Luker and Operationalization

Luker's discussion of sampling and operationalization in chapter 6 of Salsa Dancing was on the forefront of my mind while completing my research proposal this week. I spent a great deal of time contemplating the methods that would be appropriate for my topic and landed on the logical first step of conducting a survey of my target group. Thankfully, we have not yet reached the point in the course when the forming of my survey questions need to be specifically determined. This being said, it was impossible to strategize the formation of my research without considering how a sample would be selected and how my questions would be phrased in a way that would actually answer the questions I had.
Luker states "...whatever my personal values might be, I can't just assume that you and I share the same definition (119)." This is an obvious point, yes? Not really. As Luker describes in much detail, the slight rephrasing of what could be considered a straight-forward question can have drastically different meanings to different people.
In the course of forming my research topic I landed upon an area of "alternative" literature that I found fascinating in its composure, content and cultural associations. Armed with what I feel is a complex area of study with much available to dissect and learn, I began posing questions that would approach the readers of this material in an appropriate way. Just as I was determining the questions that I needed answered, I picked-up Luker. Now I find myself struggling with the very question of what constitutes "alternative" literature and whether my definition is the same as those who read it.
Clearly, I will need to spend time working through this dilemma in coming weeks. Hopefully Luker will continue to offer this helpful guidance along the way.
- Cathy


John Daniel said...

I'm sure there is some sort of genre label for that. Something like that might have a home in Pop Culture circles - they will study anything.

Sara M. Grimes said...

Each of these struggles is such a key step in creating a research project - they might seem at the time like annoying logistical (or confusing semantic) issues, but really this is where the study becomes defined and delineated. Thanks for sharing part of your process with us :)

Stephanie Lauren said...

I think it's really important to keep in mind what Luker focused on at the end of her chapter with the example of the innumerable ways people describe rape. Even though people might not agree with your definition of what you're studying, by clearly defining your conception of the issue, people reading your research will be able to better understand how you chose your sample and operationalized your conception of the issue(s).

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