5870: possible questions for the mid-term

Hello all.  In class this week Adam suggested that everyone could propose questions for the mid-term and I could choose some for the actual exam.  I think that’s a great idea, so please add comments with proposed questions.


  1. Each question should require an answer that brings together ideas from our readings rather than from only one.
  2. Each question should be answerable in about 2 single spaced pages, given 2-3 hours.

If you have questions, post those as comments as well.

7 comments for “5870: possible questions for the mid-term

  1. March 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    The readings have focused in on a variety of ways that ethnography is particularly suited to teacher research. So, after reading what we have read, and the discussions we have had this semester, define teacher research and how your ideas about what teacher research consists of have changed.

  2. March 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Ok, so far we have only one potential question, though all of you thought this was a good idea.

    Tomorrow I will post questions. Seems not having class as some kind of deadline is a problem after all.

  3. iderfnam
    March 31, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Does ethnographic research lead to practical improvements in the classroom? If so, how? And if not, why not?

  4. James
    March 31, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Question #2 can or does ethnography in the classroom lead us to a better understanding of ourselves as instructors, and/or to a better of our students? If so, why? If not, why not? Explain in detail using readings and personal experience.

  5. mgarcia5
    March 31, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    Proposal for Mid-Term Question:
    Purcell-Gates the following about ethnography: “Ethnography is not for researchers who already know what they are seeking or for those who have strong hypotheses to test. Rather, it is for those researchers who are truly wondering, seeking, curious about some
    aspect of literacy as it occurs naturally in sociocultural contexts” (Purcell-Gates 94).
    The readings in this class have focused in on a variety of ways that ethnography is particularly suited to those researchers who are truly wondering, seeking, curious… So, please share your experiences in your classroom observations, how they occurred naturally in sociocultural contexts, and tie these observations in to the theories we have read.

  6. fsnowden
    March 31, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I propose one of the following questions. Sorry this is late. I thought we had until tonight to do this:

    1. Pulling from the scholars we have studied so far, develop a definition of ethnography especially as the field relates to the composition classroom. What are the particular challenges and benefits of such studies? What techniques do these scholars suggest for overcoming these challenges? Which ones would you employ and why? Are the benefits obtained from ethnography worth the risk? Explain.

    2. We talked a lot about subjectivity during the last few weeks. Focusing on the problems of subjectivity, use the readings to develop an approach to dealing with subjectivity in your classroom observations.

    3. Brueggemann and Sunstein’s reflections on their ethnographic studies represent a study performed by a novice and a study done by one who seemed comfortable in her field. Compare and contrast the approaches used in these two studies. Using the work of Frank, Purcell-Gates and the other scholars we’ve read, try and identify when Brueggemann and Sunstein used some of these techniques or perhaps could have benefited from using them. Which study was most successful and explain why in light of what we have read and discussed so far.

  7. arussell
    March 31, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    In Brenda Jo Brueggemann’s article, she writes about existing in the hyphenated world between participant and researcher. She candidly struggles with her part in the process and the cohabitation of both roles. Unfortunately, by occupying the hyphen, she suffered a moral dilemma and alienated her subjects. When conducting ethnographic research, what role should the researcher occupy in order to report the most accurate findings? What internal and external factors should they consider? Should the researcher follow a code of ethics and if so, who or what creates that code?

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