Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Is this boring??

I went out to dinner last night with a number of people within my industry and one of them asked about my studies and she wanted to know what themes were emerging from my analysis. So, I told her very broadly what I was seeing in my data and it sounded so BORING and unremarkable. It made me worry that I will get to the end of all this and my readers will say "um, yes...  I could have told you that three years ago". What if my work leads to something so predictable and unremarkable that it has nothing to contribute to the body of knowledge in which my topic fits? No-one will have written about it before, but it could just be so ordinary that it makes no difference to anyone or anything.

Maybe I need to be looking back on why my study is important and what its goals are. I hope, hope, hope that what I am doing is important to someone, sometime and that it is not just BORING!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Intimidated by the invisible mountain

It is January and I have extracted the holiday digit and started work again. At night only at this stage as it is school holidays and I am enjoying family time during the day.

During my down time over Christmas and New Year, I have been thinking a lot about the task ahead of me. I have all my transcripts ready to go and it is just up to me now to get the work done.  When I think about what I have to do - turn the transcripts and what they offer into a thesis, I have been feeling quite intimidated. I have been feeling that this is really hard and I don't know what to do. I don't know what to write. I don't know what sort of language to use. I don't know how much of me should be in the writing. I don't know if I should be peppering all my writing with references to others to give it academic grunt or not. How do I start? What is expected of me? Am I even up to this?

Well, I am confident that there is a way through and that I am indeed up to this. Most people probably are if they are mental enough to give it a try and lucky enough to have a chance.

So, I feel like I have to climb this huge mountain, but I don't know what the mountain looks like, so I can't start the climb. The mountain feels invisible and I feel out of control because the thesis feels out of control. To counter this, I have attempted to control the thesis. As in the long history of mankind attempting to control the uncontrolled, I have attempted this by creating structure and order and classification. What a good librarian I am. I have written a draft structure with some very brief thoughts about what could go where.  Here it is, below.  I expect it will change as I proceed, but I feel that this makes the mountain I have to climb visible and therefore less intimidating. Climbing an invisible mountain is quite scary. I feel better now.

Chapter One – Introduction
·      Aims & goals of the research
·      Introducing the research question
·      Why is this important?
·      Why did I choose to study this topic?
·      Positioning the study – context
·      Introducing the methodology
·      Thesis overview

Chapter Two – Literature Review
·      The right to read
·      Library as contributor to social capital (Putnam)
·      The role of the library in the life of the user (Wiegand) – what is it like, to be a library user?
·      The role of the library in a prison environment
o   All things to all: must be an academic, public & law library
·      The role of the prison library in the life of the user – what we already know.
·      The importance of understanding the user’s perspective
·      The unique needs of prison library users

Chapter Three – Research Methodology
·      All about phenomenology
·      Why it was a suitable approach for this study

Chapter Four -  Research Design and procedure
·      Choice of sites
·      Choice of participants
·      Ethics process – RMIT & governments
·      Development of paperwork – PICF, low literacy, consent to record voices, issues encountered during interviews because of paperwork
·      Working within the prison environment
·      Phenomenological analysis of data (Moustakas 1990)

Chapter Five – Australian prison libraries
·      Describe current situation
o   Staffing
o   Funding
o   Collections
o   Purpose
o   Guidelines – ALIA & Corrections
o   Physical Facilities
o   Size of populations served

Chapter Six – Explicating themes (analysis of data)

Chapter Seven – Discussion (Implications arising?, suggesting possibilities?, gathering together?)



·      A1: Participants