The Comm and Gender Spot

Thursday, September 01, 2005

You're Studying What?

If anyone has taken a small sized class you know that the first day of class often begins with introductions by everyone in the room. As a graduate student you go through it so many times that you have a spiel worked out ahead of time that you just regurgitate for every class you go to. Here is mine:

“My name is James. I’m a second year PhD student in the Department of Telecommunications with minors in both Cognitive Science and Gender Studies. My research interests are the gender differences in cognitive and emotional responses to mediated messages, particularly to televised sports.”

This year, however, I had a response in two classes that I don’t usually have. Right after I mention my minors I had someone pipe in and ask why.

This is something that I have to wrestle with all of the time. My area of research, in conjunction with my minor in Cognitive Science, is a very quantitative approach while the Department of Gender Studies is a very qualitative one. It really is a difficult road to follow when your areas of interest appear to be very theoretically and methodologically incompatible. A question I often get is how I am able to straddle such opposing areas.

I guess my ultimate goal is to bridge the quantitative world of one class to the qualitative world of the other and build out my own niche between the two from which my research will flourish. Will I succeed? I guess only time will tell.


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