Paul Kei Matsuda

GSID Summer Intensive Seminar

Last week, I taught a three-day summer intensive seminar for students in the Graduate School of International Development at Nagoya University. At the request of my host, Professor Toru Kinosita, The seminar focused on qualitative research on second language with a postmodern twist.

Planning for this seminar was an interesting experience because I didn't know much about the students until a few days before the seminar started. The only thing I knew for sure was that few of them had any prior experience or exposure to qualitative research or second language writing, much less postmodernism. I hope I succeded in showing them that the assumptions of quantitative and qualitative studies are not necessarily mutually exclusive and that both of them are but ways of establishing strong support for a larger claim--which is in the realm of informal reasoning or, to use Perelman's term, the realm of rhetoric.

The seminar was useful to me because it helped me renew my understanding that graduate programs need to provide their students with more than just the knowledge of either qualitative or quantitative methods--or even both. In order to successfuly present their research findings and to turn them into viable knowledge in the field, researchers need a broad-based knowledge of various methodological approaches as well as various philosophical assumptions underlying what it is that we do as researchers.

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Last update: January 6, 2008