlife and Writing Instruction.” If ethnographers maintain their realist conventions while examining the underlife present in the patterns/events/details they choose to highlight, the reader will gain a more complete understanding of the social dynamics at play in the community being discussed. I think that by showing this underlife to the reader, the representation of the community will be richer and, while not sacrificing the ethnographer’s focus on theory, will expose the reader to ways in which the community members attempt to resist the institution in which the ethnographer sees the theory at work.

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Discussion of “The Scientific Management of Writing and the Residue of Reform”

“The Scientific Management of Writing and the Residue of Reform”

This article is the winner of the 2008 CCCC James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award.

 

Author and Audience

Eric D. Turley identifies his research as lying in the intersection of composition, writing assessment, and school reform. Since this is a dissertation, Turley is producing this scholarship for his thesis committee, presumably with the intention of reframing/continuing the piece as a publication for a larger academic audience interested in the fields of composition, writing assessment, and school reform. Turley’s completed his dissertation at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, under the supervision of Professor Chris W. Gallagher. Gallagher works in the areas of writing pedagogy, assessment and accountability, literacy studies, and rhetorical theory. Interestingly, Gallagher’s 1998 dissertation, “Reflexive Inquiry: Rethinking Pedagogy and Literacy,” also won the CCCC James Berlin Memorial Outstanding Dissertation Award.

 

In addition to this dissertation, Turley and Gallagher co-authored “On the Uses of Rubrics, Reframing the Great Rubric Debate,” which is linked to USF’s myreviewers web site. Turley is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

 

Research Questions

Turley identifies the following research questions in his Introduction:

 

  • What are the origins of standardized writing tests within the fields of English Education and Composition? Where did they come from? Who created them? What were their purposes? And what problems were they trying to solve by implementing them?
  • Why do politicians, policymakers, administrators, and teachers turn to standardized writing tests to solve their writing problems?
  • How do standardized writing tests impact student writing, teachers’ pedagogies and theories of writing, and school culture? (6-7)

 

Turley argues that current problems with assessment and accountability, specifically in the form of writing scales and standardized tests, are a result of educational reform that began in the Progressive Era in an adaptation of Fredrick Taylor’s model for industrial efficiency. Turley discusses the move in the early 1900s to develop a scientific, objective tool to measure student writing and from there provides a general history of developments in assessment in relation to Taylor’s efficiency model. Turley identifies this adaptation of Taylor’s model as ineffective, as it focuses on efficiency of process rather than on quality of process or product.

 

“Through the creation of standardized tools to measure writing and teachers the residue of Taylor’s ideology and practices are embedded within contemporary theories and practices of writing assessment today. (10)”

This suggests Turley’s view of standardized assessment tools as a way to hold teachers accountable for student success, rather than focusing on ways to ensure student growth and development. Turley also discusses the political nature of educational reform as an administrative response to a perceived need—a need that may not be recognized by those that inhabit the institution:

 

“The residue of reform efforts of the past are still with schools today, often unnoticed or unquestioned by those who inhabit schools. Like the graded school, credit unit, bell systems, and urbanization of schooling, standardized writing assessment has become part of the grammar of schooling” (11).

In addition to exploring the connection between assessment issues and Taylor’s ideology, Turley also grounds his work in Foucault’s theories on power relations and subjugated knowledges. Turley uses Foucault as the theoretical underpinning to support his inclusion of counter-narratives in the qualitative portion of his study that examines writing assessment within a specific school district.

 

Epistemology and Rhetorical Stance

This piece seems to be primarily hypothesis-testing, in that the qualitative study portion of the research emerged from the author’s work with Taylor’s model of industrial efficiency in combination with Foucault’s theories of power, displacement, and subjugated knowledge. Turley employs both a theoretical perspective, which he supports with narrative descriptions of his qualitative research.

 

Genre

This dissertation has a very unique style. While the traditional elements of the dissertation are present, the introduction and each of the four chapters are preceded by vignettes that correspond to the chapter topic and describe situations the researcher experienced during the process. This allows the reader to hear the author’s voice and perceptions of events involved in the research process without taking focus away from the participants in the study.

