Monday, July 6, 2009

Trying Not to Be Slightly Offended by This...

From a book on conducting qualitative research, talking about writing up field notes from participant observation of people in a setting:

"It happens that observers differ enormously in the detail and length of the field notes they keep. Some seem to be frustrated novelists and have been known to write 40 or more single-spaced pages on a three-hour period of observation." --Lofland and Lofland, Analyzing Social Settings (1984), p. 67
And people (well, maybe it's just me, but today it's an editorial pluralism) wonder why, although novelists and qualitative field researchers both learn from observing people in settings, these two groups are somewhat estranged from each other?

Stereotypes, stereotypes...My primary question is, since when did any frustrated novelist write that much? It seems most frustrated novelists' problem is more of the writing too little than writing too much...

But maybe that's just my perception of the way the writing world works.

The larger question is, why can't we all just get along, since fiction writers and qualitative researchers are doing remarkably similar things (I should know, since I'm part of both groups)?

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