My Research and Methodology
Some of the posts on this blog are just random thoughts popping out of my own head. Some of them specifically relate to my dissertation. All of them have been influenced by my actual fieldwork in Philadelphia. So I wanted to put up a permanent page so visitors could know exactly what lies behind the words you see on this blog:
My research question is this: how is the work of local journalism changing in the 21st century, and how do changes to that work affect the cultural authority that journalists have.
Over the course of this project I undertook a 60-month process of iterative, qualitative fieldwork, both on-and offline, with the most intense period of observation occurring between May and August 2008. In the months prior to and following that intensive summer period I did extensive research into the history of journalism and media in Philadelphia using both primary and secondary source documents. I also conducted more than 60 semi-structured interviews with journalists, editors, activists, bloggers, and media executives (with more to come) to gain insight into old and new forms of journalistic work.
In general, I followed a methodological approach known as grounded theory– a research process that moves from limited theorizing to the collection of data to theorizing once again. I should also note that, in my current research, I am comfortable sacrificing some degree of generalizability for greater qualitative depth. In a sense, I hope that the very complexities and idiosyncrasies apparent in studying media in Philadelphia might be useful for generating interesting conundrums and counter-intuitive claims, claims which can themselves be subjected to a more comparative, systemic analysis in the future.