During Morning Pages time today, Stacey posed a series of prompts to us to help us think about our research in metaphorical terms. Here's what I wrote:
If our book club research were a color, it would be the muddy grey that Easter Egg water becomes when you dip all the eggs in all the water. I was watching family videos recently, and that’s how toddlers dye Easter Eggs—one egg, all colors because those bowls of tinted water are just too irresistible for one. Even the most patient parents eventually give up and let ‘em go at it because no degree of explanation works in advance. Kids just have to be okay with the mottled outcome or wind up being comforted, learning their lesson, and going the more conventional route—one dye vat per Easter egg. Eventually, they might get clever and figure out how to suspend the egg in one vat until that color sets and then move it to another for a nifty two-tone effect. Or they might learn how to create secondary colors by taking it a vat at a time—red + blue = purple. Or if the multi-color temptation persists, they learn to use crayolas and let the dye take the backseat as a background color.
I wonder if teacher research methods are similar? My approach is generally to deliberately collect certain kinds of data and then keep everything else for context “just in case.” This can be overwhelming, but it also allows me to be selective later.
I’ve also used layered forms of data analysis if I get a richer picture that way. If different filters give me different views, then I’ll do it, methodological purists be damned. Generally, though, I take a first pass through and then at least another, much like a two-step Easter egg process.
The same has been true for the book club research because each BC sequence has resulted in new questions and adjustments that we need to pursue for another round. I hope the vats of dye are infinite because I know this Easter egg will never be finished.