In her article, “What is so funny? Humor in women’s accounts of their involvement in social actions”, Rachael Gouin discusses the views and personal experiences of women. The next text critically examines the research and presentation of Gouin’s article.
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The title of Gouin’s article does not give the reader what he or she expects next. Despite, researching on the Humor she is unable to give the role of humor to the society especially to social activists who play a prominent role in the article. For example, she gives contradictory views when she says, “humor is a multifunctional complex and socially situated, which makes it difficult to pinpoint its specified use in a study such as this one” (Gouin, 2004, p. 40). Therefore, why did the author research on the subject? The statement is not only contradictory but also seems ambiguous about her research. Similarly, the article lacks objectives, which may guide the reader on what to expect from the paper.
Although she is an expert in the feminist movement, her work is too dependent on other articles. For instance, in her introduction, the content solely comes from other authors or experts in the same field. There are about twenty in-text citations in the introductory part (Gouin, 2004, p. 26); therefore, the whole document is devoid of independence a research paper should express. The lack of ideas or extensive field research drives her to depend on other articles.
Nearly, three-quarters of her introductory statements have citations, which leaves the audience to question about her expertise in social issues. However, most of the articles and authors used in her research present their views about the topic. Other authors focus on society’s perception of humor, especially in relationships. Therefore, the use of numerous references in her article broadens her views on the topic, which subsequently enlightens the society on the subject. Also, the extensive research on the subject validates her work making it relevant to both socialists and the readers.
Despite presenting her paper clearly, she only derives her conclusion from twelve women. Professionally, the women are social activists while age-wise is between 19 -54. Therefore, she leaves out a large group of people in other professions and age groups. Her study also locks out men, who may have different views on the subject. In terms of gender, there is some form of discrimination, yet the world is fighting to balance the two groups. Why does Gouin choose women in the social action? Everybody in the society can hold public forums and in one way or another cracks a joke. Thus, all people in the society have both experience and can offer various views on the subject. Unfortunately, Gouin does not give a clear reason why she focused on a given gender/profession.
In conclusion, Gouin strategically presents her paper. However, the title of her article seems ambiguous. She leaves the audience without the urge to read on especially on humor. On the other hand, her concentration on social activists means that the article will only be relevant to socialists especially women. Other people without interest in socialist activities will undoubtedly not read the article. Personally, her assumption that the whole society is focusing on women’s behavior leads her to leave out crucial persons or groups in her research work. For future works, she should consider a wider audience of her research works.
Gouin, R. (2004). What is so funny? Humor in women’s accounts of their involvement In Social actions. Qualitative research, 4(1), 25-44. Print