GMU Workshop on Qualitative Methods

Bright and early at 5:30 a.m. StoryQuest members Samantha Gross ('14), Michael Derege('14), and Erin Cooper ('14) boarded a Washington College shuttle driven by program director Nona Martin to attend one the days of a workshop on qualitative methods conducted by the college's new Provost and Dean of the College, Emily Chamlee-Wright at George Mason University. Along the way they picked up other program director, Michael Buckley, and headed towards the James Buchanan House to sit in on a day of lectures about interview techniques. They joined a few other George Mason economic graduate students at the Fairfax, VA location.

Chamlee-Wright and Martin briefly discussed their personal experience with interviewing and oral history as they explained their most recent project of studying post-Katrina New Orleans, entitled, "How We Came Back." This project took them, with other investigators, to New Orleans, LA to interview hundreds of Katrina victims. They discussed the valuable lessons they learned (no interviews after dark), funny-now-not-so-much-then accounts (like interviewing without air conditioning in the middle of a humid summer), and more as they segued the discussion into the different topics for the day's workshop.

Questors learned bout the types of questions that should be asked, why oral history and the qualitative method, rather than a quantitative one, is so important, and more during this day long workshop.

As a special treat, they were able to sample some of Fairfax's Indian food for lunch and were able to talk with the GMU Graduate students about their fields of study or academic past.

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