Monday, October 22, 2012

The End of One Phase and the Beginning of Another

This year's renaissance festival season here in this part of the Midwest has come to a close, and along with it the data collection portion of my thesis project. I have had an incredible amount of fun and learned a great deal--about my research subjects, myself as a researcher, and how this whole process works. I have collected a notebook and a half full of field notes and many, many hours of recorded interviews. The photographs alone could be used for more than one entirely separate content analysis project as well.

Now comes the long tedious winter of transcription, analysis, and writing. It is my intention to have a completed draft of this paper by March, if not sooner. My biggest problem now is to make myself sit down and continue to work on this project instead of staring another. However, once older weather sets in that may not be as much of a temptation. I may be happy to be able to sit at home and write instead of braving the elements!

I got a lot of encouragement from my professors, my friends, and even those rennies with whom I spoke about my project. And it seemed like so many conversations produced new ideas for potential future studies that I could write about this for years to come. I certainly feel like I have enough data to sift through for a while...

I'm sad to see this part of things end, but excited to finally see the finished product (and get my degree!) when this is completed. There will be updates posted to this blog still as things happen, or as fun insights might emerge from the data that seem appropriate to share. So don't lose the link.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Birthday Loot and the End of Data Collection

First, I can announce that he data collection portion of my thesis project is officially concluded. Not that I ever really stop gathering information, but I'm done in the strictest sense. I have hours and hours of recorded interviews to transcribe, and about a book and a half of various field notes and personal musings about the project to go through. And the lit review is sort of almost to a rough draft. So that's another step along the path...

Also, it was my birthday last week. And rennies have a tradition of pinning money--as a birthday gift--on the clothing of the birthday person. My observation over the years is that this cash is then often spent on alcohol, but that is a generalization and by no means expected.

I got a lot of "Happy Birthday"s from random people who recognized the money pinned to my shirt as a renfaire birthday tradition. The guys I was there with, who are relatively new to faire (or at least not truly immersed in the subculture) asked about both the money and how people it was my birthday. To which I gave the same explanation. So this is me with birthday loot pinned to my blouse. I didn't go very far in funding my research, but it was enough to pay for my lunch.