Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chapter Summary for Theory and Methods

Chapters 2, 3, 4

I found Chapter 2 to be a rather difficult read, it seemed that the Theoretical principals underlying the hermeneutic method are very complex, and quite frankly, even after re-reading both Chapters 1 and 2, I’m a bit confused about the nature of such study. As a matter of fact, I found it easy to look up the term in the dictionary, which yielded the result of my understanding of the subject as “a person-to-person method of study.” Granted, I could have induced this from the title of the book, but I think this is accurate. Short answer—I don’t understand Chapter 2 at all. I suppose the theoretical principles eluded me. However, I did find Chapters 3 and 4 much easier to understand, and subsequently, much more informative.
The “Design and Sample” theme of Chapter 3 provided an excellent method of breaking down a community for analysis. I suppose though, given the intent of the chapter, the better term would be that the chapter provided methods for creating a community. That is not to say that it provided me with inspiring speeches, a large plot of land, and new language to work with, but rather that it provided me a way with which to identify a community, and isolate aspects of it that make a group or population a community. The chapter did not necessarily give me a checklist of aspects to look for, but helped provide the means for doing so. A few general suggestions were provided, but general they were, and though such factors as religion and ethnicity often provide unifying aspects of groups, they are often groups themselves, or unrelated to the study at hand.
Chapter 4’s Oral Discourse was thoroughly enjoyable, and gave tips and methods on oral interviews with members of the proposed community. Not only the chapter provide such helpful hints as “formulate open-ended questions” and “preserve the dignity of your informant” but also included tips on ice-breaking, ranging from inquiring about an intriguing dish, to light humor at one’s expense. Overall, I believe that the gist of the Chapter was “when interviewing, make sure the interviewee is comfortable.”

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