So, I love qualitative research. Sometimes I am none too thrilled about the process, but I love qual research. I have spent the better part of the last couple of days doing two things. The first is setting up interviews for my current research project. The second is working on my dissertation. The one I have spent the most time on is the current research project. It has been a fun endeavor getting to know people, learn about their expertise, and developing professional relationships. This is so right up my alley.
So, why did I write this? I feel as if I need to record the good feelings as well as the not so good ones. I feel very productive today and that is saying a lot considering how overwhelmed I have felt for the past few months. Yay for little bursts of momentum.
I should have posted this a long time ago and I neglected to do so. I recently conducted my first real, IRB approved qualitative interview. I am sure that I will get better as time progresses and I get more comfortable with the process. The participant was fantastic and it is great to have a team of people who are excited to learn and dedicated to the project. Now, we only need a minimum of 7 more interviews for a full study and we have at least 2 more lined up. I am excited to say the least, and well, I still need to get the first transcription done. That being said, the first step is taken. I think the biggest thing I am learning about this process is that it is all about relationship building. Who would have thought.
So, I have been one busy person since the holidays have kicked in. First, it is so easy to be overwhelmed with school and the amount of work that needs to get done for classes. However, the work does not stop when one gets home and then has to do home stuff. I have been taking care of my 4-year-old for for the past couple of weeks and so to say that my little one is a blast is an understatement. She is also a whole lot of work. What ever happened to nap time? Really, she used to take naps and now she doesn’t. To put this into perspective, we are talking about 2-3 hours a day that I could get things done in quite. That is 10-15 hours a week dedicated to work. Not this time around. I have had to reframe my schedule so many times that I am finally getting used to it. And now, she is going back to school. Whew, I survived and I am raring and ready to get this semester started.
So I am trying hard to wrap-up my readings for the rest of the semester. For me, this involves reading about phenomenology. Lots and lots of phenomenology. Right now I am reading van Manen’s Phenomenology of Practice. I have definition after definition and annotated bibliography writings to do and then I am done with my directed readings for the semester. After a chapter and a half and I needed a break. So, here I am catching up on my research journal. Or, more aptly put, adding another entry. I just need to finish plowing through and then I am done. Wow, that sounds good, time to get back to reading.
Ok, I had forgotten just how painful transcription really was. Oh my goodness. I had been using Express Scribe but you have to buy the pro version of it to be able to plop really large files into it for transcription. So, I thought use audacity to rip the file to an MP3, but no that came out as a staticky mess that I really can’t stand listening to. So I am back to old faithful, my word document, command + tab, the arrow keys, and the space bar using quicktime. It seems to be working for now. I have done about a minute and I really don’t want to talk about how long it took to get just that much typed up. The good news is that I only have to do 15 minutes. So, I haven’t checked in for a while and I needed to get something put in my research journal. I also have done a participant observation since my last post, but more on that later.
Ok, here is one my vices. I have been a Naruto fan for almost a decade. I just read the series finale and was trying to figure out who Naruto had kids with. I have been pulling for Naruto and Hinata to get together for as long as I can remember and according to the pick above, I think I may have gotten my wish. I know that this may be silly for some of you and yet, reading Naruto each week has been one of my favorite self-care routines. Cha Dattebayo!!!!!!!!!!!
I had another qual research class last night. To be honest, I was dreading going and yet I have to because I am too nerdy to not miss a class unless it is an emergency. However, the class turned out to be informative and useful. We talked about ethnography and how to conduct ethnographic studies. One of the things I really like about the class is that the professor gives us assignments that force us to think about how specific methodologies would be useful if we wanted to conduct a study. That being said, it seems like all of my mock-studies always come back to trying to learn about how to help survivors of human trafficking. I find myself really enjoying qualitative research so far and I even have a project running right now. I wonder if I will feel this way when it comes time to conduct interviews and begin analyzing the transcripts?
There are days when life just seems to slap me upside the head. With all that is going on (family, school, work), it is sometimes difficult to breath. Sometimes, I feel like that plate spinner that I used to watch on network television when I was a kid (gee, did I just date my self? guess so). It is interesting to say the least. I have so many things that I want to do and yet I have to focus my time and attention on the things that need to get done. Up to this point, I don’t really know how I have pulled it off.
I know that none of you ever have to compartmentalize what is going on in your life, but it seems like a daily chore for me. I used to be a hyper-political person and I used to care deeply about who won what election. And recently, I would have to say that my interest had wained. Or, so I thought. I can’t believe that I actually stayed up late last night watching election returns again. It is amazing how addicting to politics used to be for me. I found myself hoping for one result over another and in the process it was almost as if that became the most important thing in my life. I even found myself falling back into my old ways of gathering news and all it took was one little evening of indulgence.
You see, years ago a changed started happening in my heart related to politics. I began to understand that it was not a world that I could participate in. Because, when one is talking about national level politics, it is almost impossible to find a candidate that does not believe in using force to accomplish the nations goals.
Force comes in may forms. Yes, we all know the military. However, I have to remind myself all the time that rhetorical violence is just as (if not more) dangerous. And, every election cycle, negative campaign ads crop up and inundate the media outlets if a candidate senses things are not going in her or his favor. So I had to reset, because yesterday was one of those days for me and this is my confession.
How does a researcher learn how to conduct good research without a lot of trial an error? I think the answer is that without failure it doesn’t happen. Such was the case with non-participant field observation. What successful nice was that I manage to get a lot of notes. What was a failure was my expansion write up. Ungh. I barely had time to transcribe all of the information before I had to turn it in. I tell you, sometimes grad school can feel like a bit of a pressure cooker. Well, my notes have been workshopped and now I am waiting for the results. The good news is that I have to do a participant observation next and I feel so much more prepared for it. I just hope it didn’t cost me my grade for how badly the first part went.
Well this week, I finished all of the readings I could get my hands on for grounded theory. Now, I am going to take a temporary shift to look at narrative inquiry and then move into phenomenology. It seems like I am starting to get my brain wrapped around this stuff and still it feels a little like I am on a taffy machine.