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Week 6:

Interviews:

I will start this week with my technological mistakes. Uploaded is one complete
but short interview, an interview that gets cut off after the first 2 minutes (which is a
shame because it was almost a 30 minute interview and by far the best) and a recording
of a technology training session. I interviewed 4 people + the technology training session
but during my second interview the recorder in my phone apparently stopped working so
I no longer have the 2 other interviews I did. My interview notes definitely need to be
more diligent in the future because now that I do not have the recording my notes are OK
at best. To remedy this in the future I am going to stop using my cracked up phone and
instead us a TASCAM I checked out.
I conducted my interviews during college radio day on Friday outside the Union
building where KUTE was remote broadcasting. I simply approached DJs and asked if I
could interview them about the station for one of my classes. The first 2 people I
interviewed were shadows, meaning they did not yet have their own shows and were still
learning the software. The other 2 people I interviewed were directors who taught the
software to the shadows. My line of questing always started out broad because I wanted
to see if this software affected their identities as radio DJs. For example I always asked in
opening What do you think about when you think of college radio? Stereotypes? Noah
(my second interview) was the only person who responded and elaborated and told
stories of DJs in popular media and so forth, other interviewee responses were more
political and I noted their faces and intonation would change to seeming like they were at
a job interview. The fact that I was their boss was likely influencing the way they
responded to the question.
A theme that was common when talking to the shadows about the software was
that of usability. The stories they shared (especially Noahs) would detail stories of people
freaking out about messing up the software and stopping shows dead in their tracks. Noah
said that even though experienced DJs were messing up the software it was not the DJs
fault because the software was so cryptic and temperamental. Both shadows thought that
the software was needlessly confusing and did not understand why it was implemented.
Both argued that things would probably be smoother without it and it seemed to be more
trouble than it was worth and advocated for a work around.
When interviewing the Directors the theme of necessary evil was recurring. My
first interview with Dannial who trains people on the software said that it is the only
way we can avoid dead air, and I would be out the job if I had no one to train haha.
Dannial further explained that the software was not very good but it was the only option
the station had if it wanted to broadcast 24/7. I probed when he commented that the
software was really confusing and I asked if he knew how it really worked and he
responded and said that he really did not even know how it works on the nitty gritty level,
only the bear minimum to make sure shows are able to function properly.
The other director I interviewed was the Director of marketing; his response was a
bit more of an optimistic look but still could be considered a part of the necessary evil
theme. In his view it was necessary for monetary reasons. Yes the software was annoying
and unwieldy but it was necessary to making sure underwriter advertisements were
played as scheduled. The director shared that his experience with the software was less
about the radio and more about monitoring and taking the responsibility out of the DJs
hands to play ads. A machine is just more reliable than a Dj man.
After the interview was concluded I followed Tracys advice on page 162 and I
would turn off the recorder and ask them if they had anything else to say. With this group
of people they never had anything additional to say when the recorder was off, they
would simply say nah, thats about it.. For the most part I think my interviewees
were surprised to be asked about the technology in this way because no one at the station
ever questions the software. Some hate it, but they still accept it and move on with their
shows.
Since their were only 4 people working the event while I was doing interviews I
did not experience a time when I did not want to interview someone. However, I knew
who to be excited to interview, I knew Noah and Dannial would be interesting interviews
simply from talking with them in other contexts. Both are the kind of people who can talk
on and on about just about anything which makes things easier for me since I hate
prodding around as an interviewer, though I do have to make sure we do not get off topic
even though they are open ended interviews. I only asked open ended questions and
asked them to share a story of a time when. This technique is the exact same format
you use when creating documentary film, which is something I have a bit of experience
with.
Tracy:
Since I accidentally read the rest of the book last week instead of just the
interview chapter you can already read my musings on the rest of the book in last weeks
post. However, I revisited parts of the book and came away with a few interesting things.
1
st
After re-reading chapter ten I realized that we recently read the Meisenbach pentad
article in my Org class the other day. I think that the Meisenbach paper (and the Tracy
break down of it) is very interesting because the pentad method of analysis is something
that I would only expect to see in a rhetoric journal not something in health. Though I am
not a rhetorician I feel that seeing the pentad applied to fields such as health comm is a
really fun and productive way to look at a problem. Additionally, I feel that some of the
rhetoricians in the class will embrace this approach unlike with other subjects we have
covered in this class.
