SSHRC Proposal, etc.

I am still not completely certain that I have fully applied the salsa-dancing approach to my research process and proposal but one aspect of Luker that I do appreciate is her belief in the value of exploring life outside academia. Whatever salsa dancing is in your life – running, yoga, going to see films or simply spending time with your beloved black lab – I believe that having this substance in your life and finding a balance between what informs your personal and mental well-being and that which informs your rigorous study and graduate research is where valuable insight is best found. At least that holds true for my life. I have also found that most students in our degree often juggle many responsibilities. Usually they are members of student groups, have at least two (if not more) part-time jobs, commute from the nether regions of the city, volunteer at special libraries, are involved in independent and external research projects and sleep very little. Being in a “professional” program requires that students garner as much experience outside of academic life as possible in order to enter the workforce successfully.

On the topic of research for our first assignment, I have loved reading your posts and in doing so, have realized that I am not a crazy person for second and third and fourth guessing myself and my research interests. My initial question (as you may or may not remember) was related to the impact of mobile technologies on consumer health and patient education centres in hospitals. When I took an in-depth look at the guidelines for SSHRC, I realized that any research interests related to medicine, health, health policy, public health and/or behaviours related to these is not supported. This was a huge setback for me because I had also wanted to investigate the information behavior of dentistry students and/or the impact of library instruction on their information seeking as I work at the Faculty of Dentistry’s library at U of T. Because Dentistry is a health science, I did not want to chance my research proposal being rejected. Once again, I was influenced by a section of Luker, which is in the chapter on Sampling, Operationalization, and Generalization. Luker says “one of the tasks of salsa-dancing research is to elicit the deep meaning structures that people in a given situation hold, and how those meaning structures map across external reality.” (2011, p.110) This insight into meaning making was the impetus for my finalized research topic which has to do with data literacy initiatives in academic libraries and the meaning structures around them and how this will/can affect the digital economy. This is an area that I am quite interested in and I nervously await the comments and feedback.

I hope your SSHRC proposals went well!

–          Vanessa

Knight’s Thoughts and Luker’s Daisy

Hello there, fellow researchers,

I’m playing catch-up in terms of writing about our readings.  I’d prefer not to skip to the present straight away because I’m really into some of the concepts from the first week.  Bear with me while I take you back.

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Two of the concepts that have stuck in my mind these last few weeks are Knight’s concept of writing-as-thinking and Luker’s Bedraggled Daisy method.  I am aware that there are acute differences between the two methods, but I find that both of them are based off of the same action: putting pen to paper.  

I find brainstorming most effective when I am combining writing, drawing and swearwords (which belong in their own category).  I tend to use the two methods interchangeably but I haven’t found one to be better than the other.  As a matter of fact, I have found that since the act of writing requires a pause after each thought so that I can actually capture it in a comprehensive form, my hand has never quite been able to catch up to my brain.  Even at my best, I still lose track of at least one idea.  

At least, I did – until now.  

Richard’s post about Channel 16 (and an errant re-run of Mad Men that I saw two weeks ago) inspired me to start thinking about methods of communication and I realized that I had completely neglected what I suspect used to be an amazing brainstorming tool.  I’d like to announce that I’ve started using voice note recorders on all my various devices to capture my thoughts before they fly out of my brain.  And yes, this does mean that I’ve become one of those tools who talks into their cell phone like it’s a mic.

In my opinion, the best way to put thoughts in order is if they’re all there.  Listing my potential research interests into a recorder requires less self-consciousness and I don’t stop after each one to question whether or not it might be a suitable topic.  I just talk until I’m done and then transcribe them.  After I see them all laid out on paper, it becomes easier to draw connections and overlaps between ideas.  It’s also reassuring to know that I can play the sound clip back if I need to.

Now, if only I could pay someone to do the transcribing for me…

Yours in research,

Laura