Science and technology

I found aspects of the article by Pinch and Bijker quite interesting this week. Written in 1987, its ideal for doing your own mental comparison study using contemporary thoughts. The part of the article that I became particularily engrossed with was their brief and admittedly partial discussion of the science-technology relationship. I feel like it could have been a contemporary piece. Nowadays, Science and Technology are still grouped together and people are still trying to define the distinction between the two, even though they are inextricably intermixed. Perhaps this is because technology has evolved at such an exponential rate. Pinch and Bijker dismiss some prominent philosopher thoughts that "science is about the discovery of truth whereas technology is about the application of truth" as overidealized and simplified. When I googled "what is the difference between science and technology" an answer that popped up alot was, "Science is knowing and technology is doing". One of the same prevailing thoughts as 23 years ago!
Pinch and Bijker take a social constructivist view of science and technology. "Scientists and technologists can be regarded as constructing their respective bodies of knowledge and techniques with each drawing on the resources of the other". All this time, well the last two months, I've been under the impression that the meshing of disciplines and blurring of classification lines was a new phenomenon. Obviously, it started long ago. The category of science and the category of technology are socially constructed, only now we have started to take down the barriers that we ourselves erected, or have we actually? Two decades later we are still wrestling with the same issues.

Peer Review Assignment

I have chosen the article for peer review is “Getting political on social network sites: exploring online political discourse on face book”. This article is about the social network site like Facebook for online political discussion. This article shows the impact of facebook in political discourse and this site give people a tool to interact online and extend their social lives beyond working hours. Of the many narratives exploring use and outcomes of social network websites, perhaps the most common explores the public sharing of personal identity information. Over the past four years, social network websites (SNS) have achieved strong market penetration with a wide range of participants. Sites such as are indicative of the phenomenal growth social network sites have seen in the past few years. The site was launched in 2004 and as of April, 2008 surpassed 70 million active. With the rapid popularization of social network sites, the potential for individuals to engage in online discussion about social and political issues has grown exponentially in a few short years. Due to the explosive growth of social network sites, scholars have little understanding of the nature of online political discourse as it is occurring in these new social spaces. This study explores how Facebook is serving as an arena for political debate among members. This research has shown that online political discussion does serve to expose participants to non likeminded partners. Yet, despite the potential of the Internet to bring opposing camps together in a common space and provide exposure to different ideas, some evidence suggests that this may not necessarily be occurring. I found this is very interesting subject in research.

Article hardships

I have to admit, I found this week's readings a little confusing and verbose. My brief summaries/interpretations of the first two readings are as follows:
Beauliu et al.: A research approach allows for debate and discussion, whereas work in a laboratory tends to constrict workers to their own tasks. A research approach can also be useful in examining elements of space, time and relationships. In studying the relationship between local and universal, it is helpful to draw comparisons across cases and disciplines.
Yin: Case studies do not necessarily entail a certain kind of evidence (such as “qualitative”) or a particular data collection method (such as ethnography or participant observation). The fundamental thing about case studies is that they attempt to examine a contemporary phenomenon in a real-life context. A number of techniques are effective in a case studies approach, such as focusing on a topic, noting meaningful events, and creating explanations for outcomes. Case studies yield more than single data points or single observations, so cross-case analysis should facilitate reflexivity.
Did I completely miss the point of the articles? It would be great if anyone could shed light on what the authors were trying to say!

INF1300 Interview

I don't really plan to include the study of artifacts or literature review in my research design (although that could change), so I'm going to instead talk about my experience conducting an interview for the INF1300 that many of us are taking:
It didn't go quite as expected. Although I told my subject (who happens to be the most extroverted person in the world) that it was a one-on-one interview, she was visiting with two friends when I arrived. Since it was obvious that asking them to leave would have made the situation uncomfortable, I ended up letting them stay. Thankfully, the friends did not (for the large part) answer for the interviewee, give her suggestions, or pose questions of their own to her. The interview also ended up going much longer than anticipated and I ended up with more material than I could possibly have used. I omitted tangential responses in my report and I was sure to address all of these issues in the report.
Comparing Meenaxi's experience to mine, it seems that the flow of an interview largely depends on the nature and background of the interviewee. The INF1300 interview was about impressions of the library, and I think I had a relatively easy time getting responses because my interviewee was a student. Did anyone else have any interesting experiences/difficulties with the interview?

An Introduction of Critical Discourse Analysis

While going through this week readings, I found Critical Discourse Analysis very different topic in research, I personally don’t know what exactly it is? So I went through the definition of CDA and found that it is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of discourse that views language as a form of social practice and focuses on the ways social and political domination are reproduced by text and talk.
In my opinion the term ‘critical’ has become ‘little more than a rallying cry demanding that researchers consider ‘whose side they are on?’’. From personal experience I have found that it also seems
to cause the hackles of other discourse analysts to rise because of the implication that they are ‘non-critical’ or even ‘sub-critical’ and therefore somehow in favour of things like oppression, exploitation and inequality: by commandeering the moral high ground of being critical, CDA thus ‘others’ mainstream discourse analysis and performs the very kind of domination through language that it seeks to oppose.
Discourse analysis challenges us to move from seeing language as abstract to seeing our words as having meaning in a particular historical, social, and political condition. Even more significant, our words (written or oral) are used to convey a broad sense of meanings and the meaning we convey with those words is identified by our immediate social, political, and historical conditions. This is a powerful insight for home economists and family and consumer scientists. We should never again speak, or read/hear others’ words, without being conscious of the underlying meaning of the words. Our words are politicized, even if we are not aware of it, because they carry the power that reflects the interests of those who speak. The words of those in power are taken as "self-evident truths" and the words of those not in power are dismissed as irrelevant, inappropriate, or without substance as van Dijk mentioned in his article.