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Reflections on Previous Posts

I'm not exactly sure how we're supposed to do this, so I'm just going to give it a shot. Included are the posts that struck me as being the most significant/relevant to our work as a class.

(Original Post)
I found Stake's explanation of writing the report incredibly valuable. His suggestions for organizing the report are new to me, and I predict his box method might work its way into my initial write up/outline. Stake says that "readers should be counted on to do their fair share of the work" (122), but how much is a 'fair share'? How do we know what to give them up front and what to make them 'work' for? I've always thought of a case study as a kind of story, or as a narrative of a phenomenon, so I was surprised to read Stakes argument that "case study reporting generally is not storytelling" (127). After reading his explanation of why a case study isn't a story, I agree with his claim and appreciate the three paths he offers further down on p. 127.

(Reflection)
- I don’t think I’ll use Stake’s box method after all, though I think it’s good to know that I have it if I need it. I remember being so shocked that "case study reporting generally is not storytelling" (127), though I’m starting to get over that now and am able to look at these studies more holistically.

(Original Post)
The thing that struck me about this week’s readings is the way that each author/researcher presented alternative views/explanations. Though each case had specific goals to inform the reader of a certain theory, event, or phenomenon, none of them were afraid to say, “I (we) believe this, however, it could also be looked at this way…? I took this as maturity on the part of the researcher; the explanations of alternative reasoning definitely boosted their credibility in my opinion.

(Reflection)
- Alternative explanations are still strangely fascinating to me. Thinking that the outcome will be ‘A’ and it turns out to be ‘B’, and it’s ok, you’re not wrong – you just discovered what was really going on. I think I like alternative explanations so much because finding one means that you’ve come to a conclusion, which is a nice thing to do in a case study.

(Original Post)
I’m getting more excited about our mini studies as each week goes by, though I have a number of questions about our approach/getting started. Reading successful cases is one thing, but writing your own is something totally different (I imagine). It would be incredibly helpful for me if we could spend some time in class asking questions that are specific to our project for this class (perhaps we don’t need to do this now, but maybe in a few weeks). I realize that all of our readings are supposed to be informing our mini cases, but it may be helpful to talk more specifically about the cases that we have in mind.

(reflection)
- I am having a lot of fun writing the case narrative, it’s interesting to think about how I would have approached this kind of a paper at the beginning of the semester vs. how I’m approaching it now – I think it shows a lot of growth and new understanding.

(original post)
Yin mentions using software to code, is that what most researchers do now? I’d be interested to hear about your coding experiences and whether or not you’ve found software to be useful or imposing.

(reflection)
- After reading through a number of different perspectives on coding, I think I will give software a chance. If it doesn’t work for something as coding sensitive as grounded theory, I’ll stop and do it all by hand (which is fine with me too).

(original post)
Chapter 2 (Stake) reiterated that nothing is ever as simple as it seems. I always thought of research questions as simply being the jump off for the rest of the study, not realizing how much time one needs to spend evaluating, testing, and reworking them. I guess I was surprised that there are so many ways to approach research question design…

(reflection)
- Research questions are still tough for me. I have so many of them! Narrowing my study down to one question that covers all of the things I’m getting at seems impossible – is there a remedial research question seminar or something? That might be really helpful. But in all seriousness, looking at all of the cases we studied over the semester has helped to show me that you have to just get something down and go for it. A girl could spend her whole life writing and rewriting these things. At some point I think it’s helpful to say – enough is enough! I’ve got to get this thing going.

(original post)
I like how this week's readings armed us with an arsenal of research weapons. Yin and Eisenhardt's practical approach to case study design clearly illustrated what’s normally a very 'messy' process. As a young (and somewhat inexperienced) researcher, blueprints like these are incredibly helpful in getting through the unfamiliarities of case study research.

(reflection)
- I still agree with this – to an extent. I think that having a plan is helpful, and definitely useful initially, though now I see the value in allowing research to evolve organically, and to be smart enough to document how and why things change from the original plan (if they do).

(original post)
The content of our readings extends the introduction to research methodology from Mary Lay Schuster’s 8011 class. In 8011 I was working on a case study that used Glaser and Strauss’s grounded theory methodology, which at the time seemed like the best way to gather and analyze my data. However, when reading both Yin and Gerring (of whom I still have mixed feelings about – he just doesn’t seem relatable) I see that there are a tremendous number of theoretical approaches that I never even considered using (largely because I didn’t know they existed). So now I’m faced with the possibility of changing my approach which is both daunting and exciting at the same time. It’s amazing that each theoretical framework will result in it’s own unique final product. Additionally, I never really considered doing a multiple / cross case study, it didn’t seem necessary – but now I feel like this option needs to be explored since it’s such an important feature for Yin.

(reflection)
- I’m still planning on using Grounded Theory, though I think I now have a better understanding of how difficult it can be. A multiple or cross case study would still be great – but I’m more interested in the particulars of the Red case as it’s own little phenomenon right now.

(original post)
There's something about case studies that I've always (at least for the last several years) found captivating. I like the idea of telling stories through research, and case studies are well suited to narratives that explain experiences which would otherwise be untold and/or lost with time. Like some of you I'm also a bit fuzzy on exactly what a case study should be, but maybe that's one of the reasons so many researchers enjoy using this methodology. It's subjective in a sense that it works for the researcher - it's flexible and dynamic, able to adapt with changing situations, and I like that.

(reflection)
- I think I still feel this way. Which I guess that could be bad – but I think we’ve decided that case studies are often fuzzy and subjective.

(original post)
In 8011 I began to work on a case study about Product Red, a global brand working to alleviate AIDS suffering in Africa. The way Red uses new media to promote 'social justice' is a new concept in branding, and I look forward to the opportunity to further explore the Red case this semester. I feel that I have a good start on this project, but there's still a lot of work to be done before I can arrive at any conclusions (though I guess that's not always the goal of case studies).

(reflection)
- I don’t think that my goal with the Red study is to arrive at conclusions, rather I just want to explore my research questions and see what I come up with. I may reach conclusions, but they might not necessarily be generalizable, which is fine by me.

So I think that's all for now. Tomorrow's discussion should be lots of fun!

Bethany

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