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SSH 205 (13)
Chapter 3

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Social Sciences and Humanities
SSH 205
Scott Clark

SSH 205: Chapter 3 Interpreting Your Data A. Prompts: “Interesting” and “Strange” • Prompts shift attention from pro/con argument to thinking aimed at understanding, at theorizing about the nature of things • Interest is related to confidence • “Strange” invites us to defamiliarize, rather than to normalize, things within our range of notice B. Pushing Observations to Conclusions:Asking “So What?” • Asking “So what?” is a calling to account, which is why its potentially rude • It’s a challenge to make meaning through a creative leap • Analysis implies a search for meaning • Readers willingness to accept an analytical conclusion is powerfully connected to his or her ability to see its plausibility –how it follows from both the supporting details that the writer has selected & language used in characterizing those details C. The Making of Meaning • Limits on Interpretation o Meanings are made, they are not preexistent in the subject matter o Meanings are the product of a transaction between the mind and the world, between a reader and a text(s) o Meanings must be reasoned from sufficient evidence to be judged plausible o Meanings can be refused if people find conflicting evidence • Multiple Meanings and Interpretive Contexts o Interpretation has to follow the rules of evidence o Meanings are multiple, evidence usually will support more than on plausible interpretation o Two equally plausible interpretations can be made of the same thing • WhatAbout the Writers Intentions? o The work means what its author says it mean, and even without his or her explicit interpretation, we are expected to guess at it o Authorial intention is simply another context for understanding o Its cultural norms asserting conclusions, not authorial intent o Intention does not finally control the implications that an event, a text, or anything else possesses • “Hidden” Meanings: What “Reading Between the Lines” Really Means o When uttered as an accusation, it implies the accused is not actually reading the words on the page but white space between the sentences (imagination) o Human beings seem incline to think by association and by analogy (liken
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