Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Comm 200: Thoughts on Reading and Method

This week's reading is small, but it fits into the theme of research with "real world" implications. I would like you to have looked closely at it by the time class begins tomorrow. "The Stovepipe" by Seymour Hersh is an investigative article about how information is acquired. Only a few weeks ago the Bush administration announced that they were giving up their investigation into WMDs in Iraq. This announcement occurred conveninently two months after the general election, thus deflecting criticism about claims made by the administration that they knew Iraq had WMDs and, in some cases, knew where they were. Given that this was the primary case used to convince the American public and the Congress to go to war with Iraq, this has huge implications on the public trust as well as world opinion of America in general. So Hersh's asks how did we get such inferior information? That is a method question and it is the basis of questions that deal with how information is acquired, as well as the reliability of the informants. In this case, this has to do with the "vetting process".

Also, we will have a lecture on method, something that is vital to the research process, but is most often forgotten by general readers. Unfortunately, without attention to method you actually will have very few ideas as to how you got the information you got and, therefore, won't be able to correct yourself in the future.

PS - I will say more about blogging later as I am getting many questions on it. No problem! Keep em coming. Also, remember, I have office hours. They are there for you to use.

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