>I was perusing my Qualitative Educational Research textbook (p. 470) yesterday and came across a section about using memos to help keep track of my thinking on my journey toward my dissertation. I thought i’d go ahead and give one memo a go.
The purpose of this memo is to begin a conversation with myself about the personal relevance of the research I’m planning and why I care about it.
Lutrell poses four questions to help jumpstart this process.
• What are your passions? What makes you care about the topic or the people, places or things that you wish to study?
I am passionate about young adult literature. There’s something that I haven’t put my finger on yet about the characters, the settings, the writing that speaks to me. And I am passionate about the adolescents who read these novels, who don’t want to read these novels, who struggle with literacy in their native language and/or in a new language. There is an excitement that can’t be replicated anywhere else when a self-professed non-reader sends me a text message asking for the release date for the next book in the series he’s spent the semester reading.
I’m a reader. I’ve always been a reader. There are days when I can’t help but wonder if my passion for young adult literature came from the fact that as an adolescent, my self-selected reads were adult fiction and the classics.
I take immense pleasure in recommending YA titles to my students, discussing their reading and helping them build their literacy not only in an academic setting but outside of school as well.
• What presumptions and beliefs do you hold about the topic, people, places or things?
I assume that every adolescent can find something to read that they can identify with. I believe that most people need to be at least functionally literate to get by in society without being taken advantage of. I believe that some YA literature is as rich in language, characterization and story as the classics English teaches are required to teach. (Don’t misunderstand, I also believe that the classics have merit.)
I assume that many struggling readers want to read better, but they’re so used to where they are, and many are embarrassed about being behind, that they’re paralyzed. I believe that YA literature is becoming increasingly popular (e.g. The hype behind the releases of the Harry potter books and of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins) with not only adolescent readers, but adult readers as well.
The other two questions, I can’t answer yet, but I’ll put them here for future reference:
• What is currently preoccupying your mind as you begin your research?
• What are your predilections and preferences as a researcher?
Luttrell, W. (2010). Qualitative Educational Research. New York: Routledge.
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