Evaluating the Method

Keeping it in “the family”: How Gender Norms Shape U.S. Marriage Migration Politics

What are the researchers trying to accomplish?  Where do they get their data? What are their findings? What are they arguing?

Overall, Dr.Longo investigated the gendered dynamics of Americans bringing their forgein spouse to the States.  Dr.Longo used the constructivist grounded theory by immersion into a cyber subculture for two years. From this point she learned the social dynamics, common themes and terms of ‘lay experts’ on U.S. immigration self-help websites.  It is argued that there are underlying biases reinforcing certain behavior in men, while demonizing similar behavior in women (notably age-gap). It is also noted that people conduct self border policing after looking at these message boards. So gendered expectations inform how women and men look for foregin spouse’s citizenship. 

How are they using content analysis?  What are they coding for? What is their methodological approach to coding? (inductive? Deductive?)

Content analysis is done in this study using Python to sort a specific phrase “Red Flag” in over 48,000 conversation threads.  This study was coding for the use of the word “Red flag” across posts on a top internet message board about immigration. Specifically this message board served Americans looking for counseling on bringing a foregin spouse or prospective spouse to America.   This study is deductive, because it is informed by theory around immigration and race-relations in America. The data is divided up by regions then looks at the total number of threads, number of ‘red flag’ appearing in threads, their proportions and then the percentage of women posters and men posters.  BRU (Belarus/Russia/Ukraine) women were posted about (in conjunction with ‘red flags’) by men. MENA (Middle East/ North African) men were proportionally talkd about (in conjunction with ‘red flags’) by women. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the methods that they are using?  What do they capture well? What do you think they are missing out on? If you were to conduct this study, would you do anything differently?  What and why or why not?

I have to start off by saying that I LOVE the username pseudonyms.  I spent time a few years ago infiltrating the Return of Kings message boards and found the username’s PokerDude82 and SemperFiDoOrDie somehow spot-on (and hilarious).  This study captures quite elegantly the double standards held by American culture regarding the agency of women and men.  Whether an American man finds himself a foregin bride or an American lady finds a foreign groom, the lady in both scenarios are set against a different standard than their male counterparts.  This isn’t a critique so much as a possible future avenue– while reading this I couldn’t help but think about the TLC show 90 Day Fiance.  Thinking back on certain couples featured on the show I had to contend with how the show frames the participants as well as my own biases (namely that old men are marrying women that are around the same age as his own grown children….). 


Speaking ‘unspeakable things’: documenting digital feminist responses to rape culture

What are the researchers trying to accomplish?  Where do they get their data? What are their findings? What are they arguing?

Keller, Mendes, and Ringrose implement several theory-based methodologies in order to study the what, how, and why women use social media to contend with misogny, sexual violence, and feminist activism.  The study weaves together three case studies (Hollaback!, #BeenRapedNeverReported, and teen Twitter feminist activists).  They got their data from various websites, including Hollaback! And Twitter. They argue that this data can be analyzed through theorizations of affect. 

How are they using content analysis?  What are they coding for? What is their methodological approach to coding? (inductive? Deductive?)

In the study, content analysis is used as a jumping-off point for treating ethnographic study. They were taking a deductive approach. The study starts off with a set of very specific questions then uses a variety of methodologies in order to answer those questions.  This is related to the grounded constructivist theory as it looks at the ‘what, how, and why’ aspects of women operating in digital spaces and contending with misogyny. 

  1. Hollaback!: This study conducted a random sampling of 159 posts taken from the Hollaback! website between 2006 and 2015. These posts were coded with three types of harassment and the affective impact the harassment had on those studied.  It addresses what women experience sexual harassment in public spaces.
  2. #BeenRapedNeverReported: This portion of the study includes personal interviews with seven women who used the twitter hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported in late 2014. It also examines the affective nature of this issue through a discursive textual analysis. It addresses how women use social media to document personal experiences with sexual assault and how Twitter shifted personal expression regarding the issue.
  3. Teen Twitter Feminism:  This portion of the study traced how teen girls used Twitter to critique gender bias and expressions of rape culture they experienced at school, through personal interviews.  It addresses why women use social media as a tool to combat sexism and misogyny. 

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the methods that they are using?  What do they capture well? What do you think they are missing out on? If you were to conduct this study, would you do anything differently?  What and why or why not?

While the three major case studies featured in this text fall under the header of feminism and are obviously related, I think that there wasn’t enough attention paid to any one case study.  Each of these case studies could have been their own text, which delved more deeply into methodologies.  Looking at what, how, and why of how feminism operates in mass media, but looking at one of the case studies and using various research methods would by more prudent.  Overall, I appreciate how the three case studies are woven together.

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3 Comments

  1. Good summary of the research articles, below are my comments regarding your post-
    Summary I: “Keeping It In “The Family”
    I agree that one of the valuable forms of data that can be taken from this research is the support for the existing double standards that exist between males and females who seek foreign partners- and I like how you mentioned it works that way on both sides of the coin for females. What would be one of what you would consider a strength of this study?
    Summary II:
    I like the approach the researchers used, focusing on more than one source of data so I find that to be an advantage but I agree with your statement that if more than one is chosen it is important to make sure each provides enough depth to contribute to the research question. I do see that you commented that it may have been better to utilize a single data source and provide a more detailed approach to the single source- so would you then run content analysis on a single data source-which data source do your think would provide the best approach for this study?

  2. Your point out how the forum usernames stand out has me wondering to what degree does the anonymity of the forums affect advice seek posts compared to the use of social media. Not everyone is “themselves” on social media but that can be more trackable then a simple forum account.

    • I was referring to the username pseudonyms created for the study.
      Pseudonyms of pseudonyms in order to make accounts anonymous for the study .

      There has to be a study out there correlating anonymity online and vile behavior.

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