Reading Response 1: Haltman

The Link to Haltman Introduction Annotations: Haltman Annotations 

For Unit One I read two pieces of work. The first work I read was by Kenneth Haltman. Haltman illustrated a road map of how to conduct research in an explicit way. Haltman illustrated the use of the Prownian Analysis to give insight on the proper way to conduct quality research. Haltman and his highlight of the Prownian Analysis introduce theory to the reader. Haltman also defined and explained the term material culture as beginning “with a world of objects but takes place in a world of words (6). My second reading was a piece by Jon Maguire. In Maguire’s article “The Secret to Good Writing: It’s About Objects Not Idea’s”, Maguire argues that a younger generation has lost the ability to writing in an analytical way and that too often when students write they forget the simplicity of using evidence to back an argument which aids in illustrating a point.

I was able to find striking similarities in both readings. Both Haltman and Maguire brought up points that I had never centered my focus on. Haltman and his explanation of the Prownian analysis generated an internal roadmap in my eyes on how I am going to go about conducting my research. Maguire made the point that objects cultivate ideas. I found both readings to be extremely meaningful to my AIDS Quilt research. Both readings tie directly into what is needed in order to create a thick description. Creating a thick description goes beyond merely looking at an object at face value. A thick description urges the investigator to ask questions, to think critically, and to make connections. Haltman and Maguire’s ideas center around the idea of thinking critically which seamlessly ties into our project. Both readings also reaffirm the idea of using explicit details to create ideas. When I generate questions about the quilt the world of ideas will be endless.

I was most drawn to Maguire and how he reaffirmed the simplicity of writing. Too often I find myself rambling while writing papers, or writing three pages just to look at the prompt and realize that I had been nothing but off topic. Maguire gives readers the most thoughtful and simple advice possible for when writing which is to “Write physically. Write with physical objects. Put physical objects in your essay (1).” The simplicity of Maguire’s argument alludes us all in a sense. Too often we forgot the classic idea of providing evidence with the intent of making an assertion. Maguire asks the reader to use objects to prompt creativity.

The process of annotating each text was helpful as it gave me an opportunity to become intimate with the text and helped me form my own opinions going forward. While I have reflected on both readings I have found that the quilt is much more than just a quilt. In order to conduct excellent research, I must take the quilt and use the Prownian Analysis, create a thick description, and ensure that my ideas derive from the quilt itself. I find that I forget how easy it can be to take on research. I find that a step by step layout is what is needed to ensure research is not only done carefully but conducted in a thoughtful manner as well. Haltman aids in explaining the roadmap of research and Maguire gives us tips for putting that Haltman roadmap to use. In short, it is my job to tell a story, describe the life of someone who was a victim of HIV/AIDS and honors the person’s legacy. While the quilt is already doing all of the above, I hope that with my new knowledge of research that I will be able to exceed in my research endeavors.


Haltman, John. “Essay in Material Culture.” Michigan State University Press East Lansing, 1997, p. 6.

Maguire, John. “The Secret to Good Writing: It’s About Objects, Not Ideas.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 2 Oct. 2012,