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