 

Turley also chooses to include both narratives and counter-narratives concerning the writing test that is required for graduation in the district he is researching. The inclusion of the counter-narratives highlights both dissension and agreement between teachers and administrators.

Methods of Data Collection and Analysis

In order to address his first research question concerning the origins of standardized writing assessment in Composition, Turley performs an archival study of the first 15 years of English Journal as well as early issues of Teacher’s College Record, Pedagogical Seminary, and Educational Administration and Supervision. Within this archival study, Turley wants to expose the “institutional habits” and “cultural beliefs” of the Progressive Era that lead to the creation of the first scientific writing assessment tools. Through this archival examination, Turley identifies standardization as an administrative response to a perceived problem and also identifies Taylor’s ideology of efficiency as the model for this reform movement. This archival examination in combination with detailed literature reviews makes up the introduction and first chapter of the dissertation.

 

In order to address his remaining research questions, Turley also performs a year long qualitative study (2006-2007 school year) within a school district that enforces a standardized writing test (WGE) as a graduation requirement. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the study, in which Turley collects data from 10 teachers in 2 high schools (5 from each school), 2 principals, and 2 district administrators. Turley employs 2 rounds of interviews for each participant, which last from 45 – 90 minutes. In addition, Turley observed 11 courses and collected classroom and district documents relating to writing instruction and/or the WGE. Of the 2 schools, Turley notes that one school is the oldest in the district, with a traditional structure and a diverse population that tends to pass the WGE at a slower rate than  students at the other school involved in the study, which is a new school with a non-traditional structure and a mainstream population.

 

Turley also points to the fact that he engaged in an ongoing process of data analysis throughout the collection process, in order to allow the data to inform his work and allow him to follow interesting threads that become evident through analysis. When analyzing the first round of interviews, Turley used these questions to guide him:

 

• What impact does the WGE have on Butler Public School District?

• What impact does the WGE have on Wilson and Marshall High Schools?

• What impact does the WGE have on teachers and their classroom practice?

• What impact does the WGE have on students and their writing?

Turley then coded the interview transcripts using Kathy Charmaz’s principles of constructivist grounded theory, specifically the “constant comparative method” of data analysis. However, he never seems to explain the theory, the method, or any conclusions drawn from this coding process.

Turley also strives for polyvocality within his text in order to represent his attempt to “share and create knowledge with the participants” (27). He does this by including narrative and counter narratives within the qualitative study portion of the research. In addition, he encourages the teachers who participated in the study to “read, respond to and critique” the study: one teacher response is included and Turley writes that more responses will be included in forthcoming versions of the work.

 

After his general overview of the research project, Turley devotes Chapters 3 and 4 to interesting moments within the process. In Chapter 3, Turley explores the issues of validity and reliability by examining 3 specific moments during grade norming sessions in which dissension occurred regarding scoring. In this chapter, Hurley notes that the WGE is based on AP examinations, alluding to issues of bias but never expanding on these thoughts. Instead, Hurley uses his examination of these three specific situations to determine this 5 question framework designed to serve as a heuristic for building writing assessment:

 

1) What is the purpose of the assessment?

2) What is the definition of writing? What should students do / be able to do?

3)   What kinds of assessment tools would achieve said purpose and produce data

that corresponds to the previously stated definition of writing?

4) What is the relationship between assessment and pedagogy? Does the data

from the assessment tool prove useful to schools, teachers, students and  parents?

5) What are the social and educational impacts of the assessment on students?

Turley moves on to examine the ways in which the pressure of the WGE effects writing instruction, resulting in a loss of agency for the instructor who feels the need to “teach for the test.” He then examines how instructor’s attempt to regain this lost agency by attempting to access and integrate their subjugated knowledge of writing and pedagogy into the classroom. Thus, the instructors both obey and resist the instructional methods prescribed by the WGE.

 

Critique

One methodological critique of the study is Turley’s failure to explain the importance of or analyze the data resulting from his coding of the initial interview transcripts. He states the coding of the interview transcripts as part of his methodology but never does anything with the results.

