Sunday, February 16, 2014

Meeting with PM & SR

I met last week with P & S and had a very productive time.  I was feeling a bit stalled before it but now I feel that I have tons to go on with.

We worked out that I should focus on three strands of library use:

  • recreational
  • educational
  • legal
This is a better fit for a PhD, although it is too big for a Masters.  The idea is that I go for confirmation with the Masters and they think is so wide and and wonderful that I should convert to a PhD.

Peter has sent me a template document for the Confirmation process which I haven't looked at yet, but I am grateful for because I felt a bit like I was walking around in the dark, not knowing what I was aiming for.  Now I have a structure to work within, I feel more comfortable.

We talked about a research methodology again.  I said that I thought 'Action Research' wasn't feeling right and suggested either "grounded theory' or 'phenomenology'.  They both said that the head of school hates 'grounded theory' and that is seen as a bit of a joke, or the theory that you have when you don't have a theory.  So, I have been investigating phenomenology this morning.  It seems very philosophical, but looks like it might fit quite well.  I will look into it further.  I don't mind not using grounded theory as it felt so unstructured and I like having a skeleton to hang my work from.

Here are the Muppets explaining phenomenology:

It didn't really help!

This one did though:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Qualitative Interest Group

My very wise supervisor suggested I go to a meeting of the Qualitative Interest Group (QIG).  In the interest of immersing myself in all possible opportunities, I did what I was told and went along.  I was very glad that I did.  The group is run by two women, one of whom is called Lyn Richards.  It is a group of researchers, graduates and academic who are all involved in qualitative research in some way.  I found the group extremely useful and thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by really clever and experienced people.  They were all interested in each others' work, including mine. It gave the feeling of being in a community - a good feeling.

Lyn has asked me to present my topic for the next meeting in March as a design example for the group to work through and give me advice.  What a fantastic opportunity.  I can't believe my luck to have such input from some really cluey and experienced people so early in my work.  I am feeling slightly uncomfortable with it though as I feel like I am going behind the backs of my supervisors.  I really have no idea if this is a valid impression or not, so I am going to ask them if it is OK with them if I proceed with the activity.  I hope so, but am fully willing to forgo the opportunity if PM or SR want me to. They have to be happy with everything I am doing.  This is important to me.

Lyn Richards

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cold Call

My reading keeps bringing me back to the publications of Associate Professor Megan Sweeney.  She has studied reading in women's prisons and how the women have benefitted from reading fiction, self-help and other books.  She mentions prison libraries a little and usually describes them as under-resourced by the prison management.  I thought she would be a great person to be in contact with, so, through the magic of the internet, I found her website: and emailed her.  I thanked her for her publications and explained briefly what I am doing. She looks nice on her page.  I wonder if she will answer me!

Well, she did!  Very nicely too.  Maybe one day I will visit her! That would be fun.

Things to do next

I have come across a book called "How to write a thesis" by Rowena Murray.  I want to read this.  I can download it free for a week via the RMIT library, or I can buy it for about $35.

Spend to day reading on the topic to help refine my ideas of what I want to focus on.

I have a meeting with PM on Wednesday and I feel anxious that I won't have done enough.