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* Another example

Posted By: Jim Vander Putten on September 8, 2006
Hi everyone,

The September 15, 2006 Chronicle of Higher Education article titled "Scorching the Grass Roots?" by David Glenn discusses Dana R. Fisher's new book 'Activism, Inc.' based on an ethnographic study of college-age canvassers. The article quotes Ed Johnson of the Fund for Public Interest Research, who "thinks statistically about qualitative research":

"Young people are being chewed up and spit out," she [Fisher] writes in Activism, Inc., "by this standardized model of activism that treats idealistic young people as interchangeable cogs in the machine of grass-roots politics in America."...

But Ms. Fisher does not offer enough evidence to allow the reader to evaluate that claim, according to Ed Johnson, the Fund's national canvass director.

"She uses this pool of 115 canvassers," he says. "But if you really wanted to assess the effect of the canvass, you'd need to have a control group of young people who became engaged with progressive politics through some different avenue."

Mr. Johnson's critique requiring a control group is inappropriate, and is at cross-purposes with the intent of the qualitative research Ms. Fisher completed.

Jim Vander Putten
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 Another example by Jim Vander Putten on September 8, 2006  * 
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