 

In terms of content, I am surprised that the author only addresses issues of bias and discrimination that result from standardized tests, particularly in terms of disadvantages for minority or poverty stricken students, in terms of one of the participant teacher’s concerns about multicultural issues with the test.  This conversation is framed in terms of this instructor’s subjugated knowledge and is treated anecdotally but never explored in detail. Turley highlights the economic and social differences present in the populations of the two high schools participating in his study, yet never goes anywhere with this information. He provides a detailed breakdown of student demographics at each school, but never discusses how these demographics are related to the issues of reliability and validity discussed in Chapter 3.

 

I also find the lack of student voices in the text to be problematic. While I appreciate the focus on the ways in which the standardized test effects the ways in which instructors teach, I continually wondered how this all related to the students. In addition to the voices of teachers and administrators, I wanted to hear the voices of students discussing the perceived value, or lack thereof, of the WGE.

 

Implications for Further Research

In the Epilogue, Turley identifies some areas for future research as a result of this study:

  • Need to internally document and research discontinuities between teachers and administrators in terms of theories and competing forms of knowledge
  • After these discontinuities have been identified, researchers should “reimagine” pedagogies to address these discontinuities
  • Research should be conducted in regards to including the subjugated knowledge of teachers in school reform efforts.

 

This study also opens up other areas for research. For example, I think the lack of student voices within this text is an area that can be addressed by further research aimed at understanding student perceptions, successes, problems, etc. with standardized writing assessments. Another possible area for research that arises from this study is in the actual effectiveness/accuracy of the test – are students who pass the test able to demonstrate an ability to write in college or the workplace? Of course that would require a new tool for assessment…

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Ethnographic Ethics

I love ethnographies. Really. I do. I find the investigation of cultural situations that can be found in ethnographic accounts to be fascinating–the appeal of catching a glimpse into a group of which I know little about is intriguing. But I can’t help but feel that ethnographic research can be a dangerous area to delve into, both for the researcher and the subject. Of course, all scientific research involving human subjects has the potential to cause harm, which is why there are mandates and protocols to follow when researching human behaviors. But I think what worries me, especially after reading this weeks selections from Ethics and Representation, is way in which the researcher represents herself and her ideas within the ethnographic account.

Two things from this week’s reading really got me thinking about my own possibilities for ethnographic research. The first item that struck me relates to my concerns about ethnographies that come across as “perfect” representations of the researcher’s ideas. In Newkirk’s “Seduction and Betrayal in Qualitative Research,” he discusses classroom writing research as “exclud[ing] instances where the approach did not work [resulting in] research as advocacy, a selectively chosen sample of the most convincing examples of student success” (12). Obviously, this selection process must occur in some manner or another–no ethnographic researcher could possible include a detailed account of every piece of data she gathered for every subject being studied. But, when we have control of that selection, how can we, as humans, possible avoid the overwhelming desire to select (advocate for) the data/case studies/subject voices that “fit” with our idea/perceptions/favorite theories/interpretations of the situation? Don’t we, as humans, typically seek out data that supports our opinion, sometimes without being totally aware of what we’re doing? And while I appreciate the notion of self-reflexivity, I wonder how often this process actually enables the researcher, within the researching process, to actively assess her choices and include data that doesn’t fit her theory/argument/thesis. I can see how self reflection after the fact (i.e. after the ethnography is published and the research can begin to separate herself from the project) can allow the researcher to examine her self as a subject, but this is little help in terms of the original project.

In terms of keeping the product as representative of the population as possible, I think the traditional realist tale, as described by Van Maanan as the ethnographic form which “push[es] most firmly for the authenticity of the cultural representations conveyed by the text” (45) is no longer the best option in ethnographies. In “A Text for Many Voices: Representing Diversity in Reports of Naturalistic Research,” polyvocality is represented as an ethical way for the researcher to represent diverse, and sometimes differing, interpretations of events. Thus, the researcher is able to present her interpretation of the research while including the diverse and different interpretations of her subjects alongside her own. While this is not a traditional style used in academic discourse, it seems to be an effective way for the researcher to report her research without obscuring those who make the researcher possible. My concern with polyvocality is with readability: would it be disorienting for the reader to see interpretations of the “natives” that are, in some areas, vastly different from those of the researcher? Will this tension devalue the research in the eyes of the reader? Could this polyvocality have negative effects for the subjects in some cases?

