Publicly documenting QualMIP (Qualitative Methods In Practice), an Olin group independent study with Paige, Cesar, and Emily — I’ve been waiting to teach this ever since my senior year of undergrad when I took my first qual course, so I am very excited to be working with this group.
We had a short pre-semester meeting tonight to get on the same page, since we’re codesigning/evolving the experience together instead of me dictating everything (I think the word “facilitating” or “hosting” were used). A few important things we’re agreeing on:
Sustainability is key. Two credits this semester means 3 hours in studio (one block during the week) and a maximum of 3 hours of work outside of class. If you’re running up on 3 hours, document and stop. We are learning process, and pacing ourselves is part of that process; it is more important than the finished product we may have predicted. Gauge by process, and learn to scale your product to match the time budget you have.
Focus on fieldwork. Qualitative research methods is a huge topic that one could take a lifetime to master. We want to hone the skills of presence and attention in the moment of data collection, be that observation, interview, artifact analysis (yes, the boundaries blur), etc. This means we won’t be doing readings, won’t be writing papers, and will optimize subject selection for convenience in accessing.
Private and portfolio deliverables. Everyone will be keeping two types of documents/artifacts throughout the semester: private memos (in any format/language) that are only for your future self (and whoever else you choose to share them with) and will never be required to turn in, and portfolio documents, which are assignments to be written from the material in your private memos, and do get turned in and otherwise publicly shared.
One grace week. You can miss studio for one week, on any week, no questions asked. You can also not do fieldwork for one week, on any week, no questions asked. Just give the group a heads-up in advance. Any absences/work-skips beyond that will need to be negotiated with the whole group in terms of how it affects assessment.
Formative, nonstandardized feedback. I’ll be giving formative feedback on how I see you developing your fieldwork style, not comparing you to a standardized rubric/method.
There’s more that I’ve forgotten, I’m sure. In any case, the Week Zero “assignment” is for everyone to get CITI certified (optional for Monday, but you’ll need it later on so you might as well do it now).
The agenda will evolve in response to where student projects go; we know we’ll spend the first 3 weeks settling on a study population, the last 3 weeks in “choose your own adventure” format where people can return to their favorite techniques, and the ones in between doing a survey of as many techniques as we can reasonably get to. Paige asked for the first 3 weeks to be spec’d out
Paige asked for the first 3 weeks to be spec’d out, so here they are:
Week 1: Nonverbals: groupings and gestures (Exercise: attention memos)
Week 2: Agential cuts: slicing and dicing units of analysis (Exercise: life story interviews)
Week 3: Interview protocols and practices (Exercise: more interviews)