I had my prospectus defense meeting last Thursday and fortunately I passed. Even
though I am happy that my research plan has been deemed worthy by my committee I
cant help but feel that it/I am still inadequate to approach my study. I will share my
response to exercise 11.1 on page 233.
1. My proposed study is theoretically relevant. I am implementing a
newish theory of creative workers from 2013 by Amibile and using the
framework of social construction and Actor Network Theory in order to
attempt to explain aspects of what is going on. The study has a practical
application for student run radio stations and any other organization that
is planning on implementing software to manage creative workers. The
opportunity exists insofar as it has the potential to change how an
organization make choices, which can cause a social transformation in
an organization or maybe I just have too much faith in my study.
2. My study is interesting because it takes something that most people
think is boring, throws some sugar on it by looking at student radio
instead of stuffy radio and it implements a newish theory and will
attempt to discuss problems that are becoming more ubiquitous as we
become more technological.
3. I am the most concerned about the rigor of my study. While my
committee approved it, I am realizing that while a masters thesis is a
huge deal to me it kind of doesnt mean shit outside of what I do. Will I
be able to turn this into a publication? Probably not. Do I have enough
time to REALLY do what needs to be done to get the best data?
Maybe one of my committee members did say this was more a PhD
sized project. Do I have the skills to actually do this work correctly the
first time? Probably not, I have been taking this class and reading but I
dont think I will really know what I am doing till I have 5 or 10 studies
under my belt. This brings me to one of my concerns, am I doomed to
being insufficiently rigorous because of my being a masters student?
From talking with PhD. Students and my committee what I am really
doing is testing out to see if I have the chops to do a real dissertation in
the future. As many of the faculty have told me when I go to them for
advice about academics or life in general nothing matters. I should
not be surprised that what I am doing is not a big deal but I wonder
what ethical considerations there are when doing qualitative work. I
probably owe it to the participants to write the best paper possible but in
reality I have 1.5 semesters to get this figured out and done, effectively
undercutting my own work. I know that qualitative research is
inherently manipulative but I wonder if it is even more so when the
research is being done by a graduate student. At least qualitative
researchers can say they shared their research with the scholarly
community and helped knowledge progress. As a masters student
everything about my study is self-serving. In all likelihood my
committee thinks the study has potential and hope that I can flesh it out
later in my life if I choose to pursue a PhD, knowing full well that what
I produce now will be of little actual use other than for me to practice
writing and conducting research. I will likely enjoy this course of study
till I eventually finish and then I will never touch it again because I have
moved on to some other interest. Should I be accountable at all to my
participants? I am not held accountable by participants, but should I be?
Outside reading:
This week I read what is quite possibly the first paper I have ever seen where
there was an actual section on the information being sampled. It was in a Bosch
and Rains paper from 2009 on how health websites define their privacy policy.
While I am pretty sure the sampling I am doing for my own research is adequate
as it syncs up with Tracys version of purposeful sampling, I am in no way as
extensive as the Bosch and Rains article.
Till this point I have not seen a section dedicated solely to sampling. Most
often it will just be an explanation as to why certain people were chosen to be
interviewed in a short paragraph, which is just fine. However, since Rains and
Bosch were looking at texts (privacy policy texts) not people, there reason for
their sample was extensive. They at first started with 600 websites and slowly
whittled it down to 97 sites. Though they looked at 97 sites some had the same
privacy policy so the number they looked at was even fewer. They provide a list
of the 97 sites they looked at and it is clear that if I would have proposed the same
study I would not have had such a huge sample because my version of purposeful
at this time in my life is misguided and I would instead look at the few most
important websites rather than getting a huge breadth of information Which
would be a bad move and the reason I am just a student.
When looking at the list of websites however, most of them seemed kind
of useless. I went to a few of the websites I had not heard of before and some
were so poorly designed that I would not believe any health information on them
anyway. I would have focused on the sites that people actually went to. In the
sampling section there was not a breakdown as to if all 97 sites were trafficked
often and what kind of impact they had on the health information ecosystem. I am
not talking about the amount of visitors a website has since that number is easily
manipulated and falsified. There should be another study (I am sure there
probably already is one) that asks people where it is they get their health
information from online. However, the counter point would be that focusing only
on the popular pretty sites leaves out the population of people (my parents) who
do not care what a website looks like and will visit strange obscure WebPages that
are on the 4
th
page of Google to find health info. I guess what I am saying is that
my position is kind of a tech literacy elitist kind of thing.