Research Interest Clarification, 2009

phenomenologyI recently had to re- introduce myself to a colleague regarding where my current research interests are, and I thought it may be interesting to share with a wider audience, as I do get asked to explain what I am interested in (since I cannot oversimplify this, however hard I try).

One of the things I learned about myself in the module at Lancaster I just finished is just how much I love qualitative methods. Not just qualitative studies in my own content areas, but the rich methodological particulars in themselves. Yes, I couldn’t believe it when I first said that a few weeks ago – I knew I was interested in application to practice, but now find myself loving the complexities and issues around selecting, using, and assessing various qualitative methods. I can see myself really exploring this more in itself . . .

Since my background is adult education, I tend to think of myself as an adult educator. I like critical theory and constructivist frameworks, and am fond of Wenger’s Community of Practice model, as well as Jack Mezirow’s Transformative Learning framework. I am a proponent of postmodernity, and as such am interested in identity development, especially in online blogs and other forms of social media where narrative inquiry and autoethnography can be used.

Now, to see how all this can develop toward a thesis direction . . .

Interviews Scheduled!

I am quite happy that I have confirmed and scheduled interviews with at least two participants concerning my Autoethnographer Communities of Practice research project. There are 3 other people I am still working with for this research, and I am thrilled with the offers to assist with this project. Nice to know I am not the only person in some way related to academic work who is available in August!

I am planning to conduct the interviews later this week, and will also discuss the hardware I purchased to record the interview calls so I can transcribe them later. With all the testing and use I have done with this over the past week, I am very hopeful.

Potential Participants and Informed Consent

I am speaking with 5 potential participants for my research project right now, navigating the process of scheduling days and times. This should not be such a big issue, but I have 5 weeks to complete and submit this research. Thus, interviews need to occur this week since I need time to transcribe and analyze my data (not to mention analyze the written accounts as well, as I am engaging in narrative inquiry).

I have my informed consent form, though am tweaking it to include the questions I will ask. I have a few back-up and unrelated questions already, though will use them only if there is time and the other process is faster than expected (they may serve as feelers for possible future research). Hoped to have the consent sent by yesterday, though too many errands around the house (since it rained this week and is pouring out now, with yesterday being the ready-or-not day for outdoor work).

Surprised how much I am enjoying doing this research.

Participant Requests and Next Steps

I sent emails to two qualitative email discussion lists that I have found helpful before, namely the Autoethnography Yahoo Group and the Qualitative Research for the Human Sciences (QUALRS-L) listserv, to request autoethnographer participants for my research. Thankfully, several people stepped forward to offer to help. I wonder if this is something particular to autoethnographers or to qualitative researchers in general? Perhaps that may be its own study later.

Next steps include reaching out to them to tell them a little more, discussing scheduling, sending the informed consent, and then proceeding. With my paper draft due by September 7, there is no time to delay!

Autoethnography Researcher ~ Interview Request

I am working on a short research project for my PhD course of study at Lancaster University (UK), and am looking for 2 people who have engaged in autoethnographic research to be interviewed (for approximately 30 minutes via phone or Skype) to discuss their experiences or lack of experiences of being a member of or being supported by some community (broadly defined) while they engaged in their research.

The purpose of this research is to try to understand, in some way, if Wenger’s Community of Practice framework makes a difference within the research or experiential lives of those who conduct autoethnographic research, especially given that many in the larger research community still see this as a contested strategy of inquiry.

The only qualification for participation in this research is that you should have completed and published at least one autoethnographic work, with publishing used in a broad sense to mean publicly presented it to others, such as at a conference, in a journal, online, or even submitted for a degree program.

Please let me know if you know of anybody willing to participate or learn more, and I can provide further information.  There is a tight timeline for this research, and it is hoped the interviews will take place by August 15th.

As a research project at Lancaster University, ethical approval has been given for this project, and all considerations and a consent form will be thoroughly discussed and reviewed prior to any data collection.