"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Working Backwards

While working on the 1-2-3 project, I felt like I kept stumbling over my research question. I know you're supposed to start with one, and I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but I kept trying to figure out how to put it in words. What I wanted to do was to read a chapter of a book with the inmates, the chapter would be about a person overcoming oppression, and I wanted to see what they "did" with the chapter (would they have an emotional reaction to it, would they write a response if I asked, would they connect the narrative to parts of their own life or other stories they've read). So I just went ahead and did it. Afterwards, I realized that I wanted to see if by presenting the chapter through a lens of critical pedagogy while we read it, would that impact their responses to the text?

I settled with: "How do incarcerated males respond to a semi-autobiographical narrative presented through a lens of critical pedagogy?"

So, y'all can help me clarify my research question tonight if it doesn't make sense.


  1. Seth,

    I think your research question makes perfect sense. You have provided the inmates with a reading selection that should provide them with an opportunity for reflection- which SHOULD concern embetterment of self. This ties back in to your lens of critical pedagogy, which looks at how education can provide your inmates with tools to better themselves!

  2. I agree with Jason. Your research question makes perfect sense. By the way, I loved your project (and your use of Freire)! It was such a great idea to have the inmates draw their own comics in response to the book that they read. Their drawings were really interesting!

  3. Thank you for being transparent about the evolving nature of your research questions, Seth. Unlike controlled studies that depend on strict fidelity to the study design from start to finish, qualitative studies often, almost always if done properly, open up new worlds and new ways to frame them as you move along. That does not mean that design doesn't matter; just that it is dynamic. Yours is a good example of this. Well done.

  4. This is hard concept for us hard science nerds to grasp, but I have realized it. Even if I stick hard to the initial question, it inevitable leads to more questions. Then we are back on the issue of who has the time to do this? I'm writing this at 1130 pm, e.g.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.