While I don’t have the answers to these questions, I do think that polyvocality within an ethnographic study can be a place for self-reflexity (for both researcher and subject) to occur. By examining one’s own views in contrast to those of another, it is possible that both parties will realize that their interpretation is skewed and come to a compromise regarding the most realistic account of the event. This method was discussed by Robert Brooke in his visit via Skype as an accurate and ethical way to uphold responsibility to the subject. However, when this sort of compromise does not occur naturally as a result of exposure to other interpretations, the ethnographer should do her best to accurately represent the voices of dissension.

 

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Writing the “Perfect” Enthnography

I’m beginning to get the feeling that a talented writer can turn almost any research effort (regardless of the quality of research) into a “successful” ethnographic study. While most enthnographies are quick to throw out the “this data is not generalizable” line, where are the stories about those subjects who don’t fit the ethnographer’s ideal mold? Where are the stories about (in composition ethnographies) people who aren’t ‘saved’ by literacy? Can’t we learn just as much from those tales as we do from literacy’s success stories?

Strangely, I didn’t actually feel that this was a problem until I began reading Tinberg and Nadea’s “The Community College Writer: Exceeding Expectations.” This isn’t to say that this book is any more problematic than other ethnographies we have read this semester: it’s not. But this is the first ethnography that I have truly been able to identify with because I attended community college. While Sohn’s women of Appalachia are mesmerizing and Rebekah Nathan’s “My Freshman Year” is fascinating, I have never lived in the mountains of Appalachia or in a college dorm. So, while I did notice that in both of these ethnographies the subjects fit very neatly in line with the expectations of the ethnographer, I didn’t find this troublesome. In fact, I almost expected this alignment to occur – Sohn had lived in Appalachia for some time before beginning her research project and Nathan had taught college for many years – their expectations going into the project should be somewhat accurate as a result of experience, right?

Of course, Tinberd and Nadeau had expectations as well. My problem is not with their expectations – my problem is that, at least in my experience, the students that they write about are not truly representative of a community college population and the conclusions that they draw are strikingly similar to those of Carroll in “Rehearsing New Roles.” For example, both books conclude that students learn to write differently while in college and that students often focus on what the teacher wants and how to get an A. Obviously, I’m not doubting the accuracy of these claims – we know these things about students. What I’m wondering is why, in a book dedicated to the community college writer, the authors seem to describe these students as university writers, when the two communities possess clear differences? Tinberg and Nadeau do give background information about each student that is represented by a detailed case study, such as age, employment, family, and prior education. However, I’m missing the connection between this data and the discussion of how these students learn to write. Because, the fact is, students in a community college are getting a much different experience than those in university. While one can assume that a first-year university student successfully completed high school and has the goal of achieving at least a 4-year degree, the same assumptions cannot be made about a community college student. While some students may be attending community college for convenience or cost, with plans to transfer to a university, like myself, the majority of community college students are those who are not academically ready for university or those who are not interested in attending university. So, it would seem that these students would approach the task of writing in much different ways than university students–these are the things I wanted to hear from Tinberg and Nadeau. How do community college students learn to write? In what ways does, or should, community college writing education differ from university writing education? And, perhaps most importantly, what happens to/with the students that don’t succeed? What can we learn from the story of the community college student who truly wants an education but cannot succeed? And why can she not succeed? Lack of prior quality education, not enough time for work and school, financial difficulty, child care issues? I want to know more about these students because it seems like they are the ones who could benefit the most from our research efforts.

So, after reading an ethnography that I could personally identify with, I did start to wonder about the other perfectly-fit-together ethnographies we’ve read: what about Sohn’s women who didn’t successfully employ literacy in life changing ways? Or, what about the women for whom gaining literacy caused more problems than benefits? I don’t mean to sound naive: I know researchers/writers of ethnographies struggle to publish their data in a way that accurately represents the community being researched in a way that is acceptable to the community. But, I have to say that inclusion of a story an individual that doesn’t fit the mold would make the research seem, at least to me, more valuable–or at the very least, more real. Because let’s face it, nothing works perfectly and no one gets the answers they want all of the time.

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