Luker vs Knight

The combo of the readings this week were really interesting as both Luker and Knight discuss very similar things. So similar in fact, that it really shows how much their writing/teaching styles/method diverge from one another. Even the titles of the chapters are indicative of the differences, Luker's 'Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty' versus Knight's 'Research Design: Bringing it All Together'. Both discuss the synthesis of the research and method elements that we have learned about thus far. While Luker and Knight both use helpful anicdotes in giving examples, they part ways when it comes to their chosen teaching method.

Luker tends to kind of coddle the reader by repeatedly accounting for any negative feeling about their own personal research they may have. She discusses anxiety and reiterates important questions and information over and over again. Luker is a bit of a hand-holder, which I totally appreciate as most of us are going into unknown territory and may not even know exactly what we are studying until the end of our study. It is like she is prepping us for taking a leap of faith. Luker also leaves a lot of room for the creativity of the researcher by only making vague suggestions of what to do, how to do it and what has worked for her.

Knight on the other hand is a lot more pragmatic in all matters of research design and implementation. He provides great detail and excellent definitions for all aspects of small-scale research. Knight injects just enough charm so the reader does not die of dehydration. He does cram an insane amount of information into each chapter, so much so that it can seem a bit overwhelming. He is quite a bit more objective in his teaching method and writing style than Luker.

The truth is, I go to Luker when I'm feeling confused and like I don't really know what I'm doing, reading her is like getting a big hug and a pat on the head. I go to Knight for serious information and guidelines when I already have an idea of what I want to do.

I realize that the different ways that Luker and Knight tackle small-scale research is the reason that both of these textbooks were chosen for this class. I just find it really interesting how two people took basically the same method and design information and created such different but equally helpful artifacts.

1 comment:

  1. I was going to post on this exact same subject, so I figured I'd just attach it as a comment to Aurianne's instead.
    Luker's book is almost like a self-help book in some ways, with her advice about getting exercise to help your mind process information, and her personal anecdotes about breaking away from the crowd, etc. I find her book useful in terms of showing the purpose and benefit of using different combinations of methods than the 'canonicals' use. However, I sometimes find myself wading through her narrative to get to the fundamental point of the chapter. Luker's is not the book I go to when I want a straightforward answer.
    Knight's book is useful for that. It's very straightforward and doesn't lose it's point through excessive narration. It seems almost like a reference book.
    I do appreciate the balance between these two books. Luker helps me understand the purpose and the basis for why things are done this way and how they can be done differently for different purposes, while Knight explains the terms and the guidelines for all different types of methods.
    I realize this has turned into a quasi-book review, but my point is that I agree with Aurianne that these two books show us two sides of research methods. I find myself using them equally throughout the research process, but for very different reasons.