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Regional Campus Outstanding Professor Awards Announced



Dr. David M. Lucas, better known to most of us as Dave, championed the cause for the qualitative research method known as folknography. Lucas says, “We defined the method out of a need for a field research practice that allowed flexibility, pragmatism, creativity, but also preserved academic excellence and rigor. In retrospect, we first tried ethnography. This method seemed too broad, too difficult to explain or teach, and too loose. Then, we moved to rapid rural appraisal. This limited our practice because, though a RRA remains a great option for agricultural or land use projects, we need something to use in social and cultural applications such as marginalized neighborhoods or communities. So, in the end, we borrowed, homogenized, blended, and mixed different research components, plus added a few ingredients of our own, and outlined the method now known as folknography."

On folknography, Dr. Lucas comments, “This is an applicable and flexible method for use in the cultural, social, or communication disciplines. We’ve used this method successfully in several international applications. In the Dominican Republic, we queried health issues; in México, we have investigated development and economic issues affecting small communities. We have done field research with the Gullah/Geechee in South Carolina, equine industry in Great Britain, and perceptions of math in Appalachia and we studied Hong Kong through the use of metaphors. We have applied this method in over 20 projects internationally and nationally. Folknography has many and flexible possibilities. Yet, the method produces dependable and accurate results.”

Dr. Lucas writes poetry, speaks publicly, travels extensively, and works constantly. He often puts in 16 hour days. “I have an incessant curiosity. I have a need to know and understand. In the end, this must be what drives me. I always ask ‘why?’” Aside from these many activities, Dr. Lucas is heavily involved with Native American cultures and Appalachian log cabin architecture. Dr. Lucas stands ready to explain the research method folknography.