From what I understand of Spinuzzi’s definition of Topsight, I believe it is the process of viewing an organization as a whole and refining your research questions to identify systematic issues that may be small in the beginning, but because organizations are so interdependent can actually become a large problem or a weight on the company’s success. Spinuzzi shows breaks down this process by giving his readers a step by step guide on how to gain this kind of topsight. His broad list on page five gives these five steps, “Designing, conduction, navigating, analyzing, and writing.”
In Chapter two of Spinuzzi’s Toplight, Spinuzzi explains his recommendation for developing good research questions. He starts by broadening the basic idea of a research question from, “a one-sentence expression of the issue you want to study.” (pg 20) to a more broad concept, which is the option to begin your research from a “research concern.” This, I believe, opens the doors to discovering the systematic issue while conducting your research rather than feeling you have to know the issue you’re addressing from the very beginning. The other important thing to remember while developing good research questions is to remember to consider, “What you want to know… What the client wants to know… (and) What your organizations needs.” (pg. 21) This helps to direct your research questions towards finding the systematic issues of an organization.
Ethics are extremely important throughout the research process as there are many opportunities in which a participant’s privacy can be violated. Spinuzzi warns his readers to be extremely careful and cautious with the company, and individual’s information as not doing so could have drastic consequences.
The rhetorical concerns you need to think through as you approach research subjects and pitch your research projects, are who needs the information you are seeking, who does this information affect, and what kind of arguments do you need to use for each of these groups of people in order to pursue the wanted information. As a researcher you need to be able to make a strong rhetorical argument for why you should be allowed to perform your research and why your research is important. This is especially true when pitching your research ideas, because obviously if you cannot successfully pitch your research you cannot move forward.
My questions are:
What did you think of the “3 Levels of Activity” Spinuzzi talks about on page 26? Do you feel that this is a complete list of audiences, or should customer/user experience be involved in this section of the research?
Has anyone had any hands on experience with research? In your experience did you have to pitch your research to anyone, and did you find Spinuzzi’s list of things to always bring on page 70 to be accurate/helpful?
Did anyone find the ethics section to be missing some important points?