I am the graduate research assistant to Dr. Hasebe-Ludt, a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge. While she is my supervisor, we have never had a formal discussion about research. I have worked with a sociocultural/cognitive psychology researcher and a cognitive neuropsychologist researcher, so I had some prior knowledge of quantitative research. The turn-around rate of their research was incredibly short (a few months to just under a year, depending on funding and ethics approval) and was rigid and controlled as a result of the quantitative nature of it. I was excited to interview Dr. Hasebe-Ludt in hopes of gaining more insight into the world of research.
Dr. Hasebe-Ludt is a qualitative researcher, doing what is called “interpretative inquiry”. I asked the nature of her research. She answered that her work is “phenomenological” and “hermeneutic” in nature. The specific area she studies is called life writing: the documentation of selves, memories, and experiences, whether one's own or another's. This means that multiple mediums are within this area: autobiography, biography, memoirs, diaries, letters, testimonies, personal essays, etc. Specifically, Dr. Hasebe-Ludt studies the life writing within teachers (including her own life writing) for teacher education. Because of the flexible nature of the research, increasingly creative and technologically advanced life writing modes are becoming more prevalent (i.e. photo essays, picture books, graphic novels, and films). While most of her previous work has been rooted in European traditions, Dr. Hasebe-Ludt has tries to expand her knowledge to more than Western philosophies. Specially, some philosophical traditional Eastern philosophies (Zen, Shinto, Buddhist) to help her understand other culture’s life writing from a natural and spiritual phenomena.
An additional area of interest for Dr. Hasebe-Ludt in those areas is cultural, linguistic phenomena (how language influences us in education and how culture and race). Tied in with her interest in life writing- how her life and the lives of teachers are influenced by phenomena of culture, linguistics, place, and language. These are central components in life writing and served the basis of the chapters in the book she was a co-editor for.
I had never talked to a qualitative researcher about their research. I was surprised by Dr. Hasebe-Ludt’s ability to go after the specific area she was passionate about. Because she had a desire to learn more about Eastern philosophies, she was able to. She was also able to include her own life writing in her research because of the nature of it. She was clearly excited about her research and had a drive to learn more. It seemed like her research was a good fit for her as a person.
I asked Dr. Hasebe-Ludt about how she goes about her research agenda. She said works with a research network (a “collective,” she said) with other researchers interested in life writing and others interested...