Re: [xmca] Point of view in writing

From: Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth who-is-at>
Date: Fri Aug 17 2007 - 11:29:41 PDT

All of you interested in method might be interested in an online
journal funded by the German science foundation and involving
psychologists (including the Gergens), sociologists, educators, etc.
and has a download frequency of about 60,000-70,000 articles per month:
I edit several of its sections: on ethics in qual research,
ethnography of our profession, teaching and learning qualitative
research, and criticial perspectives on social constructionism

On 17-Aug-07, at 11:17 AM, David Shaenfield wrote:

As a new researcher myself, I find Ian Parker's text Qualitative
Psychology to be a nice introduction to different methodological

Parker, I. (2005) Qualitative Psychology: Introducing Radical
Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.

table of contents:


----- Original Message ----
From: Mike Cole <>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:01:18 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Point of view in writing

Hi Kim
I think all methods have pitfalls. I was trying, unsuccessfully it turns
out, to articulate
a pitfall I personally encountered.

If this is of future interests, why not check out Cultural Psych and see
what you do and don't
like about that way of wrting about the subjects there addressed and
along something
to read of yours. Perhaps we can ground things more effectively that


On 8/16/07, Kimberly <> wrote:
> Hi Mike,
> I'm a little confused by your response. It almost sounds as if you
> are
> saying a third person approach doesn't have the same "potential
> pitfalls"
> that you mentioned. My understanding is that data collection must be
> systematic, thorough, and well-organized no matter what the writing
> approach
> used. Fieldnotes, personal notes, transcriptions, triangulation
> through
> correspondence, public notices, student work/journals, interviews,
> etc.
> are
> the empirical bases for the interpretation of the data. First person
> doesn't necessarily mean just a retrospective account or memoir. I
> think
> it
> can be just as systematic, rigorous, "objective," and empirically-
> based as
> any third person approach. Writing in first person, however, puts the
> inevitable subjectivity of the author up front on the table. I think,
> too,
> the personal voice (at least in education) may help to bridge the gap
> between researcher and practitioner.
> Kim
> On 8/16/07 11:36 AM, "Mike Cole" <> wrote:
>> Hi Kimberly (and Paul) (and)
>> I started this with a new header because the previous notes were
> carrying
>> very long string of prior notes in them. Something to
>> do with problems Bruce wrote about yesterday I think.
>> If there is disagreement about the disutilities of writing in pseudo
> third
>> person, as if objective, fashion grovelling on our bellies,
>> handcuffed,
>> etc, in order to publish someone will have to defend such forms of
> behavior.
>> My own view is the the method of explication should fit the subject
> matter
>> being discussed. You can get a feel for how I mix the two genres
>> in Cultural Psychology.
>> In so far as I am using method of long term participant observation,
> which
>> is one approach I use to some of the topics I work on, I find that a
>> potential pitfall of the first person approach arises if one fails to
> create
>> systematic fieldnotes of one's activities, interpretations, guesses
> about
>> what going on, etc. from the beginning of the research up to the
>> point
> where
>> one is writing the account. This hit me most forcefully when
>> trying to account for three years of work creating and trying to
>> sustain
>> afterschool activities at four sites here near UCSD. At the end of
>> the
>> period I wrote up an account of what I thought had occurred. I
>> believed
> it.
>> Then I listened to audiotapes of discussions I had had with key
>> players three years earlier during which we planned what we would be
> doing
>> and what we thought had to be done to make the work
>> successful. I was stunned in listening to the tapes, to learn how
>> much
> my
>> retrospective account had selectively forgotten lots of events,
>> lots of pointers (had I been able to interpret them properly) to
> upcomping
>> problems and changes.
>> So, when using first person approaches, its nice to have lots of
>> bits of
>> "objectified" materials, including one's own fieldnotes and notes
>> to colleagues (email is great in this respect) as a materialized
>> record
> of
>> what you USED to think, or what you USED to believe was important,
>> etc.
>> And, in addition, including information that does not arise from
>> sources
> you
>> helped to create is also useful as a way of triangulating and
>> being self critical.
>> mike
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
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Received on Fri Aug 17 11:32 PDT 2007

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