Monday, August 02, 2010

Getting from 'raw' to 'cooked'

Working with ANT sensibilities, cooking with the data seems more and more akin to cooking the books than having a recipe to follow.
I am tolerant of the ambiguity involved, I just need to explain it well.
Seems to involve an ethical regard for the data and for oneself- as Simone de Beauvoir said- being ethical isnt about applying a recipe, but is about being thoughtful
There is need to be reflexive in the process. This was a timely find after my last skype chat with my peers and supervisor on methodology.
I read a little Spinuzzi today- and then tracked down the article by Peter Smagorinsky on method being poorly written of.
Smagorinsky, P. (2008). "The method section as conceptual epicenter in constructing social science research reports." Written Communication 25(3), 389-411.
I think Peter Smagorinsky places a reasonable demand on the writer to explain themselves, not for reasons of replicability but for understanding of where conclusions come from- explicate.

The round up the usual subjects and put them in a blender just isn't going to be enough. Here's what he says:
First, select all ingredients that could conceivably go in the dish. Review them carefully, then pick the ones you want to use and put the rest back in the pantry, perhaps saving them for another meal that you will prepare later. Then reconsider the ingredients you’ve selected and decide which are most important. Do this again just to make sure. Then mix the important ones together and give it a taste, adding other ingredients as necessary. Put them in cookware, heat, and serve.

OK- as he says,have we got cake, fondue or Thai?
I muse that even dog food could be an option with this level of description.
As an editor he rejects such articles saying:
I have the same feeling all too often when reviewing manuscripts for journals: I have only the vaguest sense of what the author is doing with the data in order to render it into results. If I don’t know pretty clearly how the researcher is conducting the study, then it doesn’t matter much to me what the results are because I have no idea of how they were produced.To me, that’s reason enough to recommend that the article not be published.
Fair enough.
Its not that he wants replicability, he provides the reasons why this will not be likely, but he does want to know what he's eating. Nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment