Our main model for collaboration is one where students learn “on the job” while working on faculty-led research projects, but we also support student-led research projects as well in addition to supervising honors thesis research in the lab. The lab’s teaching is focused on applied training in STS-aligned qualitative research methodologies (ethnographic, archival, discursive, visual). According to a NSF Workshop on the Scientific Foundations of Qualitative Research (2004), qualitative research “involves in-depth, case-oriented study of a relatively small number of cases, including the single case-study,” and “seeks detailed knowledge of specific cases, often with the goal of finding out “how” things happen (or happened)” (p. 10). “Qualitative researchers’ primary goal, they summarize, “is to “make the facts understandable,” often placing “less emphasis on deriving inferences or predictions from cross-case patterns” (10).
We teach students how to design and conduct and disseminate STS-aligned qualitative research on science, technology, medicine, and public health systems. The pedagogical practice of “skill share” offers us a routinized way to introduce each other to new methodologies, theories, and questions that frame our interdisciplinary research projects. The lab’s research work is organized thematically into cross-cutting projects that involve the collection, interpretation, and presentation of qualitative evidence. In its projects, the lab cultivates active engagements across the social and natural sciences, humanities, and creative arts and investigates problems that cut across societies, cultures, and epistemes. Through its research projects, the lab aims to serve communities and interests inside and outside of Wesleyan by facilitating collaborative scholarly and creative efforts that translate knowledge out into justice contexts.
Please visit the individual project pages on the drop-down menu to learn more about our past and ongoing projects.