Thursday, October 9, 2008

Me and My Big Fat Gradiose Ideas!

For my concetration exam, I proposed to submit a potential draft for Chapter 1 of my diss, where I had this big plan to trace the decline in teacher-research publications in Composition Studies in Ch. 1 of my dis. Well, I tried and failed miserably. (I based a large part of my concentration exam on this argument, and my dissertation committee had pity on me and didn't fail me. God bless 'em!) For one thing, this is not an easy thing to prove evidence-wise, since results from databases prove to be quite unreliable. For example, when searching CompPile, one of the largest databases in the discipline, different keywords searches using "teacher-research", "teacher research", "classroom research" etc. don't yield any reliable results (which I expected but didn't anticipate this issue interfering as much as it did), at least not reliable enough to make a strong argument. Now imaging doing this search in multiple databases like ProQuest, JSTOR, Google Scholar, etc., etc. Not a feasible task. Why I didn't see this coming before, I don't know; I just wanted to be theoretical. LOL!

I thought I needed to trace this history and decline in order to make the case for additional Afracentric teacher-research. I thought doing so would establish particular relevance that would make my dissertation appear more theoretically sound, as opposed to a "this is what happened in my small, single, local classroom: ain't it neat?" dissertation.

As I'm revising and rethinking the new arguments I'll make in Chapter 1, with the help of my committee, I've realized that I don't have to trace this history of teacher-research (broadly conceived) to establish a relevance for doing Afracentric teacher-research. As one of my committee members pointed out, tracing this history is perhaps too broad for the scope of my project, and I think (s)he's absolutely right. So, my plan for this Chapter will be to establish the relationships between Afracentric pedagogy and Afrafeminist methodologies (how I define them, what they look like, etc.) and teacher-research. That'll make my argument more focused (I think!)


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