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ERIC Number: EJ973943
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-1175-8708
An Inquiry into Inquiry: Learning to Become a Literacy Researcher
Johnson, Lindy L.
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v11 n2 p81-93 Jul 2012
This narrative chronicles my journey as a doctoral student in English Education as I navigated the decision as to which research methodologies I should align myself with during my doctoral studies. Gee's theory of discourses (2012) provides a framework in which to situate the identity work at play in deciding the kind of research methods one should undertake. This decision reflects not only the kind of work one will engage in, but also ways of doing, being, valuing and believing (Gee, 2012). What are broadly considered to be quantitative research methods can be considered a dominant discourse in educational research since these are the types of studies that receive federal funding and most influence policy and reform. Yet there is a subculture within my own department in which qualitative research is the dominant discourse. These two dominant discourses became a source of tension for me as I developed my own scholarly identity. I explore how participating in a research apprenticeship during my first year helped to mediate the tensions between these competing discourses. During this research apprenticeship, I also investigated my own learning of the research process. Engaging in this kind of autoethnographic study (Ellis, 2004) helped me to bridge the seemingly insurmountable divide between quantitative and qualitative research. Rather than viewing various research methodologies as diametrically opposed, I came to see them as different discourses that could, perhaps, be inhabited equally well. This meta-knowledge of discourses (Gee, 2012) provided me with a better understanding of the ways in which all methodologies are inherently ideological and thus privilege and marginalise certain ways of knowing. Finally, I suggest that viewing research methods as discourses and encouraging doctoral students to participate in research apprenticeships early on while also investigating their own learning processes' may help them adapt more easily to the kinds of dispositions and ways of thinking valued in scholarly research. Becoming fluent in multiple discourses might also enable doctoral students to become "border crossers" (Ball & Lampert, 1999), who translate and make connections between the different realms of quantitative and qualitative research methods. (Contains 2 figures.)
Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A