Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Much Needed Lull

After an intense two-week period of writing Chapter 4 of my dissertation followed by a flight back to Iowa and a two-day period of teacher development, I had time to work less intensely this weekend.  My only goals were to review my participant summaries, to prepare my one-question feedback form on Qualtrics, and to contact my participants for the purposes of member checking.  This took a total of three hours.

Although I enjoyed my time watching movies with the family, I also let Chapter 4 ferment in my brain.  I was reflecting on the various ways to analyze my data.  My literature review in Chapter 2 presented many alternatives for analyzing the data.  I do not regret the two models I chose from the Chapter, but there was one theory that I wish I could have included because it was more up-to-date and more rigorously applied than one of the models.  So the purpose of this blog post is to rationalize the choice of one model over another.

The model I chose is more widely known to people outside the field of intercultural communication, and most members of my dissertation committee fit this audience description.  This does not necessarily make it a better model, but it makes it more accessible.

Better Fit to Grounded Theory
The model I chose better fit my grounded theory because it was more flexible and its criticisms in the literature were mostly supported by the findings in my study.  That said, the other model was created out of the criticism of the older model, yet it did not replace the older model.  In this regard, I feel like using the newer model with my data set would be a next step or another paper. 

Less Change to Research Questions
If I had chosen the newer model, I would need to reframe my research purpose and questions.  In this regard, the newer model could have replaced my grounded theory, but I could not have predicted as the patterns did not emerge until I completed my data analysis.  This is one reason that I would like to write another paper using the newer model with my data set.  Perhaps I will discover that this paper is stronger than my dissertation. 

Also, I had chosen the newer model, my argument for conducting this study would move even further away from second language teacher education and closer to intercultural communication, the former of which was more emphasized in my graduate studies.  I am in the College of Education, so I need to and I want to keep my study more relevant to second language teacher education.  I also want to demonstrate the importance of intercultural communication and sociocultural anthropology in second language teacher education.

Other Models and Theories
Chapter 2 reviewed other models and theories that I could have used, but they were not as strong as the ones I chose and the third alternative I mentioned above.  They do not arrive to "bigger picture" conclusions of second language teacher education.  For example, my findings provide some evidence for proposed classifications in cross-cultural training research, but this argument takes away from the main idea of my study.  Perhaps it could be included in Chapter 5.

Looking back, Chapter 4 is about 100 pages that builds my grounded theory on two models.  I believe that including any other models or theories would add more content but would distract from answering my research questions.  What Chapter 2 has shown me is it has provided me various ways of analyzing my data set for different audiences and publications.  However, I do not want to continue publishing research with a data set that grows older and perhaps less relevant through time.  Once I complete my dissertation, I may only want to spend another year or two before I move on to collecting more data or moving on to another line of research.  I will be giving this process more thought when I get closer to wrapping up my dissertation.


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