Project Progress — Some Confusion

Over the last several weeks, the goal of my project has been to narrow the focus of my topic.  I have been having a lot of trouble doing this because it is difficult for me to see the interviewing of an individual as an end in of itself.  I am used to doing research in order to write a final paper, finding out information along the way, but, as I understand it, the final paper is merely a reflection of the interview process.  It has been a challenge to understand how to interview someone without necessarily trying to get any specific tid-bit of information out of them.  Because I have no idea what my interviewees are going to say, I feel as though I cannot narrow my topic any further.  I do not want to restrict the scope of my questioning at the detriment of acquiring a complete picture of LGBTQ support systems in the high schools.  Since last time, I have decided to conduct more research into the relationship between the college in the local schools.  Also, I have attempted to historicize my topic.  And yet, all in all, my research questions have not changed very much since the initial project proposal.  Additionally, I find myself swamped with potential contacts; my list includes almost 30 people.  All in all, my research and outreach has been going along swimmingly  I have reviewed about 20 scholarly articles, found useful papers in special collection, enjoyed my peer interviews, and have made several solid contacts. _______________

Update: 03.04.2011

Our in class discussion yesterday helped me to better understand the overarching goal of the Williamsburg Documentary Project.  One of my fellow researchers explained that the mission of the project is not to come up up with any certain answer, but to learn from the experience of searching.  I theoretically knew this before, but the way she explained it in class made me feel more certain and confident.  Now, I am excited about creating a narrative arch over the course of my investigation, including all of my uncertainties and misgivings as inalienable parts of the overall story. I also learned from an unfortunate mistake of one of my peers who forgot to mention recording as part of the interview process.  Her story will help the whole class to remember the imperative of making sure an interviewee is fully aware of the mission and methods of the project before the date of the appointment.

As far as sources, I have not added to my original list of academic articles, but have instead started focusing on local periodicals, school websites, documents from the special collections archives, and contact info for potential interviewees.  Now I just have to get out in the field and start making some face to face, hands on contact.

1 Response to “Project Progress — Some Confusion”

  1. 1 sgglos March 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Yes, get out there and start talking to folks! Glad you feel more comfortable with the goals of the project.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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