What I’m Reading : Methodology

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been taking some time to read up on research methods. It’s one of those tasks that’s always been lingering on the back burner—something that I’ve been meaning to do and just never gotten around to doing. It’s not exciting, but it’s important to have a solid understanding of research methods as a foundation for an academic career. A bit tiresome but useful for the future, like a nightly skincare routine that you’re tempted to skip.

Part of my imposter syndrome is that I really never had a strong foundation in methodology, yet I have taught research methods and supervised research projects for years. I recommend books to my students that I haven’t even read myself! I felt like I had skipped something. So, this past month, I finally corrected that and read all of the methods books I had on my shelf (but never actually read before), and ordered a few more.

-Excellent guide to content analysis, very clear and well explained. I read it cover to cover, and now I feel much more comfortable with my recommendations for it over the years!

—Altheide was recommended for further reading in Neuendorf’s section on qualitative research, and it really clicked with me. I have been doing what he described without knowing what it was called…

—Berger is one of those authors that we use in the first year undergrad research methods module, so I was familiar with the chapters of his that I’ve taught. This is a good introduction-level textbook, with clear explanations and good recommendations for further reading.

—I’ve always recommended Fairclough without really knowing much about his work and taking the time to understand it. Now that I’ve actually read this all the way through and worked with it, I wish I had read it years ago. I would have been a better supervisor for all of my students who wanted to do discourse analysis or CDA.

—Good overview of different approaches, useful for comparing and contrasting techniques when you’re trying to decide what to do. Once you’re sure about your method (s), though, you need something more detailed and specific.

—Another one that was recommended by another text (this is the ‘snowball technique’ of literature searching, btw). I didn’t notice that it was an edited volume when I ordered it, so was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t just van Dijk—I think I may need to order one of his other books. Good overview, but not as prescriptive as Fairclough’s Language and Power.

—This one arrived in the post today and I’m looking forward to reading it again. It’s the only method book that I remember reading during my MA research, and as such I’ve recommended it to a lot of supervisees. I remember struggling with it a bit, so it’s going to be interesting to see how I get on with it now.

Overall, it’s been lovely to take this time to sort myself out and grow more confident with the methods literature. It’s taken away some of the shame I felt around not knowing enough about all of the various techniques my colleagues mentioned so casually. I also felt like a bit of a hypocrite, as I always tell my supervisees not to forget about methods lit. It feels good that I finally followed my own advice!

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