I focused my reading today on Chapter 3 in Michael Quinn Patton’s Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, as I am going to be writing my thesis using a form of qualitative inquiry.  I found that the chapter I read was very informative, readable and useful to me in clarifying the different theoretical orientations, even though it was a brief overview for the purpose of introducing such.  I was particularly taken by a few of the approaches as I could see these forms of inquiry fitting in with my research questions centered around the ethic of care and pedagogies of love in the classroom and why they are of utmost importance in today’s school environment and the classroom milieu.  These approaches are as follows: autoethnography and evocative forms of inquiry (with foundational questions centered around the researcher’s experience and insights into/within a cultural setting), heuristic inquiry (with foundational questions centered around the researcher’s experience of a phenomenom as well as that of others who also experience the same phenomenom intensely) and narratology or narrative analysis (with foundational questions centered around the narrative or the story and what it reveals about the person as well as the interpretations and understandings that therefore arise).

I also appreciated the section on pragmatism at the end of the chapter as it notes here that not all questions are theory based and that some questions can be addressed without  placing the study in one of the theoretical frameworks found in this chapter.  One of the questions I had while reading through Chapter 3 was: how does one decide which theoretical orientation will work best?  And does one have to decide before hand (which theory best fits the research)?  Does that sometimes happen organically as the research unfolds?  And what of the overlap, as is the case when something doesn’t neatly fit inside one theoretical box, so to speak.

That being said, I found the form of inquiry I was drawn to the most was autoethnography as it has such a wide variety of divergent forms of inquiry.  Some of these orientations would include ethnographic memoir, ethnographic autobiography, ethnographic stories and narratives, self-stories, lived experience and narrative ethnography to name a few.  I feel that this very broadly interpreted orientation particularly resonates with me as I want to do something “different”.  I want this thesis to be very personal in nature and accessible to those who read it- and I want it to be read by not only those who are academics.  I want my narrative- my story to be read by everyday people. I want the themes in my thesis to translate to every day schooled experience as well as to life outside of school.  As such, I believe the theme of love and care are over-arching themes to which we all can find a connection, the world over.

I have great ambition.  But I also have my work cut out for me.