[Air-L] Washington Post article

Tsan-Kuo Chang chang003 at umn.edu
Wed Dec 19 12:54:10 PST 2007

The Washington Post article should be read with the following in mind:

First, the sample of the Post article was simply neither adequate nor 
representative.  It was based on a convenience sample and as such not much 
could be made to generalize to the whole field under discussion.  This 
practice is obvisously similar to that of many researchers who choose to 
look at a few cases and then make a large claim that is often not warranted. 
The knowledge claim has nothing to do with qualitative or quantitative 
research.  It is a matter of the validity of that claim.

Second, interpretation of the Post's observation of the field through 
selective interviews and readings of the publications involved is bound to 
be problematic and unconvincing precisely because that observation was 
partial and framed from a journalistic point of view.   The outer frame 
often determines how much one may see.

Third, the Post article did raise a challenging question to all researchers 
who claim to be doing some sort of ground-breaking work: So what? If neither 
new knowledge nor penetrating insight is produced, what is the point?

Tsan-Kuo Chang
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 

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