Updated research proposal

As I’ve been thinking more about investigating the LGBT community in retirement, I’ve been overwhelmed with the number of directions this project could take.  Do I want to narrow my research down by comparing how retirement planning converges and diverges from those of married heterosexual couples, by the unique legal issues, or how the community is addressing these issues though local institutions? Or should I not have an intention or purpose and just go with the flow and narrow my focus based on the information I find by talking to people?  Do I speak to retired community members and ask them their thoughts and feelings on hypothetically living next door to a same-sex couple to gauge the climate of homophobia?  I guess the issue of methodology is one I’m struggling with.

The good news is that I have a lot of good scholarly sources that I outlined in my preliminary bibliography. I was pleased to find a decent amount of scholarly work already done on the issues LGBTs face in retirement communities and I think these sources will at least give me the tools and background to understand issues present in the community.  A major drawback to my research will be if I cannot find LGBT-identified people living in retirement communities in Williamsburg who are willing to share their stories with me.  I have no doubt that LGBT individuals are in retirement in Williamsburg, the issue is if anyone would be willing to share their stories or “come out to the closet” to allow for an interview.

Overall, my research questions haven’t changed much since the preliminary proposal. In addition to the solid scholarly sources, I have a good number of contacts, including W&M faculty, students, and local residents. I’m ready to get the interview process going to help gain a better idea of where this project is going!


2 Responses to “Updated research proposal”

  1. 1 dcpratt March 9, 2012 at 1:16 am

    You’re right that the focus of your research will be affected by your sources. But rather than let your sources determine your research question, you should go into your reading and interviewing with a question in mind, one that might look a little different the further into your research you get. I agree with Sarah’s comment on your initial proposal that the question about institutions might be the most fruitful. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you find on this topic!

  2. 2 sgglos March 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I agree with David’s agreement with me. ; ) I would add that you might start thinking about the word “community.” When we say “retirement community” we often think of a neighborhood or institution. But what about the overlapping nature of communitieS (emphasis on the plural)? UU church, neighborhoods, book clubs,… think broadly.